News / Economy

    Questions Surround Bitcoin Future

    Questions Surround Bitcoin Futurei
    X
    February 28, 2014 12:09 AM
    There are troubling questions about the future of the digital currency known as Bitcoin. The value of the virtual currency has fluctuated wildly in recent months - plummeting from an all-time high of $1,100 last December to just under $600 today. The latest worry comes after the sudden closure of one of the largest bitcoin exchanges this week. Mil Arcega has more.
    There are troubling questions about the future of the digital currency known as Bitcoin.  The value of the virtual currency has fluctuated wildly in recent months - plummeting from an all-time high of $1,100 last December to just under $600 today.  The latest worry comes after the sudden closure of one of the largest bitcoin exchanges this week.  

    Is Bitcoin dead?  That’s a question many investors are asking after the abrupt closure of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, one of the largest bitcoin exchange sites.  

    Currency trader Kolin Burges flew in from London to get answers, when he found himself locked out of his own account.

    “I had 311 bitcoins in there, which at the time was worth around $300,000.  So it looks like that has disappeared," said Burges.

    No one really knows why the bitcoin broker shut down.  But economics professor Arun Sundararajan says signs point to a security flaw.  

    “It seems to have been a security breach more than anything else where a lot of the bitcoin was stolen by hackers.  And as a consequence, Mt. Gox had to stop trading.  And of course this has sort of lowered the value of the bitcoin traded at Mt. Gox considerably," said Sundararajan.

    Former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles declined to answer questions.  He resigned earlier this month.  But Karpeles has never shied from talking about the risks involved.

    Here’s what he told the Reuters news organization last year.

    “Bitcoin would quite qualify as a high risk investment.  If you buy bitcoins you should buy keeping in mind that the value could be zero the day after," said Karpeles.

    Although the recent cyber problems may have damaged public confidence, Bitcoin enthusiasts say that's because many still see virtual currency as a commodity.  Bitcoin miner Erick Watson spoke to VOA via Skype.

    “I would encourage people not to speculate on Bitcoin as a store of value.  I would encourage them to look for opportunities to employ Bitcoin as means of transacting," said Watson.

    Despite its slow adoption rate, Watson says Bitcoin is far from dead.  In fact, he sees a bright future ahead for Bitcoin and other virtual currencies as consumers discover practical advantages for private transactions.  

    “We’ll continue to creep along as businesses adapt Bitcoin rather slowly, and then we’ll hit some inflection point in the relatively near future, beyond which people will really begin to adopt it heavily," he said.

    That may happen sooner not later.  On February 28th - the first bitcoin counter opens in Hong Kong allowing people to buy the virtual currency without going online.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8769
    JPY
    USD
    107.28
    GBP
    USD
    0.6842
    CAD
    USD
    1.2528
    INR
    USD
    66.384

    Rates may not be current.