The Bitcoin world has been plagued with one drawback after another. From exchange market founders facing allegations of fraud and the most recent Internet security flaw known as Heartbleed, Bitcoin enthusiasts have plenty to be worried about.
Bitcoin exchanges and payment services were quick to take action to patch the Heartbleed security flaw. Some services went offline briefly, with trades being suspended, logins blocked and so on, until it was made certain that affected users, APIs, and web services had been fixed.
Though you’d think the recent misfortunes suffered by the world’s number one cryptocurrency would make people more wary of using it, in fact the opposite has happened. A surprising number of people are open to accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, using it to make transactions, investing in it, and now even saving it for their retirement.
Bitcoin’s value is slowly recovering thanks to a selloff that occurred last week, when Chinese Bitcoin exchanges announced that banks in the country were to stop supporting the cryptocurrency businesses this week. Its value jumped from $360.84 to $513.4 earlier today, and has now leveled out at around $500. But despite trhis increase in value, Bitcoin’s still more than 50 percent down compared to $1,100 value it hit late last year.
Even so, we can expect more people will be interested in the cryptocurrency as it goes mainstream.
Bitcoin trading to go public
SecondMarket, a trading platform that launched a Bitcoin fund for wealthy and institutional investors last year, aims to roll out the said fund, the Bitcoin Investment Trust, to more investors in the fourth quarter of 2014. BIT will become tradable on OTC Market’s electronic exchange OTCQX. However, it should be noted that OTCQX is still waiting for approval from the OTC Markets and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
“Any investor in the US with a retail brokerage account will be able to buy shares,” Barry Silbert, chief executive of SecondMarket stated.
BIT has provided a way for institutional investors whose charters barred investment to the cryptocurrency in other venues. Though this effort makes Bitcoin more available for the retail market, some industry gatekeepers are concerned with what’s happening.
“I get that people want to have some non-government affiliated store of value, but this really is not it,” says Kim Forrest, vice-president and senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group, a Pittsburgh-based registered investment adviser. “This is something that is totally fabricated.”
Despite the negativities surrounding Bitcoin, some are seeing it as a viable retirement savings option, especially when the possible collapse of the US economy is put on the table.
“There is clearly a segment out there in the market that listens to talk radio and thinks the dollar is going down the toilet and the US is going down and so forth, and they would argue that Bitcoin is like owning guns and gold: it is prudent because you should not have all your assets in mainstream dollar-denominated investments or standard currencies, which may fall apart,” John Rekenthaler, vice-president of research at Morningstar, stated.