If Google or Facebook created a digital currency they would probably completely wipe Bitcoin out just by creating a market million times bigger than current BTC market.
A friend of mine asked me this the other day. I think it's important to remind ourselves what the attributes of bitcoin are that make it actually have inherent value and are the reasons why a conglomerate or big brother would not want to touch it with a 10 foot pole.
1. Transactions are, or at least can be, 100% anonymous
2. There will only ever be 29 mil ever issued
3. It is distributed and decentralized
The big boys (facebook, google, the fed, blah blah etc.) want to control or profit or both. There is no way that any large organization would or could adopt a bitcoin clone as a model or anything even similar. Facebook has their credit system they the call a virtual currency (lol),http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1038
but I don't think you can sell them or trade them so it's not really a currency but rather a way for you to give them money so it really doesn't count. Google has their google checkout which I really don't know too much about, but seems to be their answer to paypal. Paypal on the other hand is the closest thing to a corporately owned digital currency. We buy paypal dollar credits with our national currency. Paypal digital currency is of course pegged to the national currency, but we can then buy things with them online, much like we can with bitcoin, admittedly limited at this point, but theoretically exactly the same. Paypal is however
1. Not anonymous
2. Just as suseptable to inflation and helicoptor ben as any fiat currency
3. 100% centralized
Anonymity is not something that is encouraged in the financial industry at least not when it comes to the "little people". Trust me I work at a bank. It's also not something the sec or any regulatory system would stand by. Any profit seeking corporation is going to want to sell their currency to grow the volume to increase their profits and any large entity by definition is not decentralized or distributed or at least not amongst the people.
It is, to my best understanding, the way that bitcoin is written that makes it so genius genius genius. I can't think of any way to improve it's design. At least not to the degree that it would make it obsolete or even worth any less. If, for instance, a big dog were to step on the scene introducing to the broader general public, "Bitcoin 2 inc." now with a marketing and publicity budget to inform the world on the advantages of an anonymous digital curruncy, insusceptible to inflation and completely decentralized, it would only contribute to the acceptance of an idea I don't think most people have or could wrap their head around yet. Oh and by the way there is an original bitcoin community that has been establishing itself independently, but pay no mind to the man behind the curtain.
Bitcoin is something completely new for a completely new era, an era we don't completely understand yet. Things develop faster than we can understand them. There was probably a point when someone said "are you stupid, why would I give you my saber tooth tiger coat for a little piece of shiny yellow rock?"
There are other digital currencies out there with different attributes. OpenTransact, I think will serve to a great degree when it comes to developing local currencies with a hard backing, but bitcoin is unique. In my opinion it actually resembles some of the great ideas of some of the largest corporations. Microsoft and Google. There was a time when people said "why would anyone want a computer in their house?" and "what I don't get it, it's just a search engine?". Bitcoin is actually a company. It is an open source, distributed anti-corporation. It's a company truly owned by the people. As bitcoin gains in popularity so will the value of the bitcoin. Bitcoins are the stock and we the people are the stock holders.
If you haven't seen this yet watch it.
RSA-the suprising truth about what motivates ushttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc