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News Link • Bitcoin

The Fierce Battle for the Soul of Bitcoin

•, By Robert McMillan
 At the time—spring 2012—Airbnb was moving a reported $500 million in payments annually in 192 countries through a patchwork of financial networks, and each one claimed a transaction fee. An anonymous, encrypted, government-free online version of money would simplify all that. It would be faster, more secure, and vastly cheaper.

The problem was that the things that made bitcoin attractive also made it bewildering for noncoders. Using it required balky and hard-to-use software called a wallet. Bitcoins were also a challenge to obtain—mostly you had to purchase them from middlemen who operated in the regulatory shadows and who sometimes turned out to be crooks. The money was hard to spend, because few merchants accepted it—the currency was just too new. Armstrong realized that the way to widespread acceptance of bitcoin was a user-friendly wallet.

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