Bitcoin: Not Ready for Prime Time

 

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 11.12.57 AM
Not one in a hundred bitcoin users knows these are barcodes or what they do.

The bitcoin community is delusional. All of the features the bitcoin enthusiasts claim make bitcoin great do not yet exist.  Yet these bitcoin cowboys act as though they do and that defies explanation. Based on the blockchain technology, bitcoin is supposed to be the next generation of finance.  It is supposed to be secure, anonymous, and fast.  But having now purchased, traded, exchanged, spent, and gifted bitcoin, the reality is — bitcoin promises all of those features but delivers none.

 

The most well-known, well-used bitcoin exchange is Coinbase. It now boasts more customers than Charles Schwab with 100,000 new customers signing up daily.  It is extremely slow.  I went to bed last night, rather than wait beyond the 30 minutes Coinbase asked me to wait to see the confirmation of my transaction.  The program upon which the exchange is written is barebones.  The protocols customers have to follow to execute transactions are so poorly designed, so unstable and so unreliable that if it was a student computer science project it would get failing grades.  One customer in a hundred understands what the QR code does.  The Internet service provider, Spectrum, which I use to connect to the Internet goes down daily and is so unreliable that you would think I live in a third-world country not the Financial District in Manhattan.  That’s not bitcoin’s fault but it doesn’t help speeds or reliability.

I break out in a cold sweat whenever I have to copy and paste one of those nasty thirty-character addresses that may or may not be correct.  How would you know the difference? The only advice I get is “This had better be a BTC address or your crypto may be lost forever.” Or, what is going through my mind at that moment is the story about the scam which involves a dormant program which resides on your computer, waiting for you to make a bitcoin transaction.  At the moment the transaction is sent, the pirate program substitutes their address for yours so you never know what hit you. Bitcoin transactions might be instantaneous but you have to be so cautious and move so carefully that it rather feels like an awful lot of work.

The transit might be instantaneous but the mining, confirmations and blockchain building takes forever.  Transactions at the speed of light? An hour or more is not uncommon.

I’m sorry to say the whole Bitcoin environment will have to evolve into something that is much, much safer, faster and foolproof before it can ever go Mainstream.  Think of automobiles.  When you take the keys and go for a spin you barely have to give the act of driving or the car itself a second thought.  Bitcoin has to evolve into something just as safe and reliable.  Otherwise, there are going to be accidents, thefts, mislaid property, and unintended consequences.  And, we will never realize the promise of a blockchain based currency.

171104 Bitcoin Strength ($7400.00)

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.08.54 PM

One-year Bitcoin price chart demonstrates explosive growth

Bitcoin’s strength is breathtaking.  You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to see where this is headed.  Coinbase, a leading Bitcoin exchange, claims 100,000 new users opened accounts in the 24 hours (November 1, 2017) after CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) announced they would be starting Bitcoin futures trading before the end of the year. The second American exchange, Rofex, Bloomberg reports of Argentina’s futures trading exchange, will formally announce adding cryptocurrency services to its platform. Outrageous predictions by long-time Bitcoin advocates don’t seem all that crazy now.  Max Keiser, who predicted $100,000 in 2011 when Bitcoin was $3.00, says $10,000 is just around the corner.  longforecast.com  a website that gathers future predictions says Bitcoin reaches $10,439 by the end of 2017, $28,781 by the end of 2018, and $46,232 by the end of 2019.

For the last two weeks, Bitcoin’s price has surged.  It started 2017 at $961.  By September 1, 2017, Bitcoin was up 515% to $4,957.  In the next three weeks, Bitcoin has pushed up to an all-time high of $7,412.44; a 50% increase in 21 days.  At first, the other cryptocurrencies also rose in sympathy with Bitcoin.  Of late, however, the other cryptocurrencies had dropped in price, indicating investors were shifting funds into the more lucrative Bitcoin.  Ethereum and Litecoin are now beginning to rebound.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 1.23.37 PM

One-week Bitcoin price chart shows steady, aggressive growth; up 50% from October 14th.