"It is rare that we get to see a bubble-like phenomenon trade tick for tick in real time," he said in a note to clients last week.
One Bitcoin supporter with a unique perspective on the boom might be Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer based in suburban Utah. Caldwell is unusual insofar as he mints physical versions of bitcoins at his residence, cranking out thousands of homemade tokens with codes protected by tamper-proof holographic seals — a retro-futuristic kind of prepaid cash.
Caldwell acknowledges that the physical coins were intended as novelty items, minted for the benefit of people "who had a hard time grasping a virtual coin."
But that hasn't held back business. Caldwell said he'd minted between 16,000 and 17,000 coins in the year and a half that he's been in business. Demand is so intense he recently announced he was accepting clients by invitation only.
Some may wonder whether Caldwell's coins will one day be among the few physical reminders of an expensive fad that evaporated into the electronic ether — perhaps the result of a breakdown in its electronic architecture, or maybe after a crackdown by government regulators.
When asked, Caldwell acknowledged that bitcoin might be in for a bumpy ride. But he drew the analogy between the peer-to-peer currency enthusiasts who hope to shake the finance world in the 2010s with the generation of peer-to-peer movie swappers who challenged the entertainment industry's business model in the 2000s.
"Movie pirates always win the long game against Hollywood," he said. "Bitcoin works the same way."
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