The wannabe economist in me has been following the BitCoin phenomenon with great interest during the last few months. The algorithmic side of bitcoin is fascinating, but a few things bugged me about the system. One of them was that the maximum number of bitcoins that can ever exist is limited to 21 million.
Adam Cohen took a wonderfully lucid stab at bitcoin on Quora recently, focusing on the built in deflation that is a result of the hard limit on the number of coins that can exist. He makes the point that early adopters holding bitcoins will automatically get richer and it smacks of a scam.
While scam is clearly not the intention of the creators, deflation is any economists worst nightmare and built-in deflation will probably result in bitcoin being stillborn.