Comic by Rasmus Rasmussen, Z1Xwitch ArtWork)
It was a tweet from a stranger that crystallized the concept of Bitcoin for Bruce Wagner. “I can explain the benefit of Bitcoin in four words,” one of Mr. Wagner’s 12,000-some Twitter followers wrote. “Briefcases full of cash.”
At the time, briefcases full of pennies seemed more apt—one unit of the new virtual currency was then worth $0.06. Then, in one day, the price of a Bitcoin jumped to $0.22. Mr. Wagner, a former I.T. specialist who now produces and stars in his own web TV shows, became obsessed with the things. He sat at his computer, too excited to eat, reading the myriad white papers, trade blogs, technical analyses and forum discussions about Bitcoin. For five days, he hardly slept. He just kept thinking, This is amazing. This is going to change everything.
The last time he’d been this excited was when Windows came out. He got his hands on some Bitcoins and sold when the price doubled. It kept climbing. He invested more.
Bitcoin is Internet gold, a digital currency developed by a community of programmers in 2009 that represents the first plausible manifestation of an unregulated global “cryptocurrency” first imagined by anarchist computer hackers in the late 90’s.
The Wonder Spot, by Melissa Bank. Viking, 324 pages, $24.95.
Back in 1999, Melissa Bank’s first book, The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, filled entire windows of Barnes & Noble with its rear-view image of a young woman in galoshes. Since then, Ms. Banks has been blamed-unfairly-for helping to launch “chick lit,” the Read More
On Nov. 17, three days after he’d been hired by the family of Paris Hilton, public-relations consultant Dan Klores had his saltpeter powder puff out, and he was giving everyone who ventured into his orbit-his new client, the press and even himself-a good whack. If anyone had a proper excuse to see the grainy Whitman’s Read More
Los Angeles author Bruce Wagner’s new novel, Still Holding , the third in a trilogy that began with I’m Losing You and I’ll Let You Go , arrives cosseted in praise from the literary establishment. “A visionary posing as a farceur,” gushes Salman Rushdie on the back jacket. “Writes like a wizard and knows his Read More
“You’ve got a tiger by the tail,” Richard Melman said with a small laugh. With more than 28 years in the restaurant industry and more than 70 restaurants under his belt, Mr. Melman is one of the restaurant industry’s most influential players. He was calling from the Chicago headquarters of his Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Read More
Éric Rohmer’s Autumn Tale is probably the best relief for our summer of moviegoing discontents, but it strikes me that I am not doing full justice to Mr. Rohmer’s achievement if I hail it for what it is not: gross, stupid, vulgar, sleazy, pornographically violent and childishly obscene. Autumn Tale , the final installment in Read More