So yes, the Bitcoin has been in the news a lot lately. If you are still asking, Yes, but what is it?, no need to worry as you are not alone (at least not yet). Apparently, many of those who were surveyed by Bloomberg had heard of the term but had no clue as to what it was, while 6% thought it was some sort of Xbox or iPhone app. For those unfamiliar, at its most basic, Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer virtual and decentralized currency. bitcoin (lowercase) refers to the currency itself.
So what’s the big deal? Considering that Bitcoin ATMs are popping up in the physical world and more retailers are preparing to accept the bitcoin, it might be time to take notice if you haven’t already. It’s a little ironic to have a physical ATM for a digital currency, but I guess it’s no different or stranger than scanning and remotely depositing checks into an ATM. With the world’s first Bitcoin ATM launching back in October 2013 in Vancouver followed by the next Canadian city, Toronto, just a couple of weeks ago, the excitement continues to build as New York City awaits its first Bitcoin ATM. While there has been criticism about Bitcoin, there are also some pretty strong defenders and supporters.
Read on to decide for yourself.
1. Check out Bitcoin Blogger for world-wide coverage of Bitcoin news. The blog discusses a wide range of topics within the realm of Bitcoin – from someone attempting to trademark bitcoin (again) to someone countering a basher’s opinion of the currency. Don’t forget to add allegations of fraud, proving that there will always be someone trying to make a buck… or a bitcoin or two in this case! The site neatly breaks out the topics into categories such as news, politics, mining (the creation of bitcoins), litecoin, and altcoins.
2. When free sources aren’t enough and you’re living, breathing, and dreaming about Bitcoin, it may be time to consider the in-depth news section put out by the folks across the pond at Financial Times. Articles are grouped into markets, companies, world, and commentary. You’ll need to pay a pretty penny to read the content though. (Subscription options allow fuller access with the standard online access starting at $6.25US/week.) If you’re not sure you’re ready to take the plunge, the aptly named BitcoinMania blog provides both news and commentary but you must register (it’s free) to access up to 8 articles per month.
3. If you’re interested in trading bitcoin or following speculation as to where it is headed, consider the Bitcoin Trader’s site. The blog is run by a writer who goes by the handle of GoWestBTC. Unfortunately, the lastest blog dates back to November 2013, but his twitter feed is a bit more current. If nothing else, it does give you a look at how one person has followed Bitcoin since 2011, providing a “play by play” on the whole phenomenon. Price charts included.
4. So excited you can’t wait to talk about bitcoins but your friends don’t have a clue what you’re talking about? Much more interactive and current than a blog, join the conversation and spout off at the Bitcoin Forum, where people share their perspectives and ask questions and get answers about all their bitcoin concerns. Of course, just because someone posts an answer does not make him an expert, so proceed with caution. A sense of humor also wouldn’t hurt.
5. For a bit (pardon the pun) of fun, you may want to take a look through the blog, lifeonbitcoin.com. Written by a newlywed couple who attempt to survive on this cryptocurrency, the blog follows a short period of their lives together post-honeymoon. Covering the period of approximately 3 months from late summer into fall 2013, the blog documents their daily life using this currency. (It probably would have been useful for them had they considered using bitcoin.travel, a site that aims to be the go-to bitcoin directory for both real world and online businesses.) A film based on the couple’s adventures is in post-production.
It will be an interesting ride to see where this virtual currency will go. Perhaps one day it will become as common as the paper money or plastic cards you have in your wallet. Or it could be like watching a rising star that hits its peak too soon before crashing and burning as the brilliant entrepreneur Charlie did. A captivating movie waiting to be made indeed.
For more information on bitcoins, check out bitcoin.org.