A new private currency called "Bitcoin" has hit the scene. It is a digital currency that my producer tells me is valauble partly because it's untracable: there is supposedly no way for the government, or anyone else, to see who owns or transfers Bitcoins.
An article in today's Wired says that allows buyers and sellers of illegal drugs to transact online without being detected:
Mark, a software developer, had ordered the 100 micrograms of acid through a listing on the online marketplace Silk Road. He found a seller with lots of good feedback who seemed to know what they were talking about, added the acid to his digital shopping cart and hit "check out." He entered his address and paid the seller 50 Bitcoins - untraceable digital currency - worth around $150. Four days later, the drugs (sent from Canada) arrived at his house.
Through a combination of anonymity technology and a sophisticated user-feedback system, Silk Road makes buying and selling illegal drugs as easy as buying used electronics...
Yet another reason the government's "War on Drugs" will continue to fail.
Bitcoins are also supposed to protect coin holders from politically- motivated inflation. The "Bitcoin" currency is not run by any government or company. Rather, it runs on "peer-to-peer" computer networks without any central adiminstrator: All the currency needs to operate is multiple individuals running the same computer program. Those computers form a network that keeps track of how many coins each user (identified only by long strings of numbers to keep things anonymous) has, and when they transfer Bitcoins to other users.
The number of new Bitcoins issued is determined by a formula written into the program, and new coins are distributed to those with computers connected to the network.
Bitcoins are in high demand right now. The exchange rate is currently 9 U.S. Dollars to one Bitcoin.
The government will certainly have a harder time shutting down this currency than it did when it got rid of the gold-backed "Liberty Dollars."
(Reason TV also released this video about Bitcoin today.)
This Week's Show -- July 10, 2014
CENSORSHIP AT CBS: Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has a similar story. She explains why she left CBS after it became "harder and harder to get stories on television" that criticized this government and "any powers that be."
IS STOSSEL BIASED?: Years ago, journalist Howard Kurtz criticized me for not being objective. I said it's impossible for any journalist to be completely objective. Now that Howard Kurtz is on Fox, we debate again.
THE OBJECTIVITY MYTH: Andrew Kirell of Mediaite.com says, "every journalist has a point of view and they don't just magically check it the minute they walk in the newsroom door."
NEW MEDIA: Reason TV's Remy Munasifi uses music videos and parodies to complain about things like politicians' spending. One of his latest parodies highlights the scandal surrounding the VA hospitals. Munasifi discusses his videos, which have gone viral on YouTube.
RETRO REPORT: It's great there's a new media organization called Retro Report, which reveals media hype of the past ("crack babies," America's landfill "crisis," the "superpredator," etc.) and corrects stories everyone in the media got wrong. I discuss the new show with its executive producer, Kyra Darnton.
REAL OR FAKE?: Sometimes people in the media say things that are so bizarre, you'd think they were made up. Kennedy of The Independents quizzes FoxBusiness.com's Kate Rogers, Fox Business host Charles Payne and me to see if any of us can tell which quotes are real, and which were made up by my staff.
MY TAKE: I used to report on lots of scares. CBS even ran an ad for me where someone called me a "guardian angel."
That's bunk. The only guardian angel is a free and open society. That's what allows innovation, gives people longer lives, and lifts billions out of poverty. But these gradual improvements aren't newsworthy. Scares and disaster make the news.
News is broken not just because we're biased but because most good and important news happens slowly.
9PM ET on Fox Business Network