Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Bitcoin The Almighty Buck

This Whole Bitcoin Thing Could Be Big, Says Bank of America 276

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-than-barter dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Bank of America has issued a research report suggesting that the crypto-currency Bitcoin could become 'a major means of payment for e-commerce' on its way to emerging as 'a serious competitor to traditional money transfer providers.' The bank attaches a 'maximum market capitalization' of Bitcoin at roughly $1,300, based on its position as a 'major player in both e-commerce and money transfer' as well as 'a significant store of value with a reputation close to silver.' Bitcoin has come close to exceeding that theoretical ceiling in recent weeks, although its valuation dove today after the People's Bank of China decided to declare it a volatile 'currency' without real legal status; that financial institution is also concerned about its use in money laundering and black markets. Bank of America sees Bitcoins' advantages as low transaction costs, its finite supply (which will protect its value), and its increasing attractiveness as an alternative to 'traditional' cash. As with the People's Bank of China, however, the bank sees the currency's extreme volatility and lack of legal backing as a bad thing, and frowns at the possibility that regulators could step in and increase transaction costs. 'A 50 minute wait before payment receipt confirmation is received will prohibit wider use,' the report adds. 'This is less of an issue for two parties that know each other because they trust the other will not double spend, but when dealing with an anonymous counterparty this creates a high level of unhedgeable risk.' Without a 'central counterparty' to verify transactions and thus mitigate that risk, Bitcoin could fail to break into wider use."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

This Whole Bitcoin Thing Could Be Big, Says Bank of America

Comments Filter:
  • by FSWKU (551325) on Friday December 06, 2013 @01:34AM (#45616203)
    Bank of America is always looking for new ways to screw over their "customers", be it through fees, lying, or trying to steal their (paid off) houses through foreclosure (and blaming it on "computer error" when caught). They're probably drooling like hungry dogs over all the ways they can fleece people with Bitcoin...
    • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Friday December 06, 2013 @02:27AM (#45616455) Journal

      Bank of America is always looking for new ways to screw over their "customers", be it through fees, lying, or trying to steal their (paid off) houses through foreclosure (and blaming it on "computer error" when caught). They're probably drooling like hungry dogs over all the ways they can fleece people with Bitcoin...

      I'm afraid that Bank of America is not the ONLY bank which screws their customers.

      In fact, I have yet to find a bank which has failed to screw their customers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Have you tried a credit union?
        • I think you mean “mutual” if we are going to compare apples to apples and not to oranges. I have not read the brief, but I am going to assume that it was issued by the investment bank side, a.k.a. the stocks and bond people, a.k.a. Merrill Lynch. These people don’t offer much in the way of traditional banking services.

          On the investment side you choices are pretty limited. There are mutual which are member owned. And don’t confuse mutual with mutual funds. Fidelity is a for profit cor

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The best thing about credit unions versus other banks is that, for the low cost of a mirror, you can look one of the owners in the eye and say "you're an asshole!"

      • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Friday December 06, 2013 @04:25AM (#45616849)

        BoA, Wells Fargo, and Chase are the douche banks. Most banks will do better but not much, but some are pretty good.

        I'm with USAA myself - haven't ever had to pay a single fee for anything I get from them. My checking account even yields interest, and features that the 3 douches charge money for are included for free. USAA was actually the first bank to offer deposits using smartphones in fact, and it always has been free.

        • I've been with Chase for well over a decade. They even invited me in once to change my checking account to one that earned interest. Having said that, their normal checking and savings are fine though they don't like to (but will) setup multiple accounts like other banks do for ease of budgeting. Their managed brokerage accounts don't do very good and they recently cut back on their rewards points with their credit cards.

          They fill a role as good as anyone, but not better than anyone else really. I mean
      • Bank of America is always looking for new ways to screw over their "customers", be it through fees, lying, or trying to steal their (paid off) houses through foreclosure (and blaming it on "computer error" when caught). They're probably drooling like hungry dogs over all the ways they can fleece people with Bitcoin...

        I'm afraid that Bank of America is not the ONLY bank which screws their customers.

        In fact, I have yet to find a bank which has failed to screw their customers.

        I've never seen USAA do it. I'll be a customer for life. From their insurance products to their banking and my mortgage they've always acted with nothing but the highest standards of customer service.

        • by McGruber (1417641)

          I've never seen USAA do it. I'll be a customer for life. From their insurance products to their banking and my mortgage they've always acted with nothing but the highest standards of customer service.

          My understanding is that USAA is a Federal Savings Bank, a savings and loan association federally chartered in the United States, which is different than how other banks are chartered. That's why they haven't screwed you like a regular bank would have!

      • by JavaLord (680960)

        I'm afraid that Bank of America is not the ONLY bank which screws their customers.

        In fact, I have yet to find a bank which has failed to screw their customers.

        My piggy bank has always been good to me. No interest, but no fees either. Seems fair enough.

        • by Richy_T (111409)

          I guess you don't live in a country that is running the presses until they glow red hot. Where is that?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      yes, bofa is a bank, and they will do anything to make a profit a long as it does not cause them lose customers or take on legal fees to the point that they do not profit from their fleecing ways... up to this point their primary competitors are just as 'fleecy' as they are and the customers are stuck with the same fleecing habits wherever they go

      bofa seems to be recognizing that bitcoin could become a non-fleecy competitor to their market and they are laying down the claim that good old American Dollars tr

    • by Seumas (6865) on Friday December 06, 2013 @08:38AM (#45617633)

      I can't put my finger on why, exactly, but the whole pushing a cashless society thing really makes me uneasy. Especially things like http://betterthancash.org/ [betterthancash.org] , which is targeted at the poor and developing countries. I realize that much or even most of our current financial lives are carried out digitally, but when it comes down to it the only thing better than cold hard cash that can not be directly seized from you, subjected to computer or human errors, or denied to you during emergencies are things with intrinsic value (gold, silver and other items mankind puts real value into as a thing unto itself). When people like Bill Gates, Citi, BofA, the United Nations, Mastercard, and Visa are all on board the "physical money is bad" train, I don't trust it one fucking bit.

    • by JavaLord (680960) on Friday December 06, 2013 @11:23AM (#45618715) Journal

      Bank of America is always looking for new ways to screw over their "customers", be it through fees, lying, or trying to steal their (paid off) houses through foreclosure (and blaming it on "computer error" when caught). They're probably drooling like hungry dogs over all the ways they can fleece people with Bitcoin...

      That's what I found funny about the article. BofA thinks bitcoin could end up with "a reputation close to silver." and all I can think is "As opposed to Bank of America, which has a reputation close to shit, cancer, and child molesters."

  • by bkmoore (1910118) on Friday December 06, 2013 @01:38AM (#45616229)
    1. An "investment" vehicle that is based on an arcane mathematical model that nobody understands...check.
    2. A gold rush mentality and lots of media interest...check.
    3. Banks and other prominent "investors" that are saying that "this time it's different"...check.

    “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people.” -Sir Isaac Newton after losing a fortune in the South Sea Company bubble.

  • One thing that I don't think is usually appreciated is that Bitcoin isn't necessarily a replacement for a bank account. It's supposed to be a replacement for *cash*. Bitcoins can be stored in a wallet, lost, stolen, and handed to the wrong person just like cash can, except with the added advantage (danger) that I can transfer it to anyone on the planet almost seamlessly. Credit cards, bank accounts, etc. that offer me asset protection and such will be just as useful for Bitcoins as they are for cash, but th

    • No its like gold which is a way to get rich.

      It is not worth the risk to use it like cash. It is worth it to gain more of it though

      • Were you transported by time-traveling mercantilists from somewhere in the mid 17th century?
      • by Derec01 (1668942)

        The deflationary part pretty much assures that. I do think that some of the other cryptocurrencies that incorporate a simply determined inflation rate are more likely to achieve a stable value.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          you can chop the coins up to a certain pretty high point - and bitcoins had an inflation rate of sorts built in, the mining itself.

          but with any cryptocurrency since the value is determined by what people are willing to trade it at, you can't just have a "simply determined inflation rate".

        • by mysidia (191772)

          I do think that some of the other cryptocurrencies that incorporate a simply determined inflation rate are more likely to achieve a stable value.

          Perhaps.... banks such as BOFA; should love a deflationary cryptocurrency; if that is indeed what Bitcoin turns out to be. The problem is; much economic activity is unlikely to happen, if the currency is indeed deflationary

          For folks borrowing money (E.g. Borrowing Bitcoins) ---- many consumers with credit cards;

          A deflationary currency sucks, because over

          • by ftobin (48814) *

            A deflationary currency sucks, because over time, you will be paying back your loans over time in deflating BTCs that are worth more and more in real money terms, than the money you borrowed.

            Most of the time you are baying back more money in real terms than the money you borrowed -- it just depends on the APR of the loan.

            An APR of %0 in bitcoins based against a 2% USD inflation would be a equivalent to a 4% APR in USD against the same inflation rate.

    • It's supposed to be a replacement for *cash*.

      You're mistaken there. BTC is simply an electronic record of a sum. BTC is not hard currency.

      You can't use BTC for any non-electronic transaction. That's alot of transactions.

      That's not a replacement at all. BTC can't replace currency...unless it *becomes* a physical currency.

      • by Vintermann (400722) on Friday December 06, 2013 @05:13AM (#45616989) Homepage

        > You can't use BTC for any non-electronic transaction. That's alot of transactions.

        You can, if you're really good at doing math in your head.

        Seriously, though, you can use tricks to print redeemable coins on bits of paper. Using these, you can make transactions enitrely offline... but since the recipient can't know that the paper is worth anything until he uses a computer to check it, you need a bit of trust.

        Since these days even poor people prioritize getting a cell phone, there's really little need for non-electronic transactions.

        • you can use tricks to print redeemable coins on bits of paper. Using these, you can make transactions enitrely offline... but since the recipient can't know that the paper is worth anything until he uses a computer to check it, you need a bit of trust..

          c'mon man...

          that's not a replacement for cash

          that's the same as an IOU...whether you use BTC or $$$ for the units of the IOU doesn't matter it's still just a fucking IOU

          until you can pay bills, taxes, buy a hot dog at the corner vendor, etc with *non-electron

    • Cash is a piece of paper that is only worth something if the issuer is still somebody. If you have one billion German Reichsmark, you have a piece of memorabilia, totally worthless. That is because the government that issued it declared it worthless.

      Valuable metals are nothing more than shiny stuff. Yes, they are of some use in the industry because they tend to corrode very little and have a good electrical conductivity, but almost all their value is based on the fact that they are rare and we humans all a

    • by mysidia (191772) on Friday December 06, 2013 @03:32AM (#45616679)

      Credit cards, bank accounts, etc. that offer me asset protection and such will be just as useful for Bitcoins as they are for cash, but they will be denominated in a currency independent of any given country.

      That makes sense for joe average consumer. Let a third party "bank" do the heavy lifting of keeping your wallet and private keys; the bank is responsible for security and providing convenient access.

      When you want to go to a store and buy something; you do something that directs your bank to execute the bitcoin transfer.

      By the same token; you can go online, withdraw some bitcoins from your bank account to a local wallet -- and pay the vendor.

    • by FhnuZoag (875558)

      If it is a replacement for cash, its value should decrease over time to discourage people from hoarding it, and so keep the currency liquid.

  • by simonbp (412489)

    Whelp, it's official. If Bank of America thinks it's a great investment, Bitcoin is going to expand rapidly to biggest bubble anyone has ever seen, and then murder several developed economies when it bursts. Look for the Countrywide Bitcoin Exchange coming soon!

    Could be worse though, they haven't come out with a Beanie Baby Bitcoin yet...

    • Re:It's official (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Derec01 (1668942) on Friday December 06, 2013 @01:53AM (#45616297)

      I'm not going to argue that Bitcoin won't dip in value in the future, perhaps precipitously, but the fascinating thing about Bitcoin is that after that happens....it will still be there. They don't disappear, and other than signalling from other participants in the market, nothing will have changed about it.

      Beanie babies fall apart. Penny stock companies go bankrupt. Tulip bulbs and all that eventually rot, burn, or get destroyed.

      I don't think that persistent state is a trivial difference. Bitcoin will still be there, with a price history that will encourage speculators again. The Bitcoin network will be running on some networked computers on the planet for decades to come, no matter what. The net present value calculation for Bitcoin really does have to go out much much farther than almost any other object besides precious metals and gems.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jafac (1449)

        When the maximum number of bitcoins has been mined - who is going to have an incentive to run miners? At that point, nobody's going to compute hashes, and transaction chains won't be verified any longer. It works great as long as all those people out there dedicate their clock cycles to pounding out hashes. But without an incentive, it's all going to evaporate.

        • Just like any other service that sends money -- fees. http://bitcoinfees.com/ [bitcoinfees.com]
        • Re: It's official (Score:5, Informative)

          by greenrom (576281) on Friday December 06, 2013 @02:35AM (#45616481)
          Miners will still receive the transaction fees for all the transactions included in the blocks they mine. There's a recommended transaction fee formula built into the clients, but you set any transaction fee you want. Set it too low and some miners may choose not to include your transaction in their block, causing your transaction to take longer to complete. Thus, there will be incentive to pay miners sufficient transaction fees to make it worthwhile to process your transactions.
          • Re: It's official (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06, 2013 @03:13AM (#45616627)

            Miners will still receive the transaction fees for all the transactions included in the blocks they mine.

            Transaction fees are key but there's a subtle issue here: while there are a finite number of bitcoins, there are an infinite number of (possible) digital currencies.

            Sure, a few years from now bitcoin is going to be supported by transaction fees. But what happens when, say, Google, comes along with their own digital currency and offers lower (or even no) transaction fees? And what happens when (not if) someone develops a currency that is clearly technically superior to bitcoin - e.g. with a more (space) efficient mechanism to record transaction in the block chain.

            One way or another there's eventually going to be another digital currency that is clearly superior to bitcoin. And people are going to start flocking to the hip new digital currency. So, not only will bitcoin be fundamentally inferior, it will also be losing value (i.e. massive inflation) - while the other currency will gaining value making it all that much more attractive.

            That's not to say that there isn't a lot more money to be made it bitcoin before that happens - just that eventually someone's going to be left holding the bag (i.e. a whole lot of nearly worthless bitcoins.

      • Re:It's official (Score:5, Informative)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday December 06, 2013 @03:05AM (#45616619) Journal

        There's no particular reason to assume that bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that will win the future.
        There are plenty of contenders and nothing to stop [large financial institution] from latching on to one of those.

        • Re:It's official (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Vintermann (400722) on Friday December 06, 2013 @05:21AM (#45617009) Homepage

          Not to mention states. There has been talk of a government-run electronic payment infrastructure for a long time (why shouldn't there be one? After all, paper bills and coins are government-run payment infrastructure too).

          But the owners of the private payment infrastructure (Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, banks) lobby against it with tooth and nail.

          Now the little people, cryptographers, libertarians and online geeks, have actually managed to build up a decentralized payment infrastructure without government or corporate help. That's a damn impressive achievement, but one of the consequences is that it'll be harder for governments to sit on their behinds and let their own payment infrastructure remain in the 7th century.

        • Yes, the bitcoin code being open source and certain tools can be copied and forked. This has been done many times with 30+ Alt currencies already. What does the Bitcoin Network have that other alt currencies fail to have? 1) First mover advantage via the networking effect 2) 1+ Billion dollars of hardware securing the network and more being created daily 3) a thriving and growing market place of merchants, tools, exchanges 4) A large developer and support infrastructure These are things that cannot easily
    • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Friday December 06, 2013 @01:55AM (#45616303)
      Chill. Relax. Folks aren't going to throw money into an investment with no value beyond fleeting popular perception. Nothing like that will ever happen. Just calm down. Enjoy life. Stop and smell the tulips [wikipedia.org].
      • by Njovich (553857) on Friday December 06, 2013 @02:42AM (#45616501)

        I wonder if people who make the tulip comparison actually get what happened there. Tulips take years to grow, and can be multiplied. Suddenly a new type of tulip came into existence because of a viral interaction. A handful of rich traders (and some others trying to get in on the action) tried to corner that market, so the initial bulbs were extremely valuable. They took very large future options on them. Then at the height of the bubonic plague, the society temporarily collapsed and tulip prices went along with them. As it was mostly option contracts, they were largely not executed, so it didn't end up being a major issue. There are some lessons to learn there, but even if Bitcoin collapses, it will be completely different.

        • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Friday December 06, 2013 @10:49AM (#45618451)

          This is a bunch of non-sequitirs. "As it was mostly option contracts, they were largely not executed, so it didn't end up being a major issue." Really? The damage caused by tulipmania and so on has nothing to do with whether or not the options are executed. Even if they aren't, people spent money on those options contracts, and so lost massive amounts of money when the prices collapse. The characterisation of the prices collapsing due to 'the height of the bubonic plague' is also incorrect. The height of the bubonic plague was 200 years earlier in the 15th century, and plague outbreaks occurred before, during and after tulipmania.

        • by Jesrad (716567)

          How was this modded "informative" when it fails to give any accurate information ?

          If you knew what you were talking about, you wouldn't pretend there was a corner of the tulip market at the time - which there wasn't. Instead there was monetary debasing due to the huge influx of precious metals from the Americas (thanks in no little part to the invention of amalgamation), causing inflation on a massive scale (in about a decade this region's entire money supply grew by half), and a flight of savings [mises.org] to evade

      • Stop and smell the tulips.

        Ahh...the smell of old electronics [staticflickr.com]...

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Friday December 06, 2013 @01:56AM (#45616317)

    Initially the Wall Street guys were against Bitcoin because they couldn't figure out how to make money off of it. But now they've studied it and studied it and studied it, and now you're seeing the results of the research - they've found ways to manipulate it in the same fashion as regular currency markets.

    BoA is just the start - expect the rest of Wall Street to start investing heavily in Bitcoins as they try to eke out fractional coins on every transaction. And the Bitcoin infrastructure is near the point where it's "too big to fail" - even if it crashes, there's too much entrenched to abandon it completely, creating a perfect opportunity for the suits to actually acquire even more cheaply.

    Oh yeah, they'll probably also find a way to do HFT using it, so get ready to parse billions of new entries in the blockchain. Don't underestimate the mathematical prowess of bankers - once they show interest, they've found ways to make money off it.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday December 06, 2013 @02:00AM (#45616331) Journal
    Hmm... good thing that Real finance has honest, dependable, known, counterparties like AIG to keep risk in check!

    (Please note, the above should not be construed as implicit endorsement of bitcoins; but merely an observation that so long as the rewards for gambling with other people's money are so good, people will find ways of doing risky things in basically any asset class.)
  • 50 minutes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenrom (576281) on Friday December 06, 2013 @02:20AM (#45616431)
    How long does it take a check to clear or do an ACH transfer? Longer than 50 minutes? In reality, you don't have to wait 50 minutes to be reasonably certain a transaction will complete. You can see the transaction broadcasted to multiple peers within seconds. For small transactions, that's probably enough. Usually a transaction will make it into the blockchain in about 10 minutes. At that point, the only way to invalidate the transaction would be for a miner to fork the blockchain by computing an alternate longer chain. Since there are many competing miners, in practice this would be very difficult. After a few more blocks have been added to the chain, it would be virtually impossible to reverse the transaction. For very large transactions involving thousands or millions of dollars, it probably makes sense to wait 50 minutes for multiple confirmations, but for smaller transactions it's definitely overkill.
    • by cdrudge (68377)

      How long does it take a check to clear or do an ACH transfer? Longer than 50 minutes?

      It depends on what type of service to move the money is used.

      For ACH, the submitting bank sends their batch of transactions to the clearing house, the clearing house processes all the batches, and when the receiving bank picks up their processed batches. Typically it's a next-day service. The bank collects all the days requests, sends them at say 5PM. The clearing house processes them overnight. And the receiving bank pic

  • Mortgage-backed securities!

    I feel more confident already!

  • ...Lead researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have also determined that water is occasionally wet.
  • Imagine that (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Smerta (1855348) on Friday December 06, 2013 @03:07AM (#45616621)
    Huh, imagine that.

    Bank of America saying that a "central counterparty" is required to verify the transaction and mitigate risk. Wonder if they have anyone in mind?

  • by mathimus1863 (1120437) on Friday December 06, 2013 @03:22AM (#45616659)
    We should all like this Bitcoin *concept* even if we don't all like Bitcoin itself or the culture that has evolved around it (and the get-rich-quick Bitcoin fan-boys). But all the bashing of the Bitcoin concept is disappointing, because Bitcoin represents everything that us nerds reading slashdot should like: It's a mix of cryptography, freedom of speech, computing, networking, finance, economics, and even politics. Most of us here dig that stuff.

    Get over the hype and take Bitcoin for what it really is: a fascinating experiment that has, so far, withstood the amazing barrage of publicity, hacking attempts, legal uncertainties, and remains valuable for reasons completely contrary to everyone that says it's worthless. It may become worthless one day, but consider the possibility that Bitcoin is disproving all your wildly oversimplified assumptions about what makes something valuable. It is completely different than anything else we know, and there's plenty of reasons to believe that it could succeed as much as it could fail. (and in many ways it has already succeeded as a proof-of-concept of the idea of decentralized currency)

    Why does gold have value? Nothing is backing gold, and if it was for its material properties alone, its value would only be a fraction of $1,300/oz. Yet it maintains value because of its properties to behave as a transferable store of value: scarcity, fungibility, density, identifiability, etc. Bitcoin shares a lot of those qualities and adds some new ones: ease of transfer over the internet, negligible transfer fees, fungibility, scarcity, storage efficiency, near-anonymity and built-in escrow. I don't think it's any more ludicrous for Bitcoin to have value than it is for gold to have value. And in the end, when I want to sell WoW weapons, buy webserver space, or play a few games of poker online, why would I use credit cards or paypal, which all require me to remember log-in creditials, give away personal information to be [improperly] protected by a third-party and/or pay a bunch of fees. There's plenty of value in being able to pay people across the world, instantaneously, without sacrificing your privacy, and without paying any fees. Why is that not valuable?

    When you want to bash Bitcoin by saying it has no intrinsic value, ask yourself this: "what other system of payment/transfers allows someone to move $10,000,000 worth of value, to or from anywhere in the world, 24/7, nearly instantaneously, without fees, can't be debased or printed, irreverible, and without anyone being able to freeze or seize it (without direct access to your wallet)?" Regardless of its downsides, that's pretty f***ing powerful. There's a reason it's "could be a big deal."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...ask yourself this: "what other system of payment/transfers allows someone to...

      An infinite number of them actually - but they haven't been invented yet. An optimistic future for bitcoin is that owning bitcoins becomes like owning foreign currency: a handful of major (digital) currency exchanges allow people to buy and sell from a selection of thousands of different competing digital currencies. A less optimistic future is that bitcoin goes the way the Mosaic web browser - a major player in the early days but now superseded by other, more capable, technology.

    • by dbIII (701233)

      We should all like this Bitcoin *concept*

      That's the thing - to be a confidence trick baited for geek it needs the window dressing to make it attractive for geeks. It's as if somebody read crytonomicon - saw the digital currency described there and then removed all the portions that made sense leaving only a shiny layer of tinfoil.
      The whole "mining" thing is a distraction and a mechanism to force a pyramid structure. Those people buying mining rigs or farming compromised hosts now are missing the point th

    • by petes_PoV (912422)

      But all the bashing of the Bitcoin concept is disappointing

      All it amounts to is an individual holds an asset. They can transfer part or all of that asset to another individual without going through a governemnt monitored agency.

      Ho hum

      People have been using gold in exactly that way since humanity started bartering. The concept is thousands of years old. The only thing that is novel with Bitcoin is the implementation - not the concept. And we have yet to have all the problems, weakenesses and drawbacks of this system come to light. For the one thing we can guarante

    • by Kjella (173770)

      When you want to bash Bitcoin by saying it has no intrinsic value, ask yourself this: "what other system of payment/transfers allows someone to move $10,000,000 worth of value, to or from anywhere in the world, 24/7, nearly instantaneously, without fees, can't be debased or printed, irreverible, and without anyone being able to freeze or seize it (without direct access to your wallet)?" Regardless of its downsides, that's pretty f***ing powerful. There's a reason it's "could be a big deal."

      Except that value is entirely independent of the value of bitcoins themselves. It doesn't matter if I need to buy 1 BTC @ $10M or 1 billion BTC @ $0.01 and if you argue there's not actually 1 billion BTC, we could do it $100 at the time. It's a money scheme where it pays to get in early, which usually means it's bloody stupid to get in late. It's just not clear when "late" is just yet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06, 2013 @06:39AM (#45617251)

    Americans or Europeans could probably not understand it, but in some countries in the world taxes are almost on confiscating levels, leaving nothing to people.

    I send glasses to Argentina and they tax 15$ per item, way more than the 3$ it cost to make and send, then they tax again and again like crazy. End result is that what used to cost 9$ to the final customer now cost 100$.

    This happens all around South America now, Venezuela, Bolivia...

    The same happens with money transfer, governments consider money from the people their own, they tax it to death and they spend the money mostly on their own, using military force and police to subjugate them.

    So bitcoins means the people could transfer money very easily and fast, without being watched so they could survive.

    Again this is something that people in the first world can't really understand. Their "crisis" is a joke compared with what most of the people in the world have to life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Interesting that you mention Argentina. My wife is Argentinian and a couple of times she has had to send money to her family over there from Germany. The first time we sent a bank transfer and it never actually arrived to its destination. Our bank had the proof that the money had been sent but the receiving bank made up all kinds of excuses and blamed it on the government who was supposedly blocking incoming money transfers for anti-money laundering reasons. After several days wasted agueing with bureaucrat
    • by petes_PoV (912422)
      Surely the reason a few countries impose such levels of tax is because there is so much fraud, tax evasion and avoidance going on?

      If all the people paid what was an honest and reasonable proportion of tax, the "take" would be higher and the authorities would not have to extort monies from the few cases that they discovered and the low-hanging fruit (usually foreigners who were either brought up to be honest or don't know all the plays)

      In those cases, Bitcoin is just another way of avoiding taxes, thus ma

  • It sounds like somebody big at Bank of America has bought a bunch of Bitcoins and wants to sell them for a profit.

When all else fails, read the instructions.

Working...