Bitcoin's technology is unstoppable, like p2p filesharing has proven to be unstoppable. But "the Bitcoin Project" could fail in a bunch of different ways.
If mainstream people think "Oh, bitcoin is that internet thing used by criminals", that is bad for bitcoin. It might be bad enough to kill the project (note that I said "the project", not "the technology").
If bitcoin really does turn into an internet thing only used by criminals then I'll personally consider it a failed experiment and will find something else to do.
PS: the cbsnews interview was with Jeff, not me, and my last name is "Andresen"
Gavin, it's good to see you pop in and offer your perspective. I think we are all very grateful to have you as a level-headed spokesmen for Bitcoin. Listening to you in the interviews, I've heard you say how you'd be much more comfortable to continue coding and working instead of constantly doing public appearances and talks on it.
I think that proves that you are the person for that role. It has been thrust upon you and not seized or even necessarily wanted by you. We can all argue that Bitcoin is completely unstoppable. We can talk about bringing down the banking system. The truth is that at this stage, we just don't know what the future of Bitcoin holds.
It's a revolutionary idea, and it has the power to change lives. However, it has its weak points. The usability needs to improve for further adoption by the general population. The security needs to improve to be taken seriously by big investors. The biggest hurdle we face right now is playing the game and showing the legitimacy and beneficial nature of Bitcoin to government and politicians.
It is in the best interests of Bitcoin for all of us to play nice with others, or at least pretend to do so.