Bitcoins have been in the news a lot recently; a lot don’t get Bitcoin and are staying away, some trade them but very few are actually able to use them as a currency to pay for goods and services. Well slowly signs suggest that is changing and one indicator that has hit the headlines on Thursday 17th January is that the Sacramento Kings US basketball team announce that supporters will be able to buy tickets and merchandise using the crypto currency.
While this might not change your life it is big news for Bitcoin as it is step towards the currency going mainstream with famous brands backing it. It might be no surprise to supporters of the Kings that they now accept Bitcoins as the new lead owner of the team is Vivek Ranadivé, who got rich after founding software company TIBCO, which is now publicly traded under the ticket TIBX.
When Bitcoin originally surged in value it was typically only used by a very small group of people Now though Bitcoins has gained some real mainstream momentum with it being accepted at some large ecommerce names including Overstock.com, WordPress, Reddit and OkCupid. In fact Overstock.com claimed to have made $126,000 of sales using Bitcoins and it was reported a California car dealer sold a Tesla sports car for crypto-coins.
One of the issues surrounding the currency includes its massive price fluctuation that has seen it drop and rise to half its value and back up within a month. This makes it an extremely high risk currency to be accepting for any kind of retailer, but can work if it is liquidated into regular currency immediately. In the past that has been difficult as some exchanges such as Mt Gox have had issues liquidating Bitcoins fast. Nevertheless, there are now new services available like Bitpay designed for retailers that turn Bitcoins into cash on a daily basis.
For tech-savvy financial traders it has become an instrument that can be traded, mainly through the exchanges. It involves a crazy amount of risk but the potential to make a lot of money fast exists. A month ago WPCS International aquired the BTX Trader application, which provides an environment that connects traders to all the major Bitcoin exchanges around the world in order to buy and sell the BTC/USD currency pair on their desktop at the best market prices directly from each exchange. It works in a very similar way to Forex trading but instead of working with a regulated broker trader’s deal directly with several exchanges, for which regulation doesn’t exist.
There are also worries that Bitcoin lends itself particularly well to criminal activity as transactions are just about untraceable. Nevertheless that doesn’t look like it will be slowing down its use easily, in the same way that the Internet makes it very difficult to curb freedom of speech. Just like the Internet it can be put to great uses as well as bad. Maybe instead of focusing on the negative side of Bitcoins the sceptics should focus on how to put this marvel of modern financial technology to good use?