Deuce Halsey wrote:
Fair enough, I'll admit to being uninformed about Bitcoin. So it's possible for me to own Bitcoins without being involved with one of these exchanges? Because it sure is possible for me to own US Dollars without being involved with any currency exchange operation.
(Went through ID/Acct change, formerly serenity!)
It's absolutely possible for you to own bitcoin without going through the exchanges. There is localbitcoins.com where you can find people locally. However, coinbase is the more legitimate and secure exchange. Just because it's an exchange doesn't automatically mean it's a failure or robbery waiting to happen. If you go to Mexico from the US or Egypt, you will have to *exchange* one currency for another. That's all these exchanges do...switch out one for another. Coinbase is run by legitimate individuals who've invested heavily in bitcoin's success. It is based in California. MT Gox was a foreign exchange and the guy running it got greedy, or always was...they are not bitcoin and they do not represent all exchanges and all exchanges aren't shady operations.
It's actually a good thing gox happened because all the criminal element is being weeded out. There are exchanges that seem seedy that do lots of business and smaller ones who do large business...but coinbase is the popular legit one that has credibility. That doesn't mean an exchange can't be hacked ever, it really depends on how the exchange handles security protocol.
It's always best though to use an exchange long enough to trade currency then move bitcoin into a wallet - blockchain.info is the most secure online wallet. Moving it off the computer entirely is the best security measure. Again, it requires the individual be responsible for protecting his assets
ETA: Oh, you know how you used an exchange in Second Life to buy and sell Lindens? You can do it that way if you prefer...I just remembered VirWox exchanges fiat and virtual for bitcoin...
Deuce Halsey wrote:
So Bitcoins can't be hacked, but they can be stolen? Please explain the difference to me. Unless I can own Bitcoins independently of any Bitcoin exchange, I'm always susceptible to the thieves who may be running the exchange I'm using. Once my virtual cash has vanished, does it really matter if a hacker or a management crook stole it? Not to me. I'm still out the value of my missing virtual cash.
Bitcoin blockchain is protected by a decentralized distributed network of millions of computers...a single computer can be hacked but the entire network cannot...it's like saying "the internet is hacked" - and no it can't be hacked. Individual wallets containing bitcoin can be hacked as easily as any given computer can be hacked. If you don't want your stuff stolen, protect your computer and your valuables. If you do business online already, banking in particular, you're at as much risk of having your bank acct hacked via your own computer as you are having your kitely acct hacked. It's all up to you to protect yourself. Banks have security measures to protect themselves and clients but they're not invincible.
Bitcoin isn't automatically going to get hacked anymore than having a bank acct online automatically gets you hacked. The difference is that you can keep your information on a secure computer that only access the internet to do transactions and goes offline, not on your every day pc. You can print off your wallet and private key info and store it in a bank, on a flash drive, or where ever.
Again, exchanges per se aren't a den of thieves. Exchanges just exchange currencies. It's up to you to do due diligence and find an exchange you feel is credible. Coinbase has shown itself to be the leader in that role and doesn't have issues like gox did.
Deuce Halsey wrote:
I have no idea what the future holds for Paypal or Western Union. But at least those organizations make their transactions in various existing national currencies that have real value in world economic marketplaces.
Bitcoin has global recognition and global value already...it's being used and accepted across the world. The CEO of ebay has just publicly announced he owns bitcoin and is actively involved in measures now to incorporate bitcoin for ebay. It's unknown whether paypal will follow suit but the bottom line is bitcoin as a payment processing/transfer system is superior to both PP and WU. If you sent money from one country to another through either of those, the fees would be insane. If you sent the same amount in bitcoin - whether it's .05cents or 50 million dollars worth, the fee would be about 5 cents. Because PP and WU make their money by charging insanely high fees, the only way they could compete is to stop doing the very thing that made them money.
Try it this way -
Bitcoin as a payment system: you exchange your local currency for a "slot" on the public ledger/blockchain. You instantly send that transaction to someone else anywhere in the world for pennies. The recipient then owns the slot on the ledger and may retain it privately (wallet) or exchange it back to his local currency. It's a medium of exchange. The "slots" themselves are essentially units of value on the blockchain...and right now at this post, the value of those slots (bitcoins) are at $655usd for a single btc slot.
In late March I bought my first bitcoin for $399. On that single transaction I made $259. I've gone on to buy more btc since then and it's gone up in value.
Given some of the things slated to happen later in the summer, the forecast for bitcoin's price is that it surpasses $1k and potentially reaches 2500 per btc by the end of the year...and that doesn't count the inevitable "bubble" that shoots it on up there...but when it crashes again as bubbles always do, the new low would be over $1k.
And you don't have to buy whole bitcoin. I sent $25 worth to three people. They're now holding almost 40 bucks.
Deuce Halsey wrote:
As far as the future usage of Bitcoins, I believe you are deluding yourself. Virtual currency doesn't fit the mold of either type of commonly used and accepted currency as we know it today. It certainly isn't a commodity currency like gold or silver, that has innate value independent of its use as money. Nor is it a fiat currency, since it isn't backed by the "faith and credit" of any national government.
No it doesn't...and that's the very reason it is far more superior to all of the above. It is absolutely revolutionary. What we're all used to and conditioned by is having a central agency control the creation of currency and doling it out at high volume and charging interest and all sorts of things that essentially is no more than passing around debt. The coins and paper you hold do not have any intrinsic value unless they're actually made of silver and gold. Chances are they are not. So what you have could just as easily be plastic. It's not worth anything as an item. It represents the "idea" of value. It's all virtual currency at this point.
Fiat is the absolute worst thing a currency should be...backed by faith and credit of a government that robs its people, creates debt into the trillions, and impoverishes the people while printing up billions for their own personal use. The problem is whenever they turn on the printing press and make more copies of those bills, each of those bills, while still whatever denomination, is worth less and less. That's the reason you need more of it to buy less stuff.
Bitcoin solves that problem entirely through the scarcity of volume and limited, automated supply. No single entity owns it. Everyone who holds it owns it. It's essentially the same principle as the internet.
Would you prefer a "fiat" internet with a single government entity deciding how much internet you can use and what you can use it for or do you prefer the decentralized version we have here...that everyone and nobody controls...and leaves it up to you how you spend your internet time, where you spend it, how much you pay for it, and how secure it is?
Because of this built in solution, and the fact it can be used as a medium of exchange and a currency, people have recognized by the millions how valuable and revolutionary it is and will become in time. We're in the early adoption phase...kinda the same place we were in internet terms back in the mid 1990s.
Remember when people tried to tell you how email would change everything and how on demand services and communications would change the world...and you need a computer rig to get on the internet...and you said BAH hell with that...nobody's going to do that when they can just go down to the post office and mail a letter...
Another difference is the ledger of transactions is public...unlike your bank's ledger. You have no clue right now whether your bank is even going to be solvent tomorrow...you don't know what's happening behind the scenes or how much money they have or how many problems they have or what's been stolen or hacked. You don't know that they're not being swallowed up in another banking takeover about to go bankrupt.
With bitcoin, since YOU are your bank, and the ledger is public, you never have to worry that you'll wake up tomorrow to the news your bank imploded and they put a freeze on your assets and a limit on withdrawals and that to offset disaster, they're confiscating your funds.
If you want to see the ledger, visit blockchain.info. You can also download the bitcoin client and run it on your own computer and see all the transactions. They're "pseudonymous" - the transaction key and the amount are public, not the identity of the user or what was spent for. Try that with your bank
People who recognize the problem and that the banks and FED and governments are the real thieves have been shifting their fiat currency into a secure decentralized digital currency at an exponential rate...which brings us to this:
Deuce Halsey wrote:
I'm sorry, but the whole thing strikes me as a bunch of nerds standing around covering their ears and and repeating their mantra, "Bitcoins are really money because I say they are!" All I can say is good luck with that.... you're gonna need it.
Actually, that's the entire way any "money" or "currency" comes into being...the only reason people say USD is money is because people say it's money.
And the number of people who have accepted "I say it's money, therefore it's money" has provably increased at an exponential rate while global currencies are all dropping in value. Visit https://blockchain.info/charts
and have a look at the growth.
Add to that these people you seem to think are basement dwelling nerds just trying to get funny money to be real...and try again:
Aside from The Pirate Bay and 4Chan who absolutely do accept/trade in bitcoin, we have these: Overstock.com, Dish network, wordpress, reddit, zynga, paypal/ebay here shortly, Tesla motor company, ok cupid, Etsy, Tiger Direct, Li Ka-shing - Asia's richest man, various members of the US senate, Euro Pacific Precious Metals, several subway restaurants, local restaurants, and even Virgin Galactic. That's right...the commercial vacation ride to space at a whopping quarter of a million price tag now embraces BITCOIN payments.
Then we have the Facebook twins who registered/applied for an ETF on the stock exchange and Wall St is waiting to see if the SEC approves. If so, we'll then see Wall Street money investing in bitcoin which will only skyrocket the price and value of bitcoin.
So yeah, these people are all nerds in their own way but...hey...if you want to know what happens when a bunch of basement dwelling nerds get together and create the world's only secure decentralized deflationary currency, then look around you.
Or...you go rent Revenge of the Nerds and see how it plays out on a smaller scale!