Technological Damnation #77 e-Currency

We started out our series with the Economic Damnation of Currency Strength, which, thanks to the recent unexpected fluctuations in certain global currencies, probably has you shaking in your boots. But if you think trying to manage real currency exchange is bad, just wait until you have to start using non-country based e-Currency, like Bitcoin.

Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer payment system released as open source software in 2009, allows users to transact without using an intermediary using a decentralized virtual currency (or crypto currency) which has a value defined by the global market based on the fact that it’s limited and once all of it has been “mined”, there are no more units. Because of its structure, new units cannot be issued on a whim (whereas a country can print as much money as it wants, at the risk of hyperinflation), and, as a result, it’s value can, and has, skyrocket(ed) over night.

For example, up until late 2013, Bitcoin’s value was negligible, at which point it skyrocketed to a value of over one hundred. It stayed there for almost a year until early 2014 when it skyrocketed up to a value of almost 1200, before, over the last year, crashing back down to about 200 (in US dollars). On January 18, 2013 it’s value was 15.70. On April 9, 2013 it was $230. On April 16, 2013 it was 68.36. On May 4, 2013 it stabilized around 112.90. It stayed there until around October 15 when it began to skyrocket to 1,147.25 on December 4, 2013 then it crashed back to 522.23 on December 18, 2013 returned to 940.10 on January 5, 2014 and since then has been on a downward fall until January 18, 2015 when it was 199.56.

As virtual / crypto currency is still in its infancy, shocks like this can be expected and can be much more devastating than the recent drop in the Ruble. And, even worse, now that many vendors are starting to accept crypto currency as payment from global consumers that trust the currency, they will be expecting to pay with the currency as well. And your organization will have to hedge against new crypto currencies, which might also include Litecoin and Darkcoin (as well as a dozen others), as well as existing currencies. The fun is just beginning.