There are a lot of talk going on around the world about virtual currency such as Bitcoins and others.
Many are arguing that virtual currency is a reality and that it's here to stay. I personally agree with this proposition but virtual currency shouldn't be used as an alternative store of value asset only.
Bitcoin is probably the most known and talked virtual currency in these days. From what we can see in the exchange markets, that have been created to trade Bitcoin, there is a lot of daily activity in the trading environment.
What we cannot see is a similar activity in the retail environment either for on-line or real world transactions. Aside from a few examples, this virtual currency does not seem to be taking off.
What are the reasons for this ? Well there are many.
First of all, aside from the early adapters , "mining" Bitcoin for the individual has become a difficult task.
This means that if you want to have some of this Bitcoin , you can exchange them for your fiat currency on the exchange markets. So you have to take some of your stored "real money" and use them to store them again into Bitcoin. Unless, of course, you have a real intention to use this Bitcoin to buy something that you like and you need/want to buy.
Second, why do you have to convert your "real money" into Bitcoin if you need/want to buy something ? Because Bitcoin allows you and the seller to have a cost free transaction in the same way you would have if you would hand over your cash money to the vendor. In addition handling cash money is also a cost both for you and the vendor.
Third, is the vendor giving you any additional advantage if you pay in Bitcoin like, for example, a small discount ? Not that I am aware of. But might be possible that same are doing it. What I know for sure is that if you pay with real cash money instead of your credit card, you have a very high possibility to get a small discount if you dare asking for it.
Fourth, there are the exchange markets that makes the conversion rate change and it is difficult for you and the vendor to forecast its future value. You may exchange your "real money" into Bitcoin today or you can accept a payment in Bitcoin as a vendor today at a fixed current rate and find out a few days later that the value of Bitcoin has dropped. Or it has increased. This uncertainty, surely complicates the matter even more. Unless you see into Bitcoin a form of investment in the hope that its value will go sky high someday.
Many might argue that even your "real money" are subject to the same process described above.
All fiat money of course are subjected to inflation and deflation. And the conversion rate between them vary daily. Some might also argue that fiat money might collapse and that you would end up having a bank account filled up with numbers that have no purchase value at all.
So, it seems that what we need for a virtual currency to become a usable currency is a sort of stability of its value. In order to accomplish this, we have to reduce the trading and increase the actual use of our beloved virtual currency.
There are many that think that a world without any sort of monetary system would be a much better world. This is the key concept of a Resource Based Economy. It is my opinion that the present monetary system is just a paradigm, a model. Therefore it is subjected to a shift. And a Global Virtual Currency ( not necessarily Bitcoin ) could be a good entry point for the shift to occur. But it needs to be available for everybody for a Resource Based Economy to take place !!
I am working on this. Stay tuned.
Signed : Twitter @Michele1940