If you've been following the news over the past couple weeks, it's been impossible to miss some of the goings on with Bitcoin. A number of high-profile arrests have been made of people at least tangentially related to the crypto-currency, a successful hack looted millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins, and one of the largest Bitcoin exhanges is teetering on the brink of destruction, sending Bitcoin into a freefall on that exchange while its price remains stable on all the others. In the world of Bitcoin, there's never a dull moment.
So why on Earth would you ever get involved?
Because you really can't afford not to. Seriously. Just on the off chance that Bitcoin changes the world in much the same way the Internet did, do you really want to look back and say to yourself, "Man, if I had only seen that coming." Of course, Bitcoin could be gone tomorrow. To be sure, many people in high places would love nothing more. And if volatility ain't your thing, Bitcoin can give you heart palpitations. But I'm forced to agree with the Wall Street Journal: Bitcoin is at a turning point and I just don't think you can afford to miss it.
What most people are only now beginning to understand is that Bitcoin is about more than just money:
Supporters like Mr. Malka view bitcoin as more than just a currency used to store value. For them, bitcoin is an open financial platform that could house scores of types of data in a secure and universal ledger. From payments for road tolls to proof of ownership for cars and houses, bitcoin could be an independent, secure and reliable host of financial and personal information.
"It's not a technology experiment, it is an experimental society," Mr. Malka says.
Bitcoin acceptance is on the rise, despite all the recent setbacks to its infrastructure. Seattle and Austin are rolling out the first Bitcoin ATM machines in the country this month. Security issues are being patched by the hour. The network is getting larger and larger, and smarter and smarter.
Might it all amount to nothing? Absolutely. But I've invested in alternate currencies before and had them go to zero, so I'm not about to stop now. The cause is just too important: the decentralization and democratization of money. For me it's not just about being on the ground floor of a disruptive technology that can change the future of mankind (although that's a huge part of it), it's also about a giant middle finger pointed squarely at those who would control others. I guess you could say it appeals to the anarchist in me.
Don't bet the ranch on it, obviously (at least not yet), but if you have a diversified portfolio it's probably time to take a hard look at it. But do your research! There is a right way and a wrong way to "do" Bitcoin (just ask the poor bastards trapped at Mt. Gox right now). I've had a couple of close calls myself (ahem, Instawallet), but I've been fortunate so far.
That's just my two Satoshis. I'm interested to hear what you guys think and I'm willing to answer any questions you might have to the best of my ability.