Adrianne Jeffries and Russell Brandom reporting for The Verge:


A week ago, 24-year-old Charlie Shrem landed at JFK, home from giving a talk about the virtual currency Bitcoin at an e-commerce convention in Amsterdam.

The trip had gone well. Shrem’s speech made the front page of the Dutch Financial Times, his Icelandair flight had internet, and he was excited to be reunited with his girlfriend, Courtney. He did not expect to be arrested when he got off the plane. But as soon as he saw the agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS waiting for him at the gate, he knew.

Whatever the trouble was, it must have something to do with Bitcoin.


Remember when I said Bitcoin was too volatile to be true? If you feel like making a quick buck via Bitcoin, you better pull out your chips as soon as you actually make that buck.

There is something innately calming about massive institutions that you can't imagine changing. I'm talking about the big things, like religion, war, education, sport, the works. They all have a major impact on our lives and they always will. You can put money into that list. These massive institutions change at incredibly slow rates because human beings can't handle the massive upswing of a revolutionary change.

Bitcoin is too revolutionary. A currency not backed by a federal bank or by some sort of precious metals has no backbone. Who is to say that that Bitcoin pays for the cup of coffee I'm about to serve? Who is to say that it can pay for my car?

This is what happens when people take fast things too fast. Laws get broken and people get hurt.

Great reporting by The Verge. I can't help but enjoy their longform pieces.