The next phase in the Bitcoin revolution would be the standardization of the exchanges where the coins are traded. Bitcoin is currently in the Wild West prospector days of its evolution. The planet has agreed a Bitcoin provides a stored way of measuring value in the same way that silver and gold have through the entire ages. Like gold and silver, Bitcoin is only worth what your partner is willing 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.
Bitcoin Era Review has gone to police its 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, shut down because of 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 has shown remarkable resilience. This resilience may 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 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 delivers 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 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’s resilience in the face of the Mt. Gox debacle is really a testament to the energy of a global grassroots movement. Bitcoin must have plunged across the globe 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 across the board, the market appeared to understand that it was an individual company’s problem and was therefore confined to Mt. Gox customers’ ability to get their money out. Consequently, Bitcoin prices have stabilized around $585. This is well off the December high of $1,200 but very close to the average price going back 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 financial system is its capability 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 get their share while legitimizing the need for a central exchange to see 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 really a global marketplace executing transactions on an electronic network. That sounds an awful lot like the forex markets. Industry regulators and the banking industry are likely to quickly find that the failure of Mt. Gox has done 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 in the same way farmers were cheated in the grain trade of ancient Egypt or gold and cattle by assayers and stockyards in the Wild West. Tera Group may be in the right place at the right 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 keep its evolution because the financial industry is left to figure out how to monetize it.