Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bitcoin news for January 2 , 2014 ! 56% of Bitcoiners Believe the Bitcoin Price Will Reach $10,000 in 2014 ...... Bitcoin makes further moves into main stream commerce ....... Paypal planning competition by way of " Virtual Tokens " , as per Ebay patent proposal ........ Lebanon Central Bank the latest issuing Bitcoin warnings........Singapore and Bitcoin - a discussion from guest poster at Zero Hedge Keith Hilden !





1/5 ....Someone is playing pump up the  price of  bitcoin games .......  again !


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1/4/14 ........



Malaysian Central Bank Has No Plans To Regulate Bitcoin

 (@southtopia) | Published on January 4, 2014 at 12:49 GMT | AsiaNewsRegulation
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Malaysia’s Central Bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), joined others by publishing its own statement on bitcoin this week.
The statement was similar to those issued in other countries of late, but probably the briefest we’ve seen from a central bank so far. An announcement, posted on the bank’s official website, simply said:
“The bitcoin is not recognised as legal tender in Malaysia. The Central Bank does not regulate the operations of bitcoin. The public is therefore advised to be cautious of the risks associated with the usage of such digital currency.”
There has been a flurry of similar statements around the world in the past week, from countries as far apart as Lebanon and New Zealand. All, however, have stressed two main points: bitcoin cannot be recognized as a “currency”, and using it carries certain risks.
It is still unknown to what degree these statements indicate central banks internationally are washing their hands of all bitcoin-related responsibility, or whether they signal the opening moves of an eventual crackdown.
CoinDesk spoke to Colbert Low, the founder of local services and consultancy firm BitcoinMalaysia.com, about whether the central bank’s statement would change anything. He said:
“Nothing changes, there are still plenty of bitcoin/altcoin trades going on.
Our secret traders’ groups on [messaging platforms] Whatsapp and Kakaotalk are still going strong, with 200 plus people. ASIC (SHA256) hardware sales are also strong and there’s plenty of demand from miners in Malaysia.”
Low compared the BNM’s stance to that of the neighboring Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) last month. After originally warning investors to “be wary” of bitcoin in September, the authority announced later it would not regulate it at all, saying: “Whether or not businesses accept bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services is a commercial decision in which MAS does not intervene.”
Malaysia shares similar traits with Singapore in that it has a healthy supply of young IT professionals (both on the hardware and software side) and also serves as a regional hub for financial services, making it attractive ground for digital currency developers as well.
In July 2013, Thailand’s central bank became the first to make strong statementsabout bitcoin’s legal status, using the word “illegal” repeatedly to denounce bitcoin trading and use in exchange for goods and services. Some local exchanges suspended business in response.
Some claimed the news was misreported and/or exaggerated, and Thailand maintains a healthy bitcoin scene with at least two exchanges, Bahtcoin andCoinMill, still operating. The latter site carries a warning that there are restrictions on bitcoin trading in Thailand and offshore banks may not trade Thai Baht for bitcoin, but has a calculator for current baht-bitcoin exchange rates.




Chinese Web Giant Sina Launches Bitcoin Information Pages

 (@southtopia) | Published on January 4, 2014 at 15:07 GMT | Companies
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Sina.com.cn, China’s fourth most-popular web portal, yesterday launched Sina Bitcoin Market information pages with charts, statistics and real-time market quotes.
Sina announced the launch by saying the service was created to assist investors in understanding and discussing bitcoin market trends and relevant market knowledge. It features data gathered from Mt. Gox (USD-BTC), BTC China (CNY-BTC), and 11 more of the largest bitcoin trading platforms. It said the site aimed to be easy to use and understand, and welcomed user suggestions.
Initial reports said the response from users was mainly positive.
Sina is sometimes called “the Yahoo! of China”. Given the nature of large online and media businesses in China, any sign of bitcoin endorsement from a company as prominent as Sina can spark optimism. The same signs were noted after state media CCTV’s documentaries on bitcoin earlier in 2013. It suggests that decision-makers at some levels of China’s official hierarchy appear to find value in bitcoin.
sina
Although based in mainland China, Sina’s online services are aimed at Chinese-speaking communities around the world and it has over 100 million registered users. The company also operates properties like microblogging platform Sina Weibo, Sina.net, Sina Online and Chinese mobile carrier Sina Mobile.
China has bewildered many outsiders with its regulatory statements and actions of the past month; seeming to both allow widespread access to bitcoin while simultaneously clamping down on access to entry and exit points – but not always enthusiastically.
Officially, the Chinese authorities have forbidden any financial institutions from setting bitcoin prices or dealing in digital currencies, and blocked third-party payment processors from exchanges. People are still allowed to speculate and trade them, with several of the usual warnings about associated risks.
The formerly largest exchange BTC China has moved to a voucher system to facilitate payments. Other exchanges like (now-largest) Huobichbtc.com andFXbtc, however, are reportedly still receiving deposits in CNY via wire transfers.
The uncertainty has had an effect on bitcoin prices over the past month. Bitcoin was at an all-time high of over $1,200 on 4th December, but lost 50% of that value after the People’s Bank announcements. It has recently climbed closer to the thousand dollar mark again, but any news from a country the size of China causes fluctuations.
At the time of writing, 1 BTC was trading for 4,710 CNY ($778.4) on BTC China and 4,728 CNY on Huobi.com.







1/3/14......



Statistics Chief at China’s Central Bank Bearish on Bitcoin

 (@joonian) | Published on January 3, 2014 at 18:44 GMT | AsiaNewsRegulation
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Bitcoin, like other virtual currencies, is fundamentally not a currency, the head of the Chinese central bank’s financial survey and statistics department, Sheng Song Cheng, wrote in an opinion piece published online on 2nd January.
Sheng’s piece added that it would be difficult to see how bitcoin could ever be considered a currency in the future.
Although Sheng’s view underlines the central bank’s official position laid out last month, which states that bitcoin is not a currency “with real meaning”, the statistics head took the additional step of labelling the cryptocurrency a “utopia” for those with beliefs in technology and liberalism verging on the extreme.
The English-language edition of the Global Times, a newspaper published by the conservative People’s Daily, reported Sheng’s phrasing in a news piece as:
“Bitcoin is merely a utopia for technology supremacists and absolute liberalists.”
Sheng’s department is responsible for developing the statistics system for China’s financial sector and designing the accounting system related to monetary statistics, among other duties.
Commenters appeared to disagree with Sheng’s views. The top comment onSheng’s piece, which was published in the opinion pages of leading news portal Sina, sarcastically asked:
“States can wither away too, my friend. Can you please show more vision?”
China’s central bank banned financial institutions from dealing in bitcoin after declaring on 5th December that the digital currency didn’t have the legal status of a “currency with real meaning”. However, individuals remain free to deal in bitcoin.
The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has been closely watched for signals of its attitude towards regulating bitcoin and other digital currencies.
The PBOC’s statement in December sent bitcoin’s price into a nosedive, shedding $300 in a single morning on Mt. Gox. The CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Indexlost $555 over two days.
On 16th December, news leaked that the PBOC had taken the additional step of barring third-party payment companies from working with bitcoin exchanges. Bitcoin’s value fell by 22% at its lowest point within 24 hours of the announcement, according to the BPI.









Sign Of The Top? Hedge Fund Hiring Junior Bitcoin Execution Trader

Tyler Durden's picture





With Bitcoin having almost completed another double off the Dec 17 lows...


...it is hardly surprising that the fast-money volatility-chasing world of 2-and-20-ers is reaching out for a Bitcoin Execution Trader.

(h/t @Besvinick)

The San Francisco hedge fund is hiring a "Junior" position, which suggests they already have a "senior" trader who has got tired of trading the digital currency 24 hours a day and is looking to offload the 24x7x365 duties to a lower-level employee with "strong analytic skills" and who is "willing to work odd hours including weekends and late nights/early mornings."








Coindesk......


56% of Bitcoiners Believe the Bitcoin Price Will Reach $10,000 in 2014

 (@emilyspaven) | Published on January 2, 2014 at 16:00 GMT | AnalysisNewsPrices
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More than half of bitcoiners believe the price of their favourite digital currency will reach $10,000 this year, a CoinDesk poll has revealed.
2013 was a turbulent year for bitcoin, with the price of the digital currency fluctuating between $13 and $1,147, but the bitcoin community largely thinks it will soar way higher than this over the next 12 months.
A whopping 56% of the 5,500 people polled so far said they believe the price will reach $10,000 this year.
Some 31% said they didn’t think the price would rise to this level and 13% thought the notion of it reaching $10,000 was ridiculous, replying “WTF are you smokin ???”.
coindesk-poll

Twitter reaction

Bitcoiners in the Twittersphere also shared their varied views, with @jsbarretto expressing that he hopes the price will not reach $10,000 this year.

@Bitcoin I hope not. Keeping the exchange rate stable means that Bitcoin will become more of a serious currency.

@m52go chipped in:

@AbeyuM @coindesk @Bitcoin i believe in the technology...the price will go where it goes!




Rather more optimistic was @oleganza, who predicted that the price could rocket to $10,000 within the next few months:


@Bitcoin @coindesk $10K before May 1st. 7:49 AM - 31 Dec 2013





@jebus911 said:


@BitcoinMania1 @Bitcoin @coindesk I think the odds of 10000 are much higher than people think


Bullish predictions

The Winklevoss twins certainly think it’s possible for the price of bitcoin to reach $10,000 (and even higher), perhaps not in the next year, but eventually.
They said they expected bitcoin would one day be worth 100 times what it was at the time ($343).
Back in early December, a report from Wall Street analysts Gil Luria and Aron Turner predicted that the price of bitcoin could increase to almost $100,000.
Titled ‘Bitcoin: Intrinsic Value as Conduit for Disruptive Payment Network Technology’, the report predicted the price of bitcoin could increase to 10-100 times its value at the time, which was around $1,000.
Ex-Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya also believes the price of bitcoin will rocket to much higher than levels seen to date. He said each bitcoin could go on to be worth more than $400,000, provided it establishes itself as a “useful reserve currency”.
While these may be long-term predictions, political and financial pundit Max Keiser thinks a $5,000 price mark is on its way:






As predicted, 2014 will see hedge funds and PE funds (like Fortress) enter BTC space. Hello $5,000!






Keiser has long been bullish about bitcoin. Back in March, he said: “It is inevitable that Bitcoin will become a multi-trillion dollar enterprise because every other currency in the world is tied to dying central banks that are encumbered with impossible-to-pay debts and bankrupt counter-party risks.”



coindesk-bpi-chart
The price of bitcoin ranged from $13 to $1,147 in 2013.

Mainstream opinion

It’s important to note that CoinDesk’s poll targeted those who already know about bitcoin, so it isn’t clear what the general consensus is on the future price of bitcoin.
What we do know, thanks to a recent poll conducted by Bloomberg, is that 42% of Americans have heard of bitcoin and know it is a digital currency. It’s worth noting that they only quizzed 1,000 people, though.
Of those who identified bitcoin as being a digital currency, 46% said they favoured bitcoin regulation, 39% said bitcoin should not be regulated and the remaining 16% were unsure.
The price of bitcoin is currently $775, so it’s still a long way off reaching anywhere near $10,000. That said, the price increased 8,723% in 2013, so it’s entirely possible that this could happen again this year.




Man Uses Bitcoin to Buy a Piece of Paradise in Nicaragua

 | Published on January 2, 2014 at 11:51 GMT | LifestyleNews
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Many people dream of quitting their job, collecting their bags and jetting off to a tropical paradise forever. Many people dream, but few people act. Gregory Simon is one of the few who decided to act.
This year he moved to Nicaragua and bought a 0.3-acre plot of land with bitcoin.
Just minutes from the beach in an area of San Juan del Sur called Paradise Bay, he’s hoping to build a home there with his girlfriend.
“By using BTC we were able to complete the transaction quickly with no need to involve banks or other third party intermediaries. I don’t know yet what the house design will be, my girlfriend and I will be designing it together in the coming months,” he told CoinDesk.
A former banker, Simon first travelled to Nicaragua in mid-October after quitting his job in institutional equity at the end of 2012.
“The current banking system is beyond immoral. It takes advantage of the most helpless and poor people on earth,” he said, explaining why he left banking after a 12-year-career.
One of the decisions he made when he left his job was to buy some bitcoin. On his blog he wrote that it has the potential to bring about “less wars, less government dependency, smaller governments, more liberty”.
“I believe bitcoin has the potential to revolutionize the money industry to a degree few people to date fully understand,” he said.
In order to buy land using bitcoin, Simon needed to persuade his seller to play ball. In this case, it was his realtor Sean Dennis from Nica Life Realty. Simon said:
“He showed us a number of land lots around town and during the time we spent together, Sean and I began to talk about bitcoin. He quickly showed interest and I proposed to him the idea of transacting the purchase of the lot in BTC instead of US dollars.”
On 3rd December he paid the deposit in bitcoin and then completed the rest of the transaction in the following weeks. He declined to say how much the land cost.
This won’t be the first time that someone had the idea of buying or selling land with bitcoin as a possible way of paying.
Former casino owner Jack Sommer is selling his luxurious Las Vegas mansion for $7.85m and he’ll take it all in bitcoin if you happen to be a bitcoin millionaire.
The 25,000 square-foot home is in a gated community, backs onto a golf course and even the staff quarters (yes, it has staff quarters) has a Jacuzzi.
For those of us with slightly more modest incomes, Canadian Taylor More’s home in Alberta would have been a more plausible option, listed back in March of this year as selling for CA$405,000 (US$382,616), with a discount for those paying with bitcoin.
More recently, another property in Alberta went on sale with bitcoin as a payment option. The CA$1m (US$944,733) property has four bedrooms and a private forest, according to the National Post.
For Gregory Simon, his new plot of land is an opportunity to build something new from scratch. He says that he’ll try to pay for the construction with bitcoin.
And when I ask, he confirms that “yes, it will have a pool”.


PayPal May be Planning Virtual ‘Tokens’ According to eBay Patent Proposal

 (@danielcawrey) | Published on January 2, 2014 at 13:59 GMT | AltcoinsNews,Technology
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A patent application by eBay, the parent of PayPal, may signal that the company is making plans for its own virtual currency.
The patent, which was applied for in summer 2012, is for something called a “gift token”. It appears that eBay may have designs on developing a new way to distribute monetary value within the digital realm.
“A gift can be given from a user of a payment provider to a gift recipient,” according to US patent application 20130339188, which was published on 19th December 2013.
“The recipient can be a member of the user’s family, a friend, or any other person or entity. The recipient can use the token to purchase a product using a checkout through the payment provider.”
It’s clear that eBay’s intention is to use the idea of gift tokens with PayPal, which has been the company’s payment arm since it was acquired in 2002 for $1.5bn.
The application states:
“A gift or payment instrument can be given from a user of a payment provider, such as PayPal, Inc.”
What’s interesting about the application is that the tokens may be designed for more ubiquitous use outside of PayPal, which could encourage wide adoption.
The patent application continues, saying that:
“The purchase can be made without requiring the user to create the user’s own payment provider account.”
Widespread payment adoption is likely a determinant as to whether a virtual currency will succeed or not.
An example of this would be the alternative decentralized virtual currency to bitcoin known as dogecoin, built off of litecoin’s source code. Dogecoin’s use as a tipping mechanism as well as its association with an internet meme has contributed to its rise in popularity over a short period of time.
PayPal president David Marcus has said that he believes that bitcoin is a part of the future of money. But according to him, the general public has an identity problem with bitcoin, commenting on the issue at LeWeb:
“People are confused. They think because it’s called cryptocurrency it’s a currency. I don’t think it is a currency. It’s a store of value, a distributed ledger.”
And in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article in December, Marcus was quoted saying that mobile was the future of payments for PayPal. The patent application could signify that PayPal expects virtual gift tokens to eventually replace the functionality of gift cards.
“Mobile is going to be at the center of your money and all the transactions you make,” Marcus said on Bloomberg TV.



Lebanon’s Central Bank Issues Bitcoin Warning

 | Published on January 2, 2014 at 10:08 GMT | AsiaNewsRegulation
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The Bank of Lebanon, the country’s central bank, has issued a bitcoin warning, the first such warning in the region. The warning was issued on 19th December 2013 and outlines a number of risks associated with digital currencies, many of which we are all too familiar with.
The Bank warns of several risks:
  • Transactions made through unregulated networks cannot be guaranteed and losses cannot be recovered.
  • Unauthorized and incorrect transactions using digital currencies are irreversible.
  • The highly speculative nature of digital currencies and the fact that they are not guaranteed by any central bank makes them very volatile.
  • Digital currencies can be used for criminal activities, including money laundering and terrorism.
Since Lebanon is in a rather tough neighbourhood, the terror warning makes sense, which can’t be said of similar warnings issued in many other jurisdictions.
The bank continued, stating that:
“As a result, and to avoid dangers and losses that might result from using e-money, the central bank of Lebanon warns against purchasing, keeping or using e-money.”
Although Lebanon tends to end up in the news for all the wrong reasons, the picturesque Middle Eastern country has a vibrant economy and an impressive banking system, with more than a hundred different banks.
With a huge diaspora in Europe and the US, Lebanon also gets billions in remittances every year. In 2012 the volume of remittances stood at $7.57bn and it was second only to Egypt in the MENA region. It was substantially higher than the inflow remittances to several much bigger countries like Syria, Algeria, Iraq and Jordan.
Remittances account for roughly one fifth of Lebanon’s nominal GDP. With that in mind it is easy to see why bankers may be anything but enthusiastic about the prospect of a cheaper, unregulated payment network competing with traditional wire transfers.
The notice points out that issuance and use of “e-money” is prohibited under a decree issued in 2000.
The notice is issued for financial institutions and exchange institutions, so it prohibits the use of bitcoin by financial institutions in the country. As for private citizens, the situation is not as clear.


Wall Street Analysts: Bitcoin Could Revolutionise the Non-Financial World Too

 | Published on January 2, 2014 at 17:15 GMT | LifestyleNews
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Bitcoin technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we buy and sell property, enforce legal documents and even place bets, according to a new report from financial services and investment firm Wedbush Securities.
The system of decentralized trust, meaning that there is no central authority, that underpins bitcoin could have applications beyond the payments world that is most commonly associated with the cryptocurrency, write the report’s authors Gil Luria and Aaron Turner. The report reads:
“We see the potential for bitcoin technology to digitize and decentralize trust. The implications of eliminating the need for centralized trust may go beyond payment networks to areas such as securities markets, sports gambling and even legal contracts.”
The report, titled  ‘Digitizing Trust: Leveraging the Bitcoin Protocol Beyond the “Coin”’, cites the Bitcoin Foundation’s October decision to allow meta data to be embedded in the blockchain as opening the door for people to “leverage the blockchain protocol in other ways beyond traditional financial transactions”.

Decentralized Trust

At its core, bitcoin is merely a way of recording transactions without the need for a central authority to confirm or verify those transactions.
The bitcoin protocol creates a digital ledger, called the “blockchain”, tracking each and every transaction on the network. That ledger is stored and updated not by a central bank, but by every single person who downloads the bitcoin software.
Therefore it is decentralized. Whenever a new transaction occurs, the record of that transaction propagates through the network and everyone updates their ledgers.
This distributed and decentralized system, backed by cryptography, does away with the need for trust in the “having to take someone’s word for it” sense – everything can be checked and verified digitally on the ledger.
(Of course, this is a simplified explanation and not the whole story. This videogives an in-depth view of the bitcoin protocol.)

Goodbye Lawyers

The bitcoin blockchain, for a long time, only contained data about transactions, but in October 2013 Bitcoin’s lead developer Gavin Andresen “reluctantly” allowed other data to be embedded into the blockchain. He said:
“The idea is to give people a way to do what they clearly want to do (associate extra data with a transaction that is secured by the blockchain), but do it in a responsible way that strikes a balance between ‘you can put whatever you want into the blockchain”’and ‘you will have to be tricky and inefficient to get your data in the blockchain’.”
So potentially, a person could store data about a legal contract there. Here’s how Gil Luria explains the concept:
“If the contract is in the blockchain and can be triggered by data feeds there is less need for lawyers, debt collectors etc. If the ownership and financing terms of a car is on the blockchain, and the car can only be started by the rightful owner, you don’t need debt collectors. The car will not let the driver operate it if they have not paid their car payment.”
The current bitcoin software only allows developers to add 80 bytes of other data to transactions, so the argument is less that bitcoin right now could become a system for enforcing legal documents, but rather that a bitcoin-esque system of decentralised trust could prove powerful in domains outside of traditional financial transactions.
“We believe the protocol will be leveraged beyond financial assets and fulfill the role of trusted intermediary in a variety of settings, including property, legal documents, escrow and sports betting,” write Luria and Turner in the report.

Regulation and investment in 2014

Investment from venture capitalists in bitcoin businesses really began to take off in 2013, with Coinbase raising $25mBitPay raising $2m and Circle raising $9m.
According to the report, this level of investment will continue in 2014, allowing new innovation in the bitcoin space and the creation of technologies that will make bitcoin truly accessible to the mainstream, just as the creation of web browsers opened up the internet to new audiences.
“VCs that are not currently involved are looking for ways not to miss the trend,” says Luria.
Standing in the way of innovation is the increasingly hostile regulatory environment. ChinaIndia and the United States have all taken steps to restrict and regulate the operation of bitcoin businesses.
“I think the regulatory environment is more set than it seems,” says Luria, warning against undue optimism that regulators will change tack in 2014.
But with the bitcoin market burgeoning – BitPay says it gets 400 new merchant requests a day and Wedbush’s report estimates over $200m was spent on bitcoin mining equipment in 2013 – it remains to be seen whether or not these countries are shooting themselves in the foot by clamping down on bitcoin.
“Innovation and innovators gravitate to the country with the most accommodating regulatory environment,” notes the Wedbush report.
And now, with the potential for bitcoin technology to change not only payments and money transfers but other legal arenas, the stakes have never been higher.


Zero Hedge.....



http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-02/guest-post-local-perceptions-and-bitcoins-future-singapore


Guest Post: Local Perceptions And Bitcoin's Future In Singapore

Tyler Durden's picture





Submitted by Keith Hilden, Squawkonomics
Squawk Walk Singapore: Local Perceptions and Bitcoin's Future in Singapore
I have just returned from a very enjoyable trip to Singapore, in which our goal was to determine the sentiments and level of knowledge people had about Bitcoin in order to better determine Bitcoin's future in Singapore. That journey took me to the pulsating central business district of a vibrant Singapore, traditional neighborhoods completely recast in the face of new immigration and rigorous central planning, and the newcomer immigrants and permanent residents where languages like Thai and Japanese punctuate the linguistic air of Singapore accentuated English. What we found out about Bitcoin sharply contrasted with that of what we learned about Bitcoin in Taiwan.

Bitcoin has a future here in Singapore, but it is a future that inevitably will be co-opted by central planning and control. The majority of locals who did not have the best sentiments regarding Bitcoin cited the lack of central control, ironically the reason in other countries why Bitcoin enjoyed its meteoric rise. Bitcoin is expected to be pilloried with payment gateways and other payment process implementation mechanisms to streamline the Bitcoin protocol into a fashion that the locals are familiarized to and prefer- a robust payment method with savings applications that is guaranteed by an actual organization against loss. Look no further than this lagging indicator, taken around the Promenade of the central business district overlooking the Marina Bay Sands casino, that Bitcoin's future in Singapore is a co-opted system run on the familiar rails of global multinational corporations.
Source: Squawkonomics
Bitcoin's culture in Singapore seems set in the trajectory of government involvement and control, far different than the cryptophile tech savvy liberty proponents calling for a much different future of decentralization, individualism, and confidence through peer-reviewed transaction confirmations. Indeed, it appears that Bitcoin is headed for a schism in how governments and populations in different countries wish to administer and implement Bitcoin in their own countries, resulting in strange family gatherings of statism and libertarianism driving Bitcoin's future across various countries in the world. The big picture is an unfolding dynamic of converging discordant forces of libertarianism and statism at the crux of a grand showdown, as the battle lines for control of Bitcoin are drawn in places like Singapore, Germany, and China.
Singaporeans we talked to seemed to prefer government control over Bitcoin due to their perception of government being able to control price fluctuations and guarantee against loss. However, when asked if they would accept an independent organization guaranteeing Bitcoin transactions, most of the Singaporeans we talked to would also be fine with that. Almost all Singaporeans we talked to were not satisfied with the current Wild West status quo they perceived as a downfall to Bitcoin's development.
Singaporeans we talked to as a whole expressed a rock-solid confidence in their government's ability to guarantee the financial system, banking system, and the stability in the Singapore dollar. Singaporeans also questioned the need for Bitcoin when there was a plentiful array of payment methods around Singapore. Very few Singaporeans saw Bitcoin in the light of an advantageous vehicle in which to store savings, and most cited volatile fluctuations in the Bitcoin price for that reason.
Singaporeans further were not clear what was backing Bitcoin and thus were not clear as to how Bitcoin's price could be so high. However, when the US came into conversation, the conversation veered many a times to the US money printing by Ben Bernanke, and the inflation and debt arising from that. Some of them had even likened Bitcoin to the US dollar, in the sense they felt nothing was backing either of them, and had no guarantee behind it. However, many Singaporeans spoke of US monetary and economic problems as if from a different part of the world that didn't impact them in the slightest.
In comparison between what we learned in Singapore and Taiwan:
#1 People in Singapore had a drastically lower concern about cyber security with Bitcoin than did people in Taiwan.
#2 People in Singapore trusted the government to guarantee the financial and monetary system much more than people in Taiwan did. No one in Taiwan explicitly said they didn't need Bitcoin due to confidence in their government.
#3 People in Singapore were at the same time more willing to try Bitcoin out, while people in Taiwan were much more conservative and cited the need to limit their exposure in Bitcoin and use it from arm's length.
#4 Knowledge about Bitcoin in Singapore was remarkably higher than it was in Taiwan.
And for a fascinating insight on how people in Taiwan view Bitcoin, check out our Squawk Walk Taipei from last week: