First, Mr. Fleishman takes issue with the origin of Bitcoin, claiming that because we don't know who Satoshi Nakamoto is - then we must cast a pall over any subsequent analogies to protocols and building networks. He clumsily paints a picture of Satoshi's anonymity as being a drawback, even though the full source code is available for inspection, as is the whitepaper that describes Bitcoin's internal workings.
He then dives into the decentralization of Bitcoin, where he agrees that its useful and important, but then flubs it when saying it isn't a currency AND a payment system. It is both, naturally - as the code that describes each verification node also details the rules for the minting of new Bitcoins. They are incorporated into each other. You can't have Bitcoins without the underlying system, just as you can't have TCP/IP packets without the underpinnings of electricity and ethernet software drivers.
Then he starts to drill down into the core of things, making a few flawed logical leaps along the way. Suddenly, irreversibility of Bitcoin is not true when coupled with the legacy financial system. I must wonder how Mr. Fleishman managed to conflate Bitcoin with the rest of the system, when a majority of the transactions are peer-to-peer and not Bitcoin to external fiat. And in the case of transfer to fiat, how can you hold Bitcoin responsible for this? It makes no sense.
Given that Bitcoin is barely 5 years old, it seems unfair to expect a system to suddenly rival its closest and oldest competitor - the Banks and Credit Card processors. Yet, he persists with this line of thought until he lays on the real doozy -- Bitcoins can be stolen, so what then?
Well Mr. Fleishman, if you're suggesting that Bitcoins should be 'tainted' or 'marked', then you've completely lost the point. Every Bitcoin must be treated the same, or there is no fungibility. Its the same as cash - I don't ask someone handing me 20 dollars for a personal debt whether a few steps back someone stole it from another person.
The analogy Mr. Fleishman paints is rather dramatic and used for effect - trying very hard to associate the personal responsibility of holding your Bitcoins as that of an overbearing regulator. It doesn't work that way for cash either, contrary to his efforts, and it won't work that way for Bitcoin transactions either.
More to the point, even the pending 29K BTC auction from the FBI will allow a large amount of coins to be bought by whoever has the means. When HSBC was busted for laundering money, they didn't "clawback" the currency they had distributed, they paid a fine. This is how the system really works, and it is a far cry from what Mr. Fleishman suggests.
His final gyrations are contradictory leaps into thin air, such as:
The use case for PC's and the Internet were for utility - and they were complex for end users, and cost a lot to acquire. Then he switches gears saying the uptake was swift compared to Bitcoin. Sorry, could you possibly stay on the subject? He uses this non-sequitur to waltz in and declare we already have digitized money, in the form of credit card payments, so why do we need Bitcoin?
That's simple, Mr. Fleishman - we need Bitcoin because your credit card processor can deny payments to an entity they disagree with. And cash doesn't solve the problem, as sending a fistful of currency across the world in minimal amounts of time isn't a trivial enterprise. That's the underlying gap in this "critique". Mr. Fleishman makes surface comparisons, but misses the meat of the issue.
Bitcoin is about financial FREEDOM. Banks and Credit Card Processors dictate terms and report you to the authorities if they think you are doing something wrong -- even if you aren't. They will deny payment if they choose, without bothering to explain, or even have a legal standing on the matter. Bitcoin flattens this interference and makes the globe a smaller place, allowing the transfer of wealth without the meddling and firewalls of the current flawed system.
I also take issue with Boing Boing, who thinks a Charles Stross' "kick the hornets nest" smear piece on Bitcoin is "fun to watch", and then promotes this "critique", as the bitter byline to an essay crafted by the father of the web. Perhaps I should blame their corporate masters, to whom they are beholden to "tow the line" in regards to a game-changer like Bitcoin. (Would they tell us if such a bias exists? I somehow doubt it.)
Boing Boing is becoming like Wired in that respect, I fully expect "Bitcoin is Dead" articles every few months, followed by the "Well gosh, we were wrong that time - but you never know, har har" half-hearted apologies.
You're supposed to be more open-minded than that, and I think it reflects poorly upon your editorial balance and individual contributors.