In May of 2011, a political evangelist for the Swedish Pirate Party, Rick Falkvinge, posted that he was putting all his savings into Bitcoin, which was trading at the time for $8.30 USD per coin.
People thought he was crazy, but history has shown it was an astonishingly smart move, with Bitcoin trading at $18,000 a coin today in November of 2020, roughly a 2,100x on his initial investment.
What really caught -my- attention was what he wrote in June 2011, outlined below, which looked at the long term strategy for Bitcoin, and the things it needed to overcome to be adopted.
First, the drivers. What is it making people interested in a crypto currency, why were people using it, what was the motivation?
Bitcoin’s Four Drivers:
- Unlawful Trade – https://falkvinge.net/2011/06/16/bitcoins-four-drivers-part-one-unlawful-trade/
- International Trade – https://falkvinge.net/2011/06/18/bitcoins-four-drivers-part-two-international-trade/
- Merchant Trade – https://falkvinge.net/2011/07/03/bitcoins-four-drivers-part-3-merchant-trade/
- Investment – https://falkvinge.net/2011/07/05/bitcoins-four-drivers-part-4-investment/
9 years later, the world is a different place. Illegal usage, which at one time was more than 80% of the transactions, thanks to Silk-Road and others, has dropped to an estimated 5% or less. International trade hasn’t caught up, but Merchant trade has risen sharply, with merchants like Bitpay (https://bitpay.com/) doing millions of dollars a day for big names like Microsoft, Newegg, Twitch, etc. Even Paypal got in on it, announcing the ability to buy/sell Bitcoin via their service. (https://news.bitcoin.com/paypal-crypto-service-venmo/)
Investment has also exploded, with Wall Street investment firms offering funds, like Grayscale, who, as of this article, holds more than $5 billion in Bitcoin. The Chicago Mercatile Exchange (CME) even sells Bitcoin Futures (https://www.cmegroup.com/trading/equity-index/us-index/bitcoin.html)
With the price threatening the ATH of $20k, even the top 0.1% have noticed. According to a poll this month, 73% of billionaires will invest in Crypto before the end of 2022, or already have. (https://news.bitcoin.com/millionaires-fomo-73-own-bitcoin/)
Another set of challenges that Falkvinge outlined were the hurdles to adoption:
Bitcoin’s Four Hurdles:
- Usability – https://falkvinge.net/2011/06/04/bitcoins-four-hurdles-part-one-usability/
- Transactions – https://falkvinge.net/2011/06/06/bitcoins-four-hurdles-part-two-transactions/
- Escrow – https://falkvinge.net/2011/06/08/bitcoins-four-hurdles-part-three-escrow/
- Exchanges – https://falkvinge.net/2011/06/10/bitcoins-four-hurdles-part-four-exchanges/
While Usability and Transactions raised some valid points, Escrow and Exchanges are far stronger today than they were in 2011.
Escrow Services haven’t taken off as much as exchanges, but there are several active ones today.
- IBC Group
- ItBit Escrow
So the questions of the day.. Should I buy Bitcoin? How do I buy Bitcoin? If you made it this far, you deserve short answers. 🙂
Unless you have a clear use-case, Cryptocurrency should be looked at as an investment. And like any investment, you shouldn’t risk any money you can’t afford to lose. Don’t mortgage your house, don’t raid your kids college fund, only play with money you won’t miss. At this stage in the game, investing in crypto is just like investing in a stock. There are really smart people who have spent years learning market movements, staring at screens 18 hours a day, who still lose massive amounts of money in the stock market. Trading is a skill you refine with education and practice.
Important – Bitcoin (and others) can be sub-divided down to 8 decimal places. That means you can buy 0.00000001 BTC – which today is $0.00018 USD if you want. you do NOT have to buy a complete coin.
Should you decide you’d like to by some Crypto, you have multiple ways to do it, from the exchanges listed above, to Bitcoin ATM’s. Bitcoin ATM’s?? Yep – there are more than 12,000 ATM’s planet wide, buying and selling Crypto. You’ll pay more in fees than using an exchange, but check the Bitcoin ATM Map, you might be able to just walk into the local mall, insert some cash, and leave with a some fractional coin. Sit on it, watch the market, and enjoy the ride.