I listen to a lot of podcasts while I drive and something that a lot of these podcasts are doing lately is setting up the ability to accept Bitcoin donations. These podcasts release their shows for free and work off of donations and product sales (books, videos, etc), but most of them are donation only. This apparently makes them enough money to produce and release very high quality podcasts and documentaries full time.
Accepting donations is nothing new for that type of service, but Bitcoin is. The advantage to accepting Bitcoin donations is the possibility of micropayments. Many people will not donate $10 through a credit card or Paypal, and smaller amounts are less worth the hassle because of high fees and minimums, etc. With Bitcoin the fees are miniscule or non-existent and it's possible to transfer very small amounts of money (out to 8 decimal places of a Bitcoin, which is fractions of a cent in USD).
So, my point here is that if you set up the ability to accept Bitcoin donations, even from paying customers, you might generate some income, even if it's in small amounts. For example, a forum user thinks, "Wow, that info was really helpful, I won't pay $20 for it, but I'd send 50 cents through Bitcoin." A couple of clicks and transaction complete.
I appreciate the sentiment but, IMO, Bitcoin is a ponzi scheme. It is not money since it not a store of value-- just ask the people who lost millions to the Mt Gox collapse and bankruptcy. And the almost daily roller coaster ride in valuations of Bitcoin against the dollar should be further proof of this.
Bitcoin mysteriously arose from some Japanese programmer who then vanished into the night.
Bitcoin is a tech geek's wet dream, maybe a speculators play thing, maybe even the long-lost lovechild of anarcho-capitalist libertarian types, but it is not something I will ever have anything to do with. And the IRS just ruled that if you convert Bitcoin into dollars and made a profit, you must report it as a gain from a collectible which is taxed much higher that the going capital gains rate.
If you think you can transact Bitcoin in secret, you're about half right. You *may* be able to convert dollars into Bitcoin privately, but there's no way to convert Bitcoin back into dollars privately. FINCEN knows all.
Some people think they can convert money into Bitcoin and leave it there. Yeah, for all the great things they can do with it: buy groceries, pay rent, buy appliance parts... NOT! The Bitcoin ecosystem is so small and impracticable that it might as well be non-existent.
To borrow an old adage that was popular in the 80's: Just say no to Bitcoin.
You mean bacteria grows in my water bottle? ewwwww.... nawwww.. I don't think so but then again my water bottles are filled with Jack Daniels. And if bacteria grows in them, they'll certainly be happy bacteria and a happy bacteria hurts no one.
Edited by DurhamAppliance, 07 April 2014 - 05:14 PM.
I'm not really defending Bitcoin (BTC) here, just stating some things I've learned about it. Mt Gox was a business, run by one single person, that failed, people who stored their BTC with Mt Gox lost out. Properly stored your BTC is safe against the failure of any particular exchange. The mistake that is usually made is storing your BTC in someone else's "wallet" or BTC bank (for lack of a better term). When someone else holds your BTC what they are actually holding is the public and private keys that allow you to send and receive your BTC (keys random number and letter sequences which are encrypted and recorded in the BTC ledger (called the block chain)). If you store the BTC in your own digital wallet or better yet, offline (keys encrypted and recorded on paper) there is no way for you to lose them.
Mt Gox was an exchange, a way to convert dollars to BTC, not a safe place to store your BTC. In this sense it would no different from losing your deposited money if your bank failed (if there was no FDIC). If your money was in the bank, you're out luck. If your money was in your secret hiding place in the backyard the bank failure is irrelevant and the only concern is a collapse of the currency itself.
Much of this confusion comes from a lack of understanding of what BTC actually is, especially since there is no factual information coming out of the media about it, which isn't a surprise since it's something outside of the control of the people who own the media (coincidentally the same people who own the banks and government).
BTC Crash Course:
I think that BTC, or something similar, is something that is going to stick around, and may prove useful on a large scale at some point. It's constantly updated and improved because it's open source and people are building more complex systems on top of it. As for the IRS, well yes, the catch is when you convert to and from USD, otherwise it's just random numbers with no personal info attached. For instance, David buys BTC and sends them to BTC address 1xd4TT5rghy... 1xd4TT5rghy... then sends them to 6tgYZ336ty.... who then sends them to .... and so on. So, although the transaction can be traced from the initial purchase, there's very little ability to associate the next address they are sent to with any individual (provided that individual hasn't already associated their BTC address with their personal info). And new random addresses (public keys) can be generated at will for each transaction.
You're also supposed to pay tax on barter and garage sale income.
There are in fact ways to purchase goods and services with BTC, although they are still a bit clumsy (services will accept BTC from you and pay your bills in USD). As the BTC economy grows, which it does daily, and more people accept it as payment, it will become quite useful IMO, especially with the ability to work within the BTC economy only. Overstock.com accepts BTC (http://www.overstock.com/bitcoin) and so do others: https://spendbitcoins.com/places/
There are also people working on ways to make it truly anonymous.
I think BTC, or something like it, is the way of the future. Decentralized peer to peer currency, like digital cash but no one can turn the printing press to double speed (in fact the creation of BTC slows over time and is limited in amount, which makes it deflationary instead of inflationary), and it's not debt based. Silver is still nicer to hold though.
Bitcoin isn't a fiat currency. Fiat currency is money that has value because the government says it has value. It arguably has some kind of natural "free market" value because it trades, at low volume, for $450 for 1 bitcoin, and people buy it and use, on a small scale at the moment, but larger every year than the year before. People find it valuable, without being told they must find it valuable.
As far as it being squashed by central banks I agree that they will try, but I'm not certain that they can do it, because of the way bitcoin is set up. The ledger (block chain) is distributed onto every computer of every person who uses bitcoin (and chooses to download the block chain). This decentralization makes it difficult to squash, and this is the threat. Short of shutting down the internet, around the world, there isn't an easy way to stop it. And the fact that it's open source makes it more difficult because for every regulation and obstacle there are hundreds of people figuring out ways around them. As a comparison to this you can look at music downloads. Napster being the first system for this, it was centralized and shut down easily. Then next iteration of this technology was more dispersed but still centralized, and also easily shut down. There were a few more until we got to bit torrents, which are decentralized, peer to peer, split up downloads. Each download is sourced from multiple places and it works to this day. It can't be shut down. The industry was forced to adapt. The banking system may attempt to co-opt and adapt to the bitcoin concept, but I don't think they can stop it. On that note Bill Gates and some of the banks have launched BTC (better than cash) which is "coincidentally" the same acronym used for bitcoin.
I'm not implying that I have a complete understanding of how bitcoin works or that I would invest large amounts of fiat money in it, but I think it's certainly something to watch, and be aware of, and if you take a closer look at how it is actually structured you'll see the difficulty inherent in stopping it.
And on a related side note, pre-1982 (and some 1982) pennies are worth about 2 cents in copper, so sort your change.