I have been buying Bitcoin for a year and a half now. I first started using Bitcoin when I was living in China. Going to Chinese banks is a big hassle. I would have to bring a trusted Chinese friend with me to translate and help me with forms, and it was usually a one to two hour process to get the transfer done. Then I would anxiously wait two to three days for my money to show up in my American bank account. I also had to pay a decent amount of fees, and use Bank of China’s exchange rate.
I realized I could buy Bitcoin locally in China with my Renminbi, exchange it out in America, and end up making money on the exchange rates. I did that a few times while I was in China.
When I returned to America in August I kept reading about Bitcoin. r/Bitcoin became a daily habit. As the topics in r/BitcoinMarkets began to swell about an impending rise in value I decided to buy and hold while the price was under $200. In November of 2013 the price shot up to over $1100. Today in June of 2014 the value is around $650 per Bitcoin, and it looks like the price is ready to rise again.
Bitcoin is practically interesting. Last week I bought some more Bitcoin at the local Arizona Bitcoin Meetup group. I set cash on the table, and a guy sent me Bitcoin from his laptop. Seconds later I confirmed the Bitcoin arrived in the digital wallet on my phone, and he took the money. It was a near instant $4000 transaction.
I have a check being processed from Airbnb in my bank account. It will take a couple days for those funds to become available. When I send a check from my online bank account I have to leave a minimum of a 5 day buffer to make sure it arrives on time. There is nothing wrong with making sure I’m organized and prepared enough to send that money (as I should be), but in the age of email should it really take 5 days to send value over the internet?
The biggest idea behind Bitcoin is financial efficiency. The software technology behind Bitcoin will disrupt banks and financial systems. Hundreds of millions of dollars is being invested into making Bitcoin easier to use (for our moms). The internet was designed to have a financial protocol (see 402 error). Computer scientists have been trying to figure out a way to integrate a fraud proof payment system into the internet since 1982. Bitcoin is the first digital currency that solved the Two Generals’ Problem.
I could write a lot about Bitcoin, and maybe I will write more in the future. For now I would like to encourage you to spend an afternoon reading about it. Two of the best places to start are reddit.com/r/bitcoin and bitcointalk.org.