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 open West prospector days of its evolution. The world has agreed a Bitcoin provides a stored way of measuring value just as that gold and silver have through the entire ages. Like silver and gold, 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 the main norm as both miners and the assayers sought to pad their bottom lines. This led to 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 per month ago when Mt. Gox, undoubtedly the largest Bitcoin exchange, shut down due to a 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 reunite. The problems 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 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 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 trading Bitcoins by way of a swap-execution facility or, centralized exchange. Almost all commercial currency trading is done 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 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 price on the individual swap is small however the sheer level of swaps processed makes it a huge 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 in the face of the Mt. Gox debacle is a testament to the energy of a global grassroots movement. Bitcoin should have plunged across the globe 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 a person company’s problem and was therefore confined to Mt. Gox customers’ ability to get their money out. As a result, 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 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 economic climate is its ability to be taxed by the brick and mortar governments it was developed to circumvent. Bitcoin Era Site decided enough will do and 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 obtain their share while legitimizing the necessity 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 electric network. That sounds a lot like the forex markets. Industry regulators and the banking industry are going to quickly find that the failure of Mt. Gox has done 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 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 may be in the right place at the right time with the proper idea as Bitcoin could have proven itself to be self-sustaining at the retail level. Institutional and legal structures are being put in place to keep its evolution as the financial industry is left to determine how to monetize it.