The next phase in the Bitcoin revolution would be 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 that a Bitcoin provides a stored way of measuring value just as that silver and gold have through the entire ages. Like silver and gold, Bitcoin is only worth what the other person is ready to pay you for it. It has led to cheating since trading began. Crooked scales and filled ore all became portion 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.

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, shut down 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 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 New Jersey, 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 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 provides 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 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 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 really a testament to the energy of a global grassroots movement. Bitcoin should have plunged around the world 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 across the board, the market appeared 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. Bitcoin Revolution Site is well off the December high of $1,200 but very near the average price going back six months.

The last coincidentally timed piece of the structural transformation from Bitcoin being an anarchist, alternative store of value that exists outside the institutionalized financial industry to being integrated into that same economic climate is its capability to be taxed by the offline governments it was developed to circumvent. The Internal Revenue Service finally decided enough is enough also it wants its cut. The IRS has declared Bitcoin as property rather than currency and is therefore subject to property laws instead of currency laws. This allows the IRS to get their share while legitimizing the necessity for a central exchange to see value. In addition, it eliminates arguments with the U.S. Treasury and Congress over legal tender issues. It’s simply valued as a good which can be exchanged for other goods and services, barter.

Bitcoin is really a global marketplace executing transactions on an electric network. That sounds an awful lot like the forex markets. Industry regulators and the banking industry are going to quickly discover that the failure of Mt. Gox did more to encourage the individual 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 Wild West. Tera Group could be in the proper place at the right time with the right 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 continue its evolution as the financial industry is left to determine how to monetize it.

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