As an accounting professional, an educational course I took focused on Bernie Madoff and how he perpetuated his investing scheme over so many years and how the investors got taken in.
From my perspective, scams and Ponzi schemes have a few key elements:
1. Those involved are making spectacular gains, and people are missing out by not participating.
2. Groups tend to migrate to these together: millionaires, church groups, yacht clubs, etc.
3. Almost no information is available about how the scheme is generating gains.
4. There is a very secretive scheme and the "genius" of the group is trusted exclusively until the jig is up.
Does Bitcoin meet the elements of a scam? The odd element of the Bitcoin is the very public nature of the system. Every other element is met to a tee, including the mystery of who is behind the whole thing.
Questioning the mining of Bitcoins or the nature of fund transfers exposes one to others' ridicule — yes, I just don't get it. I do get following the Sacramento Kings (now accepts Bitcoins) into any business should be questioned also.
The Bitcoin mania is virtually certain to be in the history books as one of the greatest heists ever perpetuated. Then again — Sacramento could be hoisting the title and my dark-age friends and I might be left in the dust.