BEND, OR -- BitCoin became available in 2009, but only recently has the average person been able to use it to buy anything.
Amazon and Overstock have BitCoin payment capabilities as of last week, and consumers can use their BitCoin at brick and mortar stores like Home Depot, CVS, K-mart, and Sears.
A local IT Consultant says that most people don't know what BitCoin is, nor how it works. "BitCoin is a digital, non-centralized currency. It is a classification of cryptocurrency which is digitally created, traded, and verified through the Internet."
He says BitCoin is money, designed for the Internet age...it exists, in digital form, and is actually, fairly user friendly. "BitCoin can be acquired a number of ways, however, the most common method is via an exchange service. In the US, one of the most popular services is via CoinBase.com."
CoinBase likens BitCoin to Email...Email made communication fast and inexpensive, and BitCoin is an improvement on how people use money to pay for things, and he says it's attractive because while bank accounts can be hacked and credit card numbers stolen, BitCoin is secure, in part, because it's digital, instead of digitized, and works essentially the same way as most other forms of payment. "BitCoin futures are just like other future financial products, an agreement is reached to buy or sell BitCoin at a specific date and price. These markets have just become publicly available."
He adds, unlike most money, there's not an endless supply of it. "BitCoin has value because there are a finite number of BitCoins currently available and that will be released in the future. Unlike fiat currencies, they can't simply be created arbitrarily."
According to him, it's safe and reliable ... perhaps even more so than paper money. "Most people couldn't articulate how the Fed's monetary policy affects nearly every decision we make. By contrast, BitCoin's origin in 2009 was, and remains, open-source. Anyone can look at the integrity of the system's code to review it, should they be willing to invest the time to do so. This ensures there's no malicious intent in the code's operation. Can you say the same of the Fed?"
Top financial institutions in the BitCoin market are lending the digital currency its growing mainstream acceptance, but government officials and some economists are warning people against investing in it before it's 'proved.'