International interest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has been on a definite rise in the past year. Shocking as it seems to me, it still hasn’t been a year since the Cyprus situation in March and April of 2013. The attention that was garnered in that moment stuck a major chord with the rising libertarian movements, but also governments themselves. Regulators had since kept their eyes on the cryptocurrency. In October, prices began to rise steadily from $100 until the Silk Road was taken down by US Federal Law Enforcement. This caught the attention of the US media and in-turn, threw Bitcoin into the spotlight. The rise from then took off rapidly to where prices rose to over $1000 in December.
Of course, this was noticed by financial regulators around the world, now in support with law enforcement regulators to regulate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Most notable of regulatory happenings were the US Senate hearings in mid-November. They were surprisingly positive for cryptocurrencies and contributed to the continued rise in BTC prices. When the Bank of China put pressures against Bitcoin, the prices were sent a huge shock from their $1000+ position. Russia has outright banned it.
And yet, the fall of Mt. Gox on Monday marks a landmark point in the maturity of the Cryptocurrency community.
With faulty business practices by Mt. Gox coming to light, and the unity of bitcoin leaders and industry, the future looks brighter than ever.
However, not everyone sees it like that. Senator Carper (D – DE ) has already called the Mt. Gox exchange failure as unacceptable and is already looking for regulators to get involved. Media outlets worldwide are also seeing this moment at face-value, unable to see that Mt. Gox’s failures were a sign of their own practices and structure, calling Bitcoin a ‘ponzi scheme,’ or that this episode could be a serious blow to the Bitcoin economy.
Despite the negative press, Bitcoin has rebounded over $150 since Monday night’s ultimate low of about $425 on Bitstamp to about $580 currently at the time of writing. The chatter on r/Bitcoin and other centers of Bitcoin enthusiasts are alive today with positive energy and optimism. In contrast to the mainstream media’s perspective looking in, the BTC community is very glad that Mt. Gox has finally fallen, seen as a weeding out of bad business. I wrote about this last night.
We know that the attention by the mainstream media is very negative, equating the entire bitcoin system and protocol to flaws in Mt. Gox. It is going to be very possible that government oversight and regulation will be brought up in many new and old places. Most recently to take action seem to be Jordan and Australia.
Ben Lawsky, New York State’s top banking regulator, is pressing for deeper regulation. Canada, as well, is seeking regulatory options. It is already in place that any business that accepts these alternate currencies will be considered for money-transmitting businesses. The SEC and other organization/agencies are pressing down harder, some suggesting that they force centralization.
It may seem that Bitcoin’s days of privacy and sovereignty are coming to an end.
However, if it is anything that the markets and the Cryptocurrency community has taught us, it is that people always try to find a way.
[divider]The market will provide options[/divider]
There’s no way that the Cryptocurrency community will easily give up as a whole. What is going on, and will be a major question for the Crypto-community in this post-Mt. Gox period, is what choices will be made available and what choices will be taken; essentially, how will we react to international pressure?
On issues of consumer usability, there will be different coins and developments. Enhanced payments have been on the drawing board for a long time, possibly allowing for contracts to be written into transactions, allowing for safer, more secure transactions over the internet. Smart transaction fees may as well go into effect later this year as well as subscription payments. Read more on possible developments here.
On issues of privacy and security, there are different wallets and coins as well. DarkWallet, having reached its indiegogo goal, is on its way to providing the most secure and private wallet to date. AnonCoin and ZeroCoin are also very possible alternatives for those seeking extra privacy.
If anything is for sure, we are at a turning point in CryptoCoin history. There will be major transformations in business and in cryptocurrency development.
Interesting note: You can watch Bitcoins being sold live at FiatLeak.