171101 Bitcoin Isn’t Doing Its Thing Yet

Bitcoin is the currency of the future. But the future isn’t here yet. Bitcoin should be the workhorse that facilitates trading.  It should be the currency to use for all online purchases, for transmitting value across borders and great distances, for storing value in troubled times, for making trusted trade between strangers possible, and growing one’s nest egg. However, it is at present, a speculative bubble.  Its skyrocketing valuation is breathtaking and not for the faint-hearted.  How can anyone looking to invest, purchase something that is 137% the price it was just four months ago?  A Bitcoin, in June, was $2450, and on November 1, 2017, is $6650. If tomorrow morning we woke up to Bitcoin prices at $5800, down $850 or -13% from today’s stratospheric prices would we still consider Bitcoin a good investment?  No. Yet, here we are.

For things to right themselves, more of bitcoin’s real potential must materialize.  People have to recognize that Bitcoin is here to stay, has no intrinsic worth but for its ability to facilitate trust, help accomplish the conveyance of wealth, and its ability to be converted to any other acceptable form of currency.  This morning there was an article about an Amazon subsidiary purchasing the domain names amazonethereum.com and amazonlitecoin.com.  Amazon already has owned amazonbitcoin.com since 2013.  If Amazon were to announce its acceptance of Bitcoin as a payment method option on its website, that would be huge and go a long way to improving Bitcoin’s worth.  The value of Bitcoin would grow as significantly as if JP Morgan Chase were to announce their acceptance of Bitcoin as a currency.

The marketing of Bitcoin would instantly see 2X growth.  Bitcoin going to $13,000.00 would happen immediately.  Visa and Mastercard would take a big hit as their fee-based transactions gave way in favor of feeless Bitcoin payments.  Businesses which work on tiny margins, such as the grocery business, would rush to become Amazon vendors.

There are laws on the books which prevent merchants from displaying two-tiered pricing.  Nowhere in the United States will you see merchandise displayed with two-tiered pricing: one price for cash purchases and another for purchases with credit cards except, of course, at the gas pump.  There are Merchant/credit card/bank agreements which prohibit that.  It’s a matter of semantics.  Purchases must not have a credit card surcharge.  However, it’s ok to have a cash discount, if that law is understood correctly.

3-tier pricingImagine three-tiered pricing: Bitcoin, cash, or credit.  Bitcoin would be cheapest.  Ask any merchant if they’d rather have their employees handling Bitcoin transactions or taking cash for 2% more.  Bitcoin means instant payments, no fraud, no theft, no loss, no credit card/debit card processing, no bank fees and no delays.

There is much to be done before we get from here to there, but we’d best begin.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love when my investments jump 15% overnight.  But I’d rest a whole lot better knowing Bitcoin’s price was based on its being used to facilitate trade and add trust, than as a speculative bubble.

 

171025 Rumor: Amazon to Accept Bitcoin

10-amazon.w1200.h630I can’t think of anything that might boost Bitcoin more than an announcement from Amazon that it now accepts Bitcoin.  Maybe, if Goldman Sachs or Wells Fargo Bank said they now traded Bitcoin for clients, that might be a bigger plus, but maybe not.  Amazon taking Bitcoin would be huge.  It makes a great deal of sense for Amazon to do that, too.

Amazon can’t be too happy about the percentages that are taken by credit card transactions, nor the increased complications associated with those transactions.  Between the fees saved by both Amazon and its customers, the reduced fraud and the added convenience of Bitcoin transactions over having customers using a credit or debit card, Paypal or checks, Amazon could benefit monetarily as well as adding a convenience for customers.

An article on Tuesday in a German paper, Die Welt, reiterated the rumor that Amazon would be announcing Bitcoin acceptance. This is not the first time this rumor has surfaced. Normally, such announcements are made during its quarterly earnings report which happens to be Thursday, October 26, 2017, after the market closes.  Currently, Bitcoin is $5660, having fallen 8.5% from its record high set just a few days earlier. Bitcoin’s current weakness is attributed to the Bitcoin Gold and the upcoming SegWit2 forks.  This could be an excellent time to make a Bitcoin investment.

171022 Hidden Bitcoin Opportunities for Banks

Banks are missing the huge opportunity Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies afford them.  Take a look at the following chart published in Cointelegraph:

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 11.26.44 PM

The most preferred payment method is debit card, followed by cash, followed by credit card.  Digital payments are fourth.  Checks are fifth.  The chart is NOT about which is the easiest or most secure payment method.  The chart is about PREFERRED payment methods.  Even though digital is the easiest payment method and perhaps the most secure, debit cards, cash, and credit cards still win out.  So what?

This presents a huge opportunity for banks to facilitate cryptocurrency accounts for clients, while enjoying the security, ease-of-use and low overhead cryptocurrencies provide.  People are frightened, a little bewildered and uneasy about cryptocurrencies, yet most are curious, if not downright desirous, to start a cryptocurrency account or investment.  Why not provide them with the assurance they need while benefiting from continuing to be their financial advisors.  Banks are missing out on a huge opportunity.  If the banks continue only to view cryptocurrencies as undermining their business, banks will be left high and dry which the rest of the world cruises on cryptocurrency’s many benefits.

Most people are terrified by the security steps most cryptocurrency exchanges employ today.  Remember, too, most people are still not comfortable making purchases using a credit card online. If a Goldman Sachs or a Wells Fargo were to offer a Bitcoin account for savings and trading, people would jump at the chance to open a cryptocurrency account, while the banks offer them the ability to trade, send and receive cryptocurrency securely.   Instead of trying to hide and make cryptocurrencies go away, banks should be prospering by embracing the inevitable and fostering cryptocurrency’s growth.