The next phase in the Bitcoin revolution would be the standardization of the exchanges where the coins are traded. Bitcoin happens to be in the open West prospector days of its evolution. The world has agreed a Bitcoin provides a stored measure of value just as that gold and silver have throughout the ages. Like gold and silver, Bitcoin is only worth what your partner is ready to pay you for it. This has resulted in 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 own 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, 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 have no idea how much they’ll get back. The problems at Mt. Gox lay bare the cyber security argument. Surprisingly, Bitcoin as a currency has shown remarkable resilience. This resilience may 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 by way of a swap-execution facility or, centralized exchange. The vast majority of commercial currency trading is performed through swaps agreements which is 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 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 little toll on each transaction. Therefore, the price on the average person swap is small but the sheer volume 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 Revolution Site in the face of the Mt. Gox debacle is a testament to the energy of a global grassroots movement. Bitcoin should have plunged around the world as owners of Bitcoins tried to switch them for hard currency. The market’s response ended up being very orderly. While prices did fall over the board, the market seemed to understand that it was a person company’s problem and was therefore confined to Mt. Gox customers’ capability to get their money out. Because of this, Bitcoin prices have stabilized around $585. This 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 as an anarchist, alternative store of value that exists outside the institutionalized financial industry to being built-into that same economic climate is its ability to be taxed by the offline governments it was developed to circumvent. THE INNER 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 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. In addition, it eliminates arguments with the U.S. Treasury and Congress over legal tender issues. It’s simply valued as a good that can be exchanged for other goods and services, barter.
Bitcoin is a global marketplace executing transactions on an electric network. That sounds an awful 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 individual resolve of global Bitcoin users rather than ending this upstart’s existence. Private users of Bitcoin will clamor for the federal 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 may be in the proper place at the right 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 continue its evolution as the financial industry is left to determine how to monetize it.