Jul 20th, 2012 by Jennifer Lynn
Bitcoin, the ‘Comeback Kid’ — how a transient financial decision may be turning into a viable (and lucrative) emerging crypto-currency.
Source: Prospecting Journal
Community-orientated currencies have always fascinated me.
There is something so darn compelling about a thriving, robust community transforming their hard-earned life energy into something honest and tangible and having that vision unfold in their marketplace.
When Bitcoins—an anonymous, peer-to-peer network crypto-currency—first entered my radar last year, it was shrouded in mystique due to some controversial usage by a minority, and my curiosity was piqued.
And I probably actually squee’ed a bit in delight. It was so off-beat, innovative and cool.
M., the computer engineer, was squee’ing for different reasons. He believed the premise/technical stuff behind Bitcoin seemed pretty solid: hashing. algorithms. cryptography.
Ya, that tech-y stuff.
Bitcoin has battled a tumultuous evolution since its emergence in 2009.
A stigma developed when Bitcoins became the only acceptable payment method on now-infamous The Silk Road, an anonymously-led virtual black market peddling drugs and other illegal wares—you’ll have to delve beneath the rippling waves of the regular internet and into the massive sprawling labyrinth known as ‘the deep web’ or ‘hidden web’, to find these guys.
It was a slight setback for those trying to legitimize Bitcoin as a real currency.
Then a string of events unfolded: numerous hacking of buyers’ virtual Bitcoin wallets, followed by a monumental hacking of Bitcoins’ largest online exchange, MtGox, caused the Bitcoin price to crumble to approximately $30 per coin, then to $17, then to a few cents. Mt Gox temporarily shut down.
The Bitcoin community struggled to recover and Mt Gox, learning a hard lesson, scrambled to plug security holes resulting from their inadequate attention to detail.
M. and I decided to use the momentum of this carnage-aftermath as our cheap ‘buy-in’ point, at $4 per Bitcoin.
One concern I had considered before buying: would Bitcoin be resilient enough to overcome its perceived shady past?
To which I reasoned, absolutely.
Because Bitcoin itself is/was not the inherent problem.
Because occurrences such as The Silk Road are equivalent to your local drug dealer using dollar bills (cash) to conduct illicit affairs. Or the hacks are like a thief sneaking up and stealing your real-life wallet to swipe out all your cash. There are simple ways to protect oneself in these scenarios; secure your real-life wallet to mitigate damage if, god forbid, a theft should ever occur and don’t use your cash (currency) to conduct illegal transactions.
Other concerns I grappled with:
Was a peer-2-peer virtual crypto-currency too abstract for the average person to grasp onto or care about? Too pie-in-the-skyish?
A bit too utopian-esque?
Just before Lexi was born, M. and I decided to invest a teeny percentage of our savings into Bitcoin for our own amusement and enjoyment. We wanted to track its progress and if our investment was slaughtered into oblivion—a real possibility at this infancy stage—then so be it. At least we were both supporting a cause we felt passionate about.
Those savings, we reasoned, could be channeled into a more conventional investment—to fund a CEO’s or bankers latest malfeasance—or we could purchase an emerging global virtual currency: with no central bank, no government and no corporate underpinning.
Fast forward through a blurry year of Mommy-hood, up until yesterday. I’d completely forgotten about our little foray into Bitcoin until I uncovered a CD stacked in the corner, showcasing latent prints in dust on the case with M.’s sloppy handwriting adorning the front: BITCOIN WALLET.
I researched into the markets with renewed vigor. After its brutal smack-down, how had Bitcoin been faring this past year?
Apparently it has made a come-back. Which is awesome and encouraging.
These markets are notoriously volatile but the currency has been hovering between $7 – $9 per Bitcoin. Personally I’m used to extremely wild gyrations in markets but this type of investment is not for weak hands.
But a larger hindrance still looms.
Are Bitcoins doomed to be confined to the inner circles of tech-y coders, barely scraping on the fringes of contemporary finance; too obscure and inaccessible for the mainstream?
The Bitcoin community is continually hitting new strides to bridge that gap, which has been super exciting to observe. Each day visionaries and innovators are unleashing more of the immense untapped potential of a peer-2-peer virtual currency to bring their vision straight to the front door of the masses.
And some people have been paying attention.
Forbes contributor Jon Matonis is keeping a keen eye on this phenomenon and frequently writes about Bitcoin in his financial column, ‘The Monetary Future‘. Here is a recent article: The Bitcoin Richest: Accumulating Large Balances.
Will I be investing further in Bitcoins? On the basis of belief that Bitcoin fundamentals are still promising: Yup.
We’ll probably continue to add a small percentage of Bitcoin to our virtual stash during price dips.
Have you heard of Bitcoin before? What are your thoughts on independent, community-driven currencies?