The next phase in the Bitcoin revolution would be the standardization of the exchanges where in fact the coins are traded. Bitcoin is currently in the open West prospector days of its evolution. The planet has agreed a Bitcoin provides a stored way of measuring value just as that silver and gold have throughout the ages. Like silver and gold, Bitcoin is only worth what your partner is ready to pay you for it. It has led to cheating since trading began. Crooked scales and filled ore all became part of the norm as both the miners and the assayers sought to pad their bottom lines. This led to governmental oversight and the creation of centralized exchanges.
The Bitcoin dream has been to police its community and remain beyond the physical scrutiny of any global government. The Utopian dream was shattered a month ago when Mt. Gox, by far the largest Bitcoin exchange, shut down due to a security breach and theft of approximately $300 million worth of Bitcoin. Customers who had Bitcoin on deposit with Mt. Gox still do not know how much they’ll reunite. The issues at Mt. Gox lay bare the cyber security argument. Surprisingly, Bitcoin as a currency shows remarkable resilience. This resilience could very well be just the boost had a need to legitimize the currency and the lean towards governmental involvement that could actually help this fledgling store of value soar to its mainstream potential.
The timing of the Mt. Gox incident may end up being a boon for the currency. Tera Group, out of Summit NJ, already had proposed a bilateral agreement to the Commodity Trading Futures Commission (CFTC) to begin with trading Bitcoins through a swap-execution facility or, centralized exchange. Almost all commercial currency trading is performed through swaps agreements which explains why we follow the commercial traders in our own trading. A swap agreement is basically an insurance policy that provides a guaranteed value at a particular point in time to protect against currency fluctuations. It’s what the commodity exchanges are founded on. The swap markets will be the superhighways of the financial industry. They process massive volumes while collecting a small toll on each transaction. Therefore, the cost on the average person swap is small but the sheer level of swaps processed makes it an enormous revenue source for several of the major banks.
The CFTC has yet to touch upon Tera Group’s proposal. We commented in November that Bitcoin had transcended novelty status and that the revenue pool was becoming too large for global banks to ignore. Bitcoin’s resilience when confronted with the Mt. Gox debacle is a testament to the energy of a global grassroots movement. Bitcoin should have plunged across the globe as owners of Bitcoins tried to switch them for hard currency. The market’s response ended up being very orderly. While prices did fall across the board, the market appeared to understand that it was a person company’s problem and was therefore confined to Mt. Gox customers’ capability to get their money out. Due to this fact, Bitcoin prices have stabilized around $585. coincapcentral is well off the December high of $1,200 but very near the average price for the last six months.
The last coincidentally timed piece of the structural transformation from Bitcoin being an anarchist, alternative store of value that exists outside the institutionalized financial industry to being integrated into that same economic climate is its ability to be taxed by the offline governments it had been developed to circumvent. The Internal Revenue Service finally decided enough is enough also it wants its cut. The IRS has declared Bitcoin as property rather than currency and is therefore subject to property laws instead of currency laws. This enables the IRS to obtain their share while legitimizing the necessity for a central exchange to ascertain value. It also eliminates arguments with the U.S. Treasury and Congress over legal tender issues. It’s simply valued as a good which can be exchanged for other goods and services, barter.
Bitcoin is a global marketplace executing transactions on an electronic network. That sounds a lot just like the forex markets. Industry regulators and the banking industry are likely to quickly find that the failure of Mt. Gox did more to encourage the average person resolve of global Bitcoin users rather than ending this upstart’s existence. Private users of Bitcoin will clamor for the government to protect its folks from crooked exchanges just as farmers were cheated in the grain trade of ancient Egypt or gold and cattle by assayers and stockyards in the open West. Tera Group could be in the proper place at the right time with the proper idea as Bitcoin could have proven itself to be self-sustaining at the retail level. Institutional and legal structures are being put in place to continue its evolution as the financial industry is left to determine how to monetize it.