The other day, I was discussing crypto-currencies with an acquaintance at our local Starbucks, and he let me know he was working with a couple of entrepreneurs who’d previously been academic experts in IT Security. Of course, for crypto-currencies it is all about safe transfer of the data, and the trust in the intrinsic value of those one’s and zero’s, or Q-bits. Perhaps, I might take a look at their business plan, although these digital currencies have had some bumps in the road to the future I am sure will be the future norm – that’s the way the world is headed it appears.
Does this mean we will have a distributive currency like distributive energy on the smart grid crypto wallet, or distributive information like the Internet? Well, humans usually do what works and there is both good and bad with centralization and with a distributive redundancy strategy.
Now then, what’s the latest you ask? Well, there are two articles I read not more than an hour after that meeting, as I was cruising through the information, I’d previously saved to write on this topic later; Marginally Useful – Bitcoin itself may fail as a currency, but the underlying technology is beginning to suggest valuable new applications,” by Paul Ford (February 18, 2014) and mind you this article was written just days before the Bitcoin theft from one of their top exchanges.
The other article was written by Naette Byrnes the day after those findings hit the newswires on February 25, 2014 “Bitcoin on the Hot Seat – A major bitcoin exchange shuts down, raising questions about the cybercurrency.” Are you surprised? No, me either.
The second article went on to state; “Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, once one of the largest exchanges of the bitcoin cybercurrency, stopped operating Tuesday amid rumors that millions may have been stolen from the firm and rising concerns about the long-term prospects for the unregulated digital currency. Other bitcoin exchanges quickly moved to distance themselves from Mt. Gox and assert that they were still open for business. The value of the currency itself dropped sharply to just over $500 by mid-afternoon. It hit an all-time high of $1,100 in November.”
What do you say to that? Ouch. Does this prove that the naysayers calling it a Ponzi Scheme were right? Do they get the last laugh, or is this just an expected evolutionary process of disruption as all the kinks are worked out? Well, consider this thought experiment I had.
Let’s say there was hanky-panky involved, let’s say someone hacked the system or stole the digital currency. Right now, digital currency flies under the radar as it is not recognized even with all the new Too Big To Fail regulations on banks, etc. How can a digital currency have value? Hard to say, how can a fancily printed piece of paper marked $20 be worth anything, it’s not, but it is worth what it represents if we all agree to that and have trust in the currency. What’s the difference, it’s a matter of trust right?
Okay so, let’s say that the regulators, FBI, or another branch of government interferes and files charges – if they file criminal charges that someone defrauded someone else then how much defrauding was involved? If the government enforcement and justice department put a dollar amount number to that, they are inadvertently agreeing that the digital currency is real, and it has a value, thus, acknowledging it. If they don’t get involved, then any fraud that may or may not have occurred sets the entire concept back a ways, and the media will continue to drive down the trust of all digital or crypto-currencies.
So, it’s a catch-22 for the government, regulators, and enforcement folks, and they cannot look the other way or deny this trend any longer. Is it time for regulations. Well, I personally hate regulation, but isn’t this how it usually starts. Once it is regulated credibility is given to the concept, but his digital currency concept could also undermine the whole One World Currency strategy or even the US Dollar (Petro-Dollar) paradigm, and there could be hell to pay for that as well. Can the global economy handle that level of disruption? Stay tuned, I guess we shall see.