KIEV — I fell in love with bitcoin for ideological reasons. Free from rapacious banks with their massive transaction fees and pesky government interference, the cryptocurrency promised to reinvent the concept of money in the digital era. It didn’t hurt that its price — and that of other electronic currencies — rose exponentially since I started following and trading them two years ago. It was proof that I, and my fellow libertarian adherents, were on the right side of history.
A true believer, I was panicked to learn that Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown his hat into the cryptocurrency ring. The move seemed to signal that bitcoin’s early, idealistic days might be nearing their end. Putin, once hostile to digital currencies, changed his tune after meeting with Vitalik Buterin, the influential Russian-born billionaire founder of Ethereum, a software platform using blockchain technology similar to that used to power bitcoin.