Am I hostile to bitcoin, the currency that exists in electronic form only without the backing of a government or central bank?
I decided I probably am.
There was news yesterday about another bitcoin theft.
The value taken converts to about $12 million.
Administrators of a host site made off with the funds.
The site was apparently known as a location for drug deal payments and other nefarious activities.
But thefts of this kind leave me in a kind of suspended state.
When cash is taken, there can be dramatic images of empty cash drawers, armored cars and the like.
With a bitcoin theft what do we get? We get another concept like bitcoin itself. There is no substance.
With something tangible I can form a mental image of $12 million in paper money, or $12 million in gold or silver.
With bitcoin, I can’t.
Then it hit me.
Because bitcoin has no substance, I cannot collect it.
Sure, there have been attempts to sell metallic pieces as bitcoins, but since there is no agreed upon form and likely never will be, the idea of a collection is so much excess mental baggage.
Collectors might not agree with the policies of a current government, issuing banking authority or reigning monarch, but we know what the coins they issue look like.
We know how to analyze those coins, catalog them, arrange them into collections and appreciate them.
All of this is denied us with bitcoin.
I understand the convenience of electronic payments. I use them myself. But underlying each payment I make is the actual mental image of the cash itself if I want to think about it more deeply.
That is reassuring.
It is an anchor, or starting point.
With bitcoin, all it ever is or will be is an abstract thought of having an asset.
I can’t collect a notion.
There is nothing worse for a collector than being frustrated in this way.
That apparently makes me hostile.
How do you feel?
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."