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It has been a rough couple of months for bitcoins.

In October, the U.S. government shut down the Silk Road website, where bitcoins were being used to purchase illegal drugs. Then in early November a researcher at Cornell University published a paper asserting that the virtual currency is broken — that is, that the system of difficult algorithms that one must solve to obtain bitcoins might be successfully exploited by a group of sufficiently clever and selfish bitcoin miners.

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