If you haven’t already, you may soon start receiving interesting requests: bitcoin payments for your goods and services. So are they a form of currency? Absolutely. Bitcoin is a virtual currency. It has been around for over two years now. As of now, the total value of all bitcoins in circulation is about $7 billion. But is it just a fad? The debate rages on.
A downside to it is that the earliest bitcoin users mostly used them on online black markets that deal with illegal activities. This has created a false impression that the currency itself is associated with crime. The currency has had its share of challenges, receiving heavy criticism from major central banks, citing the fact that it receives no backing from any central bank or government. It is also still a challenge due to its limited use. Its value has fluctuated wildly, and recently suffered a big blow as its value took a nosedive- from $1,147.25 to $556.48 within two weeks.
However, bitcoin enthusiasts are putting their money where their mouth is. On 7th January 2014, more than 600 of them held a conference in Las Vegas to discuss the way forward. There are also some significant steps that have been made to clean up bitcoin’s reputation. Several auction sites have recently popped up where people can list products for sale, payable only via bitcoins. Since September, over 600 transactions worth over $120,000 have been made on one of the large bitcoin auction sites.
The technology for exchanging bitcoins is quickly improving. A mobile app was also developed where you can send and receive bitcoins. It’s also possible to send and receive them even if you don’t own an electronic wallet.
Regardless of whether bitcoin proves to be just a fad, it is definitely a high-risk investment. The facts and risks have been laid bare. If you want to be part of the bitcoin revolution, the process is very simple. Just set up a merchant account, referred to as a “bitcoin wallet” and get a client. People join pools so as to make bitcoin money, a concept known as ‘bitcoin mining’. Maybe in future, there will be an option of sites and businesses to accept credit cards when clients are making bitcoin payments.
Bitcoins is undoubtedly an impressive innovation, but only time will tell whether it’s just a craze or not.