For most of its lifetime, most of the music industry has viewed the bitcoin cryptocurrency from an (often baffled) distance, although recent excitement around the blockchain technology that it is based on has sparked more interest.

But among people deeply embedded in the bitcoin world, there’s a big debate this week sparked by an article by developer and expert Mike Hearn.

“Despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly,” he wrote.

“The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards.”

Why has it failed? Hearn suggests several reasons, and the piece is worth reading in full. But he gives the worst news early on:

“It has failed because the community has failed. What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of money that lacked ‘systemically important institutions’ and ‘too big to fail’ has become something even worse: a system completely controlled by just a handful of people. Worse still, the network is on the brink of technical collapse.”

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