For all the regulatory crackdowns on Bitcoin in recent weeks, the cryptocurrency's advocates remain unfailingly optimistic. Bitcoin is the future, they tell us; it heralds a future where private, stateless currencies will dethrone the dollar and other monetary dinosaurs.
Sorry, but Bitcoin isn't the future. If anything, it's a throwback to an earlier era, when private currencies circulated alongside government-sponsored money. In fact, if you strip away its technological trappings -- the encryption, the peer-to-peer networks -- and Bitcoin closely resembles these earlier private efforts.