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The Bitcoin Blowback

May 24, 2017
bitcoin blowback

Anyone with a pulse and a wifi connection has at least heard of Bitcoin. It’s the original and most popular cryptocurrency there is. It is currently estimated that up to half of all U.S. facing sportsbook transactions are made with Bitcoin (source: Breitbart). What started off as an anomaly became an increasingly easy way to make payment worldwide. All appears to be good for the users and proponents of Bitcoin. However, there are some unique challenges that are starting to become apparent.

Currency Volatility

The value of bitcoin changes as more money is pumped into the blockchain. As a result we have seen wild fluctuations in prices the first 8 years of its existence. Therefore, it is possible, as has happened on occasion, that you put money into a Bitcoin account and by the time you log in again the currency has lost value. But the norm is the reverse. Many times people log back in and discover they have more money than what they started with. These examples aside, the instability of the currency makes more conservative users nervous.

Desire to Hold

With Bitcoin soaring the last few weeks and basically doubling, we have noticed a trend of slower payments. We call this the blowback. The profitability right now is so good companies and individuals are stalling in sending their payments to squeeze every dime out of the seemingly ever-rising value of the crypto-coin. And now anytime there is a legitimate problem with a processor, companies are being accused of holding.

Longer Processing Times

In the beginning, many currency transactions were only seconds long. Now we are getting word that some folks have waited hours. We have had reports of 4, 8 and even 14 hours wait time. And these are all verified sends (meaning we can see the initial send and verify it). There are plenty of Bitcoin miners but apparently, at the moment, not enough to keep up with this record demand. This goes for purchases and refunds. Yesterday the Chief at Fidelity, Abigail Johnson, stated in her speech that she was very bullish on cryptocurrencies. “Blockchain technology isn’t just a more efficient way to settle securities. It will fundamentally change market structures and maybe even the architecture of the Internet itself,” she said. But then she explained a situation that occurred when one of her experimenters (named Alex) tried to request a refund for a drink he purchased: “.. the bitcoin network was being spammed that day”, Johnson said, “and the return process was taking hours. Alex gave up in despair.”

Why Use it as a Currency When the Investment Opportunity is so Great?

I cannot tell you how many people I know that started using Bitcoin three or four years ago and now they are recounting every payment they ever sent saying “If I didn’t send that payment, I would have xxx dollars now!” That is the typical “gambler’s mentality”. If I had done this, If I had done that, I would now have this or that etc.. In reality everyone can use BTC as a form of currency as well as an investment opportunity. Using the currency to pay people that are generally hard to pay, ie overseas/out of country receivers, has plenty of value. Taking a percentage of your BTC and putting in a side account and never touching it also is a very smart idea. One article suggests that the price of a single coin could be $1 million in ten years.  At the time of publication of this article you are reading one single Bitcoin is worth $2429.

Conclusion

Don’t beat yourself up over how much BTC you could have now or how much the price changed while you were away from the market. Send and receive your Bitcoin sparingly. Save as much as you can and don’t put more than 10%-20% of your investment capital into BTC. You really never know the real bottom of this currency as this is all undiscovered country (Star Trek’s meaning, not Hamlet’s).

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