Regulation: The one thing that might save bitcoin

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Deciphering bitcoin

Most industries recoil at the thought of too much regulation. Bitcoin is finding out what happens when there's not enough.

The cryptocurrency has been adrift in a directionless no man's land without rules to guide it as investors, consumers and policymakers try to figure out just what bitcoin is and is not.

Most recently, it's been hit with a wave of scandals and bad publicity that has seen bitcoin's most prominent exchange file for bankruptcy—causing untold losses to those who traded at Mt.Gox—while journalists hunt for bitcoin's creator and others wonder whether it or any other cryptocurrency can survive.

Enter, then, regulators in New York with a fairly modest plan that could be the first step toward salvation.

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