As mentioned here
, Tradehill, a business venture which has capitalized on the success of Bitcoins, has acquired bitcoin.com
. The power, control, and responsibility this domain name gives Tradehill is dangerous. It's troubling that this official sounding domain has become property of a for-profit company that obviously intends to operate bank like services. One potential but highly profitable outcome for this is as follows.
Tradehill aquires bitcoin.com.
Temporary site comes online. Doesn't link to bitcoin.org.
New site is finally up. It has "a community aspect" and "an open source feel."
You can download the official client from bitcoin.com, although it may just be a hotlink to bitcoin.org. Oddly, no hyperlink back to bitcoin.org is easily reached on the site.
Due to the success of Tradehill's bitcoin.com "community aspect" or services, and due to Google's preference of a .com over .org, "bitcoin.com" takes first place for "bitcoin" searches. This forces bitcoin.org to second place, and eventually third behind Wikipedia's own Bitcoin entry.
A new client with integrated Tradehill features is developed and released. No harm here though, as the official bitcoind backend is still used, but GUI is more responsive, better designed, and well polished. A couple other killer features are added, one being auto updating in the case of security vulnerabilities.
Tradehill releases official open source shopping cart software and it is widely adopted - think paypal - among internet stores. People can buy items using credit cards and other such transactions in many currencies. The store owner receives Bitcoins in bitcoin.com account! You can also cash out to any currency for a small fee.
After years of both Tradehill and Bitcoin success, someone finally manages to break into Tradehill and steal it's wallets. As news breaks the markets begin to panic and are quickly frozen due to the nature of the problem.
Since the exact transactions for stealing the wallet are easily identified, the whole problem can be easily reversed. Those few transactions in which the wallets were stolen are easily voided by a client update. People using Tradehill's client receive the update automatically and immediately. Instead of waiting for the official bitcoin.org client to catch up and reverse this potentially game ending disaster, people switch to the Tradehill client to ensure their money isn't ruined along with the theft, especially those with any BTC invested or stored with Tradehill.
Tradehill's Bitcoin client hits >50% of the network strength. Markets reopen a little shaky, but the crisis is averted.
Rumors the theft was staged are abound, but there's no proof. "Afterall, why would Tradehill fake something like that?" Most people quickly forget the incident, but other small transaction companies start to pop up as some people lose trust in Tradehill.
Tradehill cuts the cost to send from one Tradehill user to another, and no other company is yet able to hit critical mass to compete with the Tradehill.
Bitcoins grow in popularity and people become more Bitcoin savvy. More and more people start doing transactions manually to avoid the small fees Tradehill had begun to charge for transactions. Other open source shopping carts that allow direct Bitcoin transactions start to become as polished and professional looking as the officially published Tradehill shopping cart options.
Tradehill declares the Bitcoin network too weak due to the mass exodus of miners leaving when Bitcoins no new Bitcoins can be generated. Or perhaps some new super computer China has can potentially override transactions in the Bitcoin network with pure brute strength. Or some other possibly believable excuse is made to charge a much higher fee for Bitcoin to Bitcoin transactions to "encourage more transaction miners" and thus strengthen the network.
After such a declaration is made, Tradehill's client auto updates to the new higher transaction fee service. Larger transaction miners who still "mine" for the transaction fees happily switch along with Tradehill users swept up in the automatic update. With more than 50% of the network using tradehill's program, this fee change is forced on all
Tradehill's slowly growing transaction fees are now suddenly smaller than the transaction fees to send from one Bitcoin wallet to another. Tradehill tracks your balance internally and doesn't need to push such transactions to the Bitcoin network, so it keeps all transaction fees for itself. Tradehill only pays fees when you remove BTC from their system.
With increased fees for transaction mining, some miners incorporate. Special hardware is designed to compute transactions hundreds to thousands of times faster than the unspecialized hardware regular users have.
With over 50% of the computational power using the "Official Tradehill Bitcoin Client," Tradehill and the Transaction Miner companies - which are increasingly being bought by the Tradehill conglomerate and banks who now see profit in Bitcoins - continue to slowly raise transaction fees, justified as protecting the currency.
A minimum transaction fee is set. To send small amounts without losing most of it in transaction fees, people use Tradehill's internal system, or deal with other banks - and possibly even Bitcoin credit/debit cards - who in turn deal directly with each other.
Transaction fees continue to increase until the Bitcoin client is too expensive to even be used by large businesses, and finally, even too expensive to be used by the banks themselves. A new encrypted system is put in place using newer technologies and possibly even secret keys. The details aren't release to the public. Only large banks can use this system.
Bitcoin lives on in name, but is dead in spirit. People everywhere trade btc for goods online, and maybe even in person. You can still easily trade bitcoins for other currencies. If you want to send btc to someone, you do it through a bank, even though the system may actually be more similar to paypal than a traditional bank. But Bitcoins are controlled by the banks. Banks can decide to "print" more bitcoins to keep up with population growth. They can loan out any amount they so desire. They can cancel transactions for things they don't like, and completely bankrupt someone they don't agree with, or who is speaking out against the power they've now accumulated.