The next phase in the Bitcoin revolution is definitely the standardization of the exchanges where in fact the coins are traded. Bitcoin happens to be in the Wild West prospector days of its evolution. The planet has agreed that a Bitcoin provides a stored way of measuring value just as that silver and gold have throughout the ages. Like gold and silver, Bitcoin is 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 resulted in 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, undoubtedly the largest Bitcoin exchange, shut down because of security breach and theft of around $300 million worth of Bitcoin. Customers who had Bitcoin on deposit with Mt. Gox still do not know how much they’ll get back. The issues at Mt. Gox lay bare the cyber security argument. Surprisingly, Bitcoin as a currency has shown 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 may 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 New Jersey, already had proposed a bilateral agreement to the Commodity Trading Futures Commission (CFTC) to begin with trading Bitcoins by way of 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 delivers a guaranteed value at a specific 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 however the sheer level of swaps processed makes it a huge revenue source for all 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 Era Site when confronted with the Mt. Gox debacle is a testament to the power of a worldwide grassroots movement. Bitcoin should have plunged around the world as owners of Bitcoins tried to exchange them for hard currency. The market’s response turned out to be very orderly. While prices did fall over the board, the market appeared to understand that it was a person company’s problem and was therefore confined to Mt. Gox customers’ ability to get their money out. Due to this fact, Bitcoin prices have stabilized around $585. That is well off the December most of $1,200 but very close to the average price for the last six months.
The last coincidentally timed little bit of the structural transformation from Bitcoin as an anarchist, alternative store of value that exists beyond your institutionalized financial industry to being built-into that same financial system is its ability to be taxed by the brick and mortar governments it had been developed to circumvent. The Internal Revenue Service finally decided enough will do and it wants its cut. The IRS has declared Bitcoin as property instead of currency and is therefore at the mercy of property laws instead of currency laws. This enables the IRS to get their share while legitimizing the need 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 that could be exchanged for other goods and services, barter.
Bitcoin is a global marketplace executing transactions on an electronic network. That sounds an awful lot just like the forex markets. Industry regulators and the banking industry are going to quickly find that the failure of Mt. Gox did more to encourage the individual resolve of global Bitcoin users instead of 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 Wild West. Tera Group could be in the right place at the proper time with the right 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 continue its evolution as the financial industry is left to determine how to monetize it.