Bitcoins are a decentralized, peer-to-peer virtual currency. There are other digital currencies that offer an alternative to government fiat currencies, but the popular ones like e-gold tend to suffer eventual demise from gaining just as much momentum with money launderers and other nefarious characters as they do regular users. And they are all privately controlled, meaning they are subject to the control of a single entity, just like a government currency.
Being peer-to-peer and open-source, Bitcoins is protected from centralized control and centralized manipulation both at once. There is no single entity to shut down, there is no single entity to possibly manipulate the system, and the source code the system is built on is freely available for inspection. The currency is not backed by gold or any other physical resource in finite supply, but the supply of bitcoins themselves is limited – there will only be a maximum of 21 million bitcoins in existence, ever, by design. A limited supply means that this currency, like its gold-backed cousins, is protected from inflation (the effect of rising prices due to an increase in the currency supply).
Forbes put together this slideshow of What The 25 Top U.S. Companies Pay In Taxes. You may or may not be surprised that many of them pay lower effective tax rates than you do as an individual. Here's the short version if you don't want to watch the slideshow.
These top videos on contemporary macroeconomics explain the basics of economic theory, monetary theory, and the root causes of the current economic crisis. You will learn more about why our country is on the wrong track by watching just a few of these videos than you could learn from years of academic study or political research.
Be warned: the rabbit-hole is deep! Don't swallow the red pill unless you want your eyes to be opened!
#1 Money as Debt (47 min)
This illustrates how our system of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking works in simple terms. A shockingly simple explanation of how our monetary system enslaves us to central bankers who engage in legalized counterfeiting.