The next phase in the Bitcoin revolution will be the standardization of the exchanges where the coins are traded. Bitcoin is currently in the open West prospector days of its evolution. The world has agreed that a Bitcoin provides a stored way of measuring value in the same way that silver and gold have throughout the 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 area 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.
The Bitcoin dream has gone to police its community and remain beyond the physical scrutiny of any global government. The Utopian dream was shattered a month ago when Mt. Gox, undoubtedly the largest Bitcoin exchange, turn off because of security breach and theft of approximately $300 million worth of Bitcoin. Customers who had Bitcoin on deposit with Mt. Gox still have no idea 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 could very well be just the boost had a need to legitimize the currency and the lean towards governmental involvement which could 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 through a swap-execution facility or, centralized exchange. Almost worldoftechnicalanalysis.com trading is performed 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 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 small toll on each transaction. Therefore, the price on the individual swap is small but the sheer volume of swaps processed makes it an enormous 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 big for global banks to ignore. Bitcoin’s resilience when confronted with the Mt. Gox debacle is a testament to the power of a worldwide grassroots movement. Bitcoin must have plunged around the world 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 seemed to understand that it was an individual company’s problem and was therefore confined to Mt. Gox customers’ capability to get their money out. Due to this fact, Bitcoin prices have stabilized around $585. This is well off the December high of $1,200 but very close to the average price for the last six months.
The last coincidentally timed little bit of the structural transformation from Bitcoin being 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 instead of currency and is therefore at the mercy of property laws rather than currency laws. This allows the IRS to get their share while legitimizing the necessity 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 an excellent that can be exchanged for other goods and services, barter.
Bitcoin is a global marketplace executing transactions on an electronic network. That sounds a lot just like the forex markets. Industry regulators and the banking industry are likely to quickly discover that the failure of Mt. Gox did 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 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 open West. Tera Group may be in the right 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 figure out how to monetize it.