The Age of Bitcoin
Why Bitcoin Will Be Huge
Bitcoin has made quite a mark in the investment industry, and it’s here to stay. As volatile as it has been – with lows of $70 per unit in July and rises from $140 to $266 in August 2013 – investors cannot get enough of this virtual currency.
It’s growing so popular that ATMs are being planned. In fact, the first Bitcoin ATM has already arrived in Vancouver. Bitcoin has attracted the attention of people all over the world. The U.K., Germany, and many other countries are embracing the new form of payment and exchange.
On top of this, the currency is starting to stabilize. It's been steadily above $100 for a few months, maintaining a price above $200 lately.
Is it the difficulty of mining new Bitcoins that makes people want them? Is it because it’s the first time something like this has gained such widespread attention? Or is the fact that it is not controlled by central banks or governments and can't be tracked?
It's likely a combination of all three. But what’s certain is that Bitcoin is going to make some people a lot of money.
Most people store Bitcoins in encrypted accounts called “wallets.” This sets up a measure of security so only the person with the “key” can access the account. It's also possible to convert Bitcoin into major currency by linking an account with the “wallet.”
A new ATM system to complete these types of transactions recently opened in Vancouver, Canada. Users scan their hand to access their account. From there, they can use cash to purchase Bitcoins or use their “wallet” to convert Bitcoins into cash according to the current value.
Adam B. Levine, editor-in-chief of the podcast Let’s Talk Bitcoin!, told Politico:
“When someone verifies their identity then hands over either dollars or a credit card, a corresponding amount of Bitcoin (minus a 2% fee for customers buying, 5% for customers selling) are actually purchased at current market price and transferred either to the users phone or a paper ticket.”
Paying with Bitcoin
Those interested in more than just investing can start using Bitcoins to make purchases at some locations. Pembury Tavern in Hackney, London is one of many British pubs accepting the digital currency. Online websites such as OKCupid, Wordpress.com, and Reddit have also started accepting it.
Just a couple of years ago, no one accepted the currency. It’s obvious Bitcoin is getting more popular all over the world. Germany has even begun accepting it as a “unit of account,” which allows the government to make money off it by taxing users and those mining it.
This is a first in a government joining in on the age of the Bitcoin, and it may just be the beginning. As more and more leaders and institutions take interest in Bitcoin, it runs the risk of becoming centralized. This would take away a huge amount of draw in the currency – but for now, its users still remain relatively anonymous.
A total of 21 million Bitcoins have been created; of these, 11.9 million have been mined and put into circulation – with an estimated value of $2.26 billion.
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What Makes Bitcoin So Great
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Come on, a cryptocurrency? Are you serious?” Yes, we really are serious.
After all, investment experts are recommending Bitcoins. According to Bloomberg, Michael Novogratz, co-chief investment officer of macros funds at Fortress (FIG) Investment Group LLC, recently said at a conference:
"Put a little money in Bitcoin. Come back in a few years and it’s going to be worth a lot."
And he's right – the value is nothing to scoff at. Recently, a Norwegian man discovered that a $27 investment he made years ago in Bitcoins is now worth $886,000. He had forgotten all about his small investment, and he had even forgotten the private key to access his wallet. But once he was able to gain access, he was rather surprised to see what had collected in his account.
Now imagine what could happen if just a few more vendors begin accepting the cryptocurrency.
While Bitcoin has made great strides since it first was created, there’s still a lot of room for it to grow. Canada has just started embracing it with the first ATM, a number of U.K. pubs accept it, and online companies are rallying around it.
It’s starting to move from an online form of currency to an offline form of payment and investment. Keep your eyes on this because it’s getting bigger and better with each passing year. Investing in it would be wise now before the value skyrockets – which it most likely will.
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