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 Wild West prospector days of its evolution. The world has agreed a Bitcoin provides a stored measure of value in the same way that gold and silver have through the entire ages. Like silver and gold, Bitcoin is worth what the other person 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.
Bitcoin Revolution 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 get back. The problems at Mt. Gox lay bare the cyber security argument. Surprisingly, Bitcoin as a currency shows 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 prove to be 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 trading Bitcoins by way of a swap-execution facility or, centralized exchange. Almost all commercial currency trading is performed through swaps agreements which is why we follow the commercial traders inside 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 are the superhighways of the financial industry. They process massive volumes while collecting a little toll on each transaction. Therefore, the cost on the individual swap is small however the sheer level of swaps processed makes it an enormous revenue source for several of the major banks.
The CFTC has yet to touch upon 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 when confronted with the Mt. Gox debacle is a testament to the energy of a worldwide grassroots movement. Bitcoin should have plunged across the globe 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. Subsequently, 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 piece of the structural transformation from Bitcoin as an anarchist, alternative store of value that exists outside the institutionalized financial industry to being integrated into that same financial system is its capability to be taxed by the offline governments it had been developed to circumvent. THE INNER Revenue Service finally decided enough is enough and it wants its cut. The IRS has declared Bitcoin as property instead of currency and is therefore subject to property laws rather than currency laws. This allows the IRS to obtain 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 which might be exchanged for other goods and services, barter.
Bitcoin is really a global marketplace executing transactions on an electric network. That sounds a lot just 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 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 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 keep its evolution because the financial industry is left to determine how to monetize it.