Much like many modern-day financial innovations, Bitcoin emerged from the gloom and confusion of the 2008, subprime mortgage collapse in the U.S. Like the quick house sale market and the now heavily regulated pay day loan industry, Bitcoin has survived both cynicism and controversy to cement its place in the modern financial marketplace. Known simply as a crypto-currency, it is now widely accepted as a form of payment and has even been implemented in a select few Vegas casino resorts.
Bitcoin as a Viable Currency
Back in 2008, three individuals (Neal Kin, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry) filed an application for an encryption patent application. This evolved into the world’s first viable crypto-currency, and in 2009 it was afforded an equivalent value in traditional currencies. The New Liberty Standard established the value of 1,309 Bitcoin units as being equal to a single American dollar, and this heralded the dawn of the first crypto-currency market a year later. By the end of 2010, the currency reached the $1 million mark (which was the estimated value of all units in circulation at that time). The value of Bitcoin subsequently surged, with a single unit being measured at $0.50 U.S. cents.
Bitcoin had reached parity with the dollar by the end of the following year, although it had also been the source of considerable controversy during this time. After a cyber-hack had underlined the susceptibility of the currency, an inter-governmental group began to investigate Bitcoin as a potential source of wealth for terrorist groups and criminals. Featuring heavily in an anti-money laundering report, Bitcoin began to attract unwanted attention and faced a potential crackdown from international governments.
Overcoming Adversity and the Present Day
Fast forward to 2015, and Bitcoin has largely overcome adversity and is beginning to establish itself as a reliable and popular currency. This is especially true in the UK, where HMRC has classified Bitcoin as an asset or source of private money, making it impervious to VAT levies. This represents the first progressive consideration of Bitcoin, suggesting that other nations in Europe will also alter their outlook on the worlds’ most dominant crypto-currency.
The currency continues to divide opinion in the U.S., despite the fact that it is currently being trialled in selected casinos and hotel establishments (as well as being a viable payment option on online casino games like roulette online). After all, the U.S. government auctioned off more than 29,000 Bitcoin units seized from the illegal, online marketplace in 2014, adding weight to the continued misunderstanding of the currency and its primary issues. Conversely, this has helped to promote Bitcoin as a legal and legitimate currency, as it no longer offers anonymity to those of a criminal mind-set thanks to its high profile.