Bitcoin virtual currency is peer-to-peer tender without government backing or the baggage that comes with it. Tracking and the issuance of new money are collectively managed by the Bitcoin community, and that's ruffling some feathers.
According to Launch.is, "Bitcoin is a P2P currency that could topple governments, destabilize economies and create uncontrollable global bazaars for contraband."
The decentralization of the money supply challenges the ability of governments to establish relative monetary values and monopolize the terms of trade. Since Bitcoin is immune to government manipulation, values are set by the traders who use it. Because Bitcoins have no serial numbers, they cannot be tracked, which means transactions remain private. Barter, mutual credit and local currencies are all part of the alternative currency stream, but Bitcoin is different in part because it is designed to be a world currency with the potential to pull the rug out from under the government-backed currencies currently in place.