The next phase in the Bitcoin revolution is definitely the standardization of the exchanges where the coins are traded. Bitcoin is currently in the open West prospector days of its evolution. The world has agreed a Bitcoin provides a stored measure of value just as that silver and gold have through the entire ages. Like silver and gold, Bitcoin is worth what the other person is willing to pay you for it. It has resulted in cheating since trading began. Crooked scales and filled ore all became part of the norm as both miners and the assayers sought to pad their bottom lines. This resulted in governmental oversight and the creation of centralized exchanges.
The Bitcoin dream has gone to police its own community and remain beyond the physical scrutiny of any global government. The Utopian dream was shattered per month ago when Mt. Gox, by far the largest Bitcoin exchange, turn off 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 problems 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 needed to legitimize the currency and the lean towards governmental involvement that may actually help this fledgling store of value soar to its mainstream potential.
The timing of the Mt. Gox incident may prove to be a boon for the currency. Tera Group, out of Summit New Jersey, 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. The vast majority of commercial currency trading is performed through swaps agreements which explains why we follow the commercial traders inside our own trading. A swap agreement is basically an insurance policy that provides a guaranteed value at a particular point in time to safeguard against currency fluctuations. It’s what the commodity exchanges are founded on. The swap markets are the superhighways of the financial industry. They process massive volumes while collecting a little toll on each transaction. Therefore, the price on the individual 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 comment on 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 really a testament to the power of a global grassroots movement. Bitcoin must have plunged around the world as owners of Bitcoins tried to switch them for hard currency. The market’s response turned out to be very orderly. While prices did fall over the board, the market seemed to understand that it was an individual company’s problem and was therefore confined to Mt. Bitcoin Era Site to get their money out. Therefore, Bitcoin prices have stabilized around $585. This is well off the December most of $1,200 but very close to the average price going back six months.
The last coincidentally timed little bit of the structural transformation from Bitcoin as an anarchist, alternative store of value that exists outside the institutionalized financial industry to being integrated into that same financial system is its capability to be taxed by the offline governments it was developed to circumvent. The Internal Revenue Service finally decided enough is enough also it wants its cut. The IRS has declared Bitcoin as property instead of currency and is therefore at the mercy of property laws rather than currency laws. This allows the IRS to obtain their share while legitimizing the necessity for a central exchange to see value. In addition, it eliminates arguments with the U.S. Treasury and Congress over legal tender issues. It’s simply valued as an excellent which can be exchanged for other goods and services, barter.
Bitcoin is really a global marketplace executing transactions on an electric network. That sounds an awful lot like the forex markets. Industry regulators and the banking industry are likely to quickly discover that the failure of Mt. Gox did more to encourage the average person resolve of global Bitcoin users instead of ending this upstart’s existence. Private users of Bitcoin will clamor for the federal government to protect its folks from crooked exchanges in the same way farmers were cheated in the grain trade of ancient Egypt or gold and cattle by assayers and stockyards in the open West. Tera Group may be in the right place at the proper time with the proper idea as Bitcoin may have proven itself to be self-sustaining at the retail level. Institutional and legal structures are increasingly being put in place to keep its evolution as the financial industry is left to figure out how to monetize it.