2013-02-13

Bitcoin matters, folks. A lot!

Greetings everyone.

It's been a while since I've posted here. Six months ago I suddenly tired of what Facebook had become and decided to re-evaluate Twitter. In the process, I'm sorry to say, I abandoned this blog ... and you too for a while.

Well, recent encounters with the worlds of finance, parcel post, banking and service industries in general have drawn me back to you. I'm furious, frustrated, and looking forward to your comments.

Two weeks ago, for the first time in decades, I needed to receive and send some money to two distant acquaintances. My bank insisted their 'wire transfer' service would meet my needs. For fees between $25.00 and $47.50 they could deliver the money within three days. They said.

Now, understand, I'm not talking about shipping actual physical currency here. No dollar bills, no metal coins, no gold bullion or anything like that. Just electrons. Bits and bytes traveling as electronic pulses at the speed of light over satellites and fiber optic cables.

Three days!

Now get this. The incoming wire to me, originally sent on December 28th, 2012 for $500, ended up as only $429.75. That was due to $70.25 in intermediary correspondent banking fees. But in addition to that, the process gobbled up two and a half working days of my time chasing the transaction after my bank 'lost it' in a manual sorting queue, following which it took a total of 46 days to arrive!

The outgoing transfer did get to its destination within 48 hours as promised, but it also cost an outrageous $47.75 in fees and I wasted an hour and sixteen minutes standing at a teller window in my local bank before bank staff figured out how to complete the task using their slow-as-mollasses-in-February computer systems.

Now get this.

Yesterday, without leaving my home even for a moment, without even getting dressed, I sent $ 273.87 to a business colleague in San Diego California. The transfer took me 47 seconds. My colleague acknowledged receipt in two minutes and fourteen seconds. And the total cost was ZERO! Nada! Zip. Nothing. I didn't even have to convert from CAD to USD.

How did I do it? One word: *Bitcoin* !

Now if you can give me one good reason why banks, credit cards, PayPal and Western Union shouldn't be scared shitless of this stuff, I'll give you an ear full of reasons why Amazon, eBay, Craigslist and Ottawa's Metro Glebe grocery store should start accepting Bitcoin as one of their favourite payment methods.

3 comments:

  1. What is the total value over the past three months of bitcoin transactions expressed in U.S. dollars?

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    1. It is still paltry as a percentage of international capital flows, likely only in the hundreds of millions, not billions yet, a point Jon Matonis also made to me a few weeks ago. But allow me two counter thoughts: (a) the rate of growth might be more significant right now than the nominal number; and (b) the significance during the early stages of such a disruptive technology lies more in its concept and architecture than in its initial volume. My point in the anecdotes above is that, whether Bitcoin or some eventual successor, a whole new paradigm is emerging for interpersonal exchanges of value that will be at least as precedent shatering for finance as e-mail was for the Post Office, or Amazon has been for book stores.

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  2. As of yesterday, (2013-03-28) volume reached then exceeded the $1 Billion threshold. This is the point at which several analysts predicted the more conventional financial press would become interested.

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