> Or someone with enough computing power might cause bitcoin to ramp up their "work proof" hardness, to the point that normal people can't really compete.
The bitcoin network is currently doing roughly 25 trillion (10^12) hashes per second. It is the most powerful computing network in the world, so somebody would need to invest a -lot- of money, and a -lot- of power for a -lot- of time to muck with it in any meaningful way.
> And this is totally ignoring the possibility of finding any cryptographic flaws in the algorithms which could make fraud (or "theft" - don't know what you'd call it) easy.
This would be very bad -- and not just for bitcoin, but for everything using ECC.