And they work by employing in an apparently tenable contradiction philosophies of anonymity and transparency in order to create a balanced system that affords certain freedoms disavowed by contemporary banking.
In the same breath, though, the user must enter into a system governed by laws just as strict as the one they exited, whether we speak of the cryptographic and peer-to-peer principles, the technological requirements, or the requisite and inherent labor that maintains the system at the mere participation of a user. They are also volatile and unpredictable – one day they could be worth a fortune, the next pennies – and as such are discursively imagined as dangerous.
As we attempted to show, however, their instability is not so much an inherent property of Bitcoin but a reflection of the erratic, hyper-connected, and hypersensitive digitized world financial market re-constituted daily by speculation and bulk micro-trading. Only when viewed through the lenses of capitalism’s sanctioned and symbolic national currencies – in which the system cannot afford any distrust nor allow any clue to a true economic picture of an unstable market, instead maintaining at all costs the illusion of a steadfast and vibrant currency that is a picture of economic vitality – does Bitcoin’s price index behave capriciously. Appearance is everything.