Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bitcoin's plunge protection team


I see that the mainstream bloggers are starting to flog the bitcoin story, which means I'll be moving on to greener blogging pastures for the time being. I've had some great discussions in my last few posts with my commenters. As always, this blog is meant to be learning tool, both for me to absorb things from others and hopefully vice versa. In this post I'm going to discuss the idea of a plunge protection team made up of avid bitcoin collectors that could potentially anchors bitcoin's price and provide a degree of automatic stabilization.

In all my bitcoin posts I've been emphasizing that bitcoin lacks a fundamental, or intrinsic, value. Regular commenter Peter Surda disagrees, pointing out that despite their intangibility, virtual goods should not be seen as inferior to so-called real assets. I completely agree with him. 0s and 1s can be valuable. When I bandy around the term fundamental value, I'm not talking about physicality or solidity. What I'm referring to is an asset's non-monetary value.

The best way to think about non-monetary value is by reference its counterpart—monetary value. A good or asset has monetary value when a subset of the people who hold it do so solely for its moneyness, or its ability to be exchanged in the future. Perhaps these people are driven by a transactions motive. They plan to hold the asset for a day or a month before exchanging it on for another good. Alternatively they may be driven by the speculative motive. They intend to temporarily hold the asset, always with the goal of passing it on at a higher price. Transactors and speculators alike value their inventory of gold, cash, bitcoin, or whatever, for its ability to be exchanged, and not for any other reason.

Strip out an asset's monetary value, and you're left with the remainder: pure non-monetary value. This is the fundamental core of an asset, or its intrinsic value. One way to think about this is to imagine what would happen to an asset upon the sudden flight of all transactors and speculators from the market. The remaining holders of the asset will be those who value it on a purely fundamental basis. They have no intention of ever selling out of their position and are perfectly content to sit on their holdings and "consume" them.

I've made the claim that a bitcoin has no fundamental value because it's mere ledger space. If all the bitcoin speculators were to suddenly split, no one would be left to holding the bag. But doesn't this apply to other assets? Jon Matonis brings up the idea that central bank instruments could also be viewed as blank ledger space. Adam Love points to gold as a potential analogy.

Let's run through how other assets evolve when speculators and exchangers panic and bolt.

Stocks: When all speculators try to sell, a stock's price quickly plunges. Because the firm's earnings power hasn't changed, at some lower price the CFO realizes that capital should be directed to retiring the firm's own shares from the secondary market rather than investing in projects. At this price, the firm will buy up every share offered till all speculative selling is exhausted.

Central bank cash and reserves: If all transactors and speculators try to flee a currency then inflation emerges. To meet its inflation targets, a central bank will start to conduct massive open market sales. Blowfish-like, it sucks in all unwanted currency and reserves until panic-selling by transactors and speculators has subsided.

Gold: If all transactors and speculators try to sell their gold then its price collapses. Jewelers, dentists, and manufacturers begin to withdraw gold from the market at these advantageous prices because they can use the metal to displace more expensive alternative materials. All unwanted monetary gold will be removed into the inventories of jewelers, dentists, and manufactures, or into their finished product.

My incessant concern with a speculator-driven collapse in monetary value isn't just me being ornery. Any given asset faces a daily threat of liquidity flight. These sorts of runs can quickly become self fulfilling phenomena. If one speculator causes an asset's price to fall by selling it off, more speculators might bolt, thereby causing yet another fall in price, causing more speculator flight, ad infinitum. Similarly, as transactors make less use of an asset, that asset loses liquidity, causing transactors to use it even less, causing it to lose liquidity, and so on and so forth. The moneyness of an asset can quickly implode, blackhole-like.

Gold, stocks, and central bank reserves/cash all have fundamental mechanisms for ensuring that this sort of flight is dampened. In the case of bitcoin though, if transactors and speculators get spooked there is no central bank to suck bitcoin back in, nor a CFO to conduct buy backs, nor dentists or jewelers to re-purpose it for alternative uses. Bitcoin is 100% moneyness. Whenever a liquidity crisis hits, the only way for the bitcoin market to accommodate everyone's demand to sell is for the price of bitcoin to hit zero—all out implosion.

Commenter Arvicco points out that there is a non-monetary core at the heart of bitcoin. People value bitcoin as a collectible. Mike Sproul has also brought up this possibility, comparing bitcoin to baseball cards. In my first bitcoin post, I hypothesized that bitcoin might be an indicator of geek cred, a badge of sorts. Does bitcoin actually have a fundamental value? Let's assume for the moment that this view is right. This means that come the next liquidity crisis, bitcoin won't collapse to zero but will bottom out at whatever price so-called bitcoin collectors are willing (and able) to set. Just like jewelers and dentists act as safety valves in the gold market, cushioning panic-driven speculative declines in the gold price through their purchases, the bitcoin collector community will step in as buyer of last resort to ensure that BTC never falls to 0.

Who might these collectors be? They are bitcoin's true believers, the ones who have been there from the start (or wish they had). Out of pure admiration for bitcoin, they'd willingly buy it at any positive value, even though the rest of the world couldn't care less about bitcoin's unique properties. Collectors hold bitcoin  not because they plan to exchange it on for a better price, but as a permanent consumption good. These folks joins other rare birds like stamp collectors and crocheted doily collectors in setting the fundamental value of an item that the rest of the world neither understands nor values for its own sake.

This is different from the gold market. Jewelers, manufacturers, and dentists take gold out of the market during panics not because they collect the metal, nor because they're loyal to it. They do so because their profit and loss calculation tells them that it makes sense to do so.

I'm not able to appraise how big the core collector community is and how determined its member are, but I am skeptical of their ability to absorb a mass exodus of bitcoin speculators and transactors. After all, there's a tremendous amount of speculation in the market, surely far more speculators than transactors. So for now I'll remain a seller of bitcoin, since I'm worried about instability. But let's ignore my outlook. Here are some thoughts about bitcoin true believers as a potential plunge protection team.

First, there needs to be a lot of collectors if they're going to successfully anchor bitcoin's price against massive and inevitable monetary panics. They should be firm in their commitment to bitcoin. There needs to be a steady recruitment of new people to the collecting cause. A mythology is a great tool for inspiring collectors and potential collectors. The story of bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto or the techno-anarchist narratives of bitcoin-as-destroyer-of-government-money and liberator-of-society are powerful coordination devices. When bitcoin crashes $40 in ten minutes, it'll take waves of devoted believers to put in plunge protection buy orders. If Bitcoin's cultural motifs are sufficient to motivate the requisite desire to hold and consume bitcoin as collector's items, then perhaps a future liquidity panic won't cause bitcoin to implode.

Secondly, the bitcoin collector community should be selling into every bitcoin price rise so that they have the ammunition to reinforce plunge protection efforts when the market inevitably experiences a speculative run. By selling high, bitcoin collectors will have sufficient reserves of USD, pounds, yen etc to repurchase bitcoin from speculators when the latter eventually flee. Just as buying into falls should help halt plunges, the process of selling into a rise will have the side benefit of softening the rise, thereby reducing speculative excess.

There are a lot of interesting catch-22s here. Too much speculation is dangerous since a speculative buyer represents a future panic-seller for whom collectors will have to budget resources to purchase unwanted coin. But at the same time, as more collectors are drawn to the bitcoin mythology, they push prices up, attracting the very same speculative elements that threaten to destabilize bitcoin. Speculators, after all, love fast-moving unidirectional markets. Here's another irony. Even as the plunge protection team anchors bitcoin's price to the downside, in doing so it creates a Greenspan put of sorts, insuring speculators that they'll never lose more than a fixed amount of their capital. This only inspires more speculation. The last catch-22 is this. A plunge protection team of loyal collectors needs to keep a store of central bank media-of- exchange to repurchase bitcoin from fleeing speculators and prevent the zero value problem—but owning fiat instruments clashes with the whole anti-fiat mythology of bitcoin.

I'm skeptical of the ability of collectors to act as the necessary automatic stabilizer to counterbalance mass speculative exit. I'm not convinced that they can ensure that bitcoin will be around 10 years from now. I still think some sort of blockchain-style ledger will be in use 10 years from now, but it won't be the bitcoin ledger. But who knows, odder things have happened.


PS: Notice that I haven't used the word "money" once. I challenge commenters to avoid the word too. Trying to define something as money or not causes all sorts of distractions.

39 comments:

  1. Bitcoin allows the trade of a token anywhere in the world without a centralized third party. No need to sign up for an account, no way to counterfeit the transaction, double spend the token.

    Transactions without banks. If an organization (like a Bank, PayPal, Credit Card Company, Western Union, etc. etc.) is worth billions when all it really does on the Internet (ignoring the sometimes present credit angle) is facilitate transactions to the tune of 3 to 6 percent, and only between parties that the organization approves of (has accounts with), then...

    Why claim Bitcoin (which isn't just a number, but an entire ecosystem for digitally signed and encrypted transactions between ledgers anyone can set up for free) is worthless?

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    1. Because if bitcoin begins to suddenly lose value then the demand for bitcoin will fall. Since it has almost no non-monetary purpose, there's no demand for bitcoin for other purposes that can absorb the shock of a fire sale. This was JP's major point.

      I was going to comment that a potential non-monetary purpose of bitcoin is simply to avoid "the system," but if bitcoin is no longer suitable as a means of exchange then avoiding "the system" through the use of bitcoin becomes much more difficult, undermining this source of its demand as well.

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    2. Jonathan,

      as long as Bitcoin has a comparative advantage in transaction costs against fiat/gold, and a comparative liquidity advantage against other cryptocurrencies, the price fluctuations are irrelevant for its future. Your argument is akin to saying that if the price of the shares of Visa or Mastercard falls, people will stop using credit cards (not a complete analogy, I'm just trying to get my point through). The hard core Bitcoiners will just buy the bitcoins at a lower price from the panicking mainstream, and the entrepreneurs can continue building innovative services upon Bitcoin.

      Bitcoin already had a bubble in 2011 (and many other mini-bubbles which didn't even catch mainstream attention). Its price dropped by a factor of 15, from about 30 to about 2 USD/BTC within about 5 months. It didn't affect its usefulness as a medium of exchange, and as far as I know, no company went out of business due to this price (some went due to legal issues, hacks, incompetence, etc, but not due price fluctuations). Indeed, new services were being built and old services were getting better. While I expect the price of Bitcoin to wildly fluctuate until it reaches much higher levels of liquidity (which may be never, I admit), it's irrelevant. Well, not entirely, as the total market size affects the target segments (as Jon Matonis pointed out), but it just means Bitcoin will penetrate into different market segments and grow there.

      The combo inelastic money supply AND low transaction costs caught most of the Austrians off guard. They have so far assumed that in order to reduce transaction costs, you use money substitutes, and continue to hold this approach. Lawrence White being a somewhat underappreciated exception, in a 1984 paper he argued that this is an empirical issue. Jon Matonis and I have an experience working in the payments systems industry, so maybe that's why we see things differently.

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    3. Yep, Jonathon's got it. This is all about stress-testing. A fire sale, or liquidity run, is the ultimate shock to an asset's existence. Not all assets survive liquidity shocks. [For instance, the entire Canadian asset-backed commercial paper died in 2008].

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    4. JP,

      I don't deny that there can't be a demand shock. What I'm pointing out is that the transaction service is a profitable business, does not depend on the absence of price fluctuations, and this simultaneously creates demand for Bitcoin. It's kind of like saying that the internet is only virtual and can collapse due to a lack of demand when the network effect dies out.

      But what would replace it? What would replace internet? What would replace Bitcoin? If there isn't a candidate, why should then the network effect collapse once it has already crossed the critical mass? To me, the argument makes no sense.

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    5. Fiat currencies are an obvious alternative to bitcoin, and fiat currencies currently are not in horrible shape, whatever fiat currency "haters" might think.

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    6. I'll add that if bitcoin goes through a fire sale then transaction costs related to it rise. (But, I'm not arguing that a fire sale is likely. I really don't know.)

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    7. Jonathan,

      if fiat currencies were an alternative to Bitcoin, then Bitcoin wouldn't have existed in the first place. Check your premises. All the comparative disadvantages that fiat had 4 years ago still persists, if anything they have gotten even worse (Cyprus, QE, banking regulations, leaks of offshore bank details, ...). The argument that fiat is an alternative to Bitcoin is not supported by empirical evidence.

      Transaction costs in broader sense might decrease if liquidity decreases, but there is no need for liquidity to sink significantly even during a "fire sale". And transaction costs in narrower sense don't even have to decrease as long as there are day traders and service providers. They don't mind a falling price trend. I made a profit through arbitrage trading in summer 2011 while the price of Bitcoin sank from about 20 to about 6. We already have empirical counterevidence, there were 5 months of falling prices (by a factor of 15), while the Bitcoin ecosystem expanded. It's kind of a reverse of the deflationary spiral nonsense, just like a falling price level can still be beneficial and stimulating of investment, a falling price of a medium of exchange (which is not a unit of account) can also be stimulating for investment.

      The businesses that profit from providing Bitcoin services would benefit from creating bid walls directly, plus it provides them with a potential additional (speculation) profit if the price goes up again. I've heard many Bitcoin supportes say that if the price drops, they will buy out all they can. I'm thinking about doing the same. Honestly I find it absurd to claim that entrepreneurs will forego profit opportunities and users will forego savings opportunities just because clueless bloggers lack imagination and the media hype causes a bubble. It's like claiming that the internet will collapse (because it's purely virtual) and be replaced by the post office, library and fax machine when facing the dot com bubble at the end of 90s. It makes no sense whatsoever.

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    8. Peter,

      Bitcoin and fiat currencies are obviously alternatives to each other. The point is that if the desirability of bitcoin falls, then people will switch to substitutes (i.e. fiat currencies). I'm not doubting that bitcoin has a lot of positive attributes. I don't think anybody here is. The question is what happens if bitcoin is unstable and there's a fire sale.

      On the transaction costs point, if there's a fire sale then the demand for bitcoin falls. If the demand for bitcoin falls then less people are willing to sell their goods in exchange for bitcoin. The profitable opportunities linked to bitcoin fall. This directly affects the "moneyness" of bitcoin. And this wouldn't entail falling prices (in terms of bitcoin), it would entail rising prices (the value of bitcoin falls).

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    9. Jonathan,

      in a way, you are right, but also wrong. On some level, all media of exchange substitute for each other's functionality, derived from their liquidity. But it does not follow that a drop of price causes a shift in all market segments to the same extent. This is one of my other criticisms of most Austrian approaches, in that they lump all the demand for a media of exchange into one aggregate variable (Menger is underappreciated in his work explaining the the variety of factors influencing the choice). You get confused with the price fluctuations and think that it's somehow relevant for the future of Bitcoin. It isn't. You do not distinguish the price movements on the exchanges with people using Bitcoin for transaction purposes. Again, empirical data contradicts your claim. Why do you keep repeating your argument if it is contradicted by empirical data? It's like saying that GPS can't work because the earth is flat.

      If the price of Bitcoin drops, for example, the fees paypal charges don't drop simultaneously, so there is no reason for people who use Bitcoin for transactional purposes to switch to fiat. Chargeback fraud won't decrease, SWIFT won't get faster or cheaper, payment systems regulation won't soften, third world countries won't get access to global financial markets, central banks are not going to stop printing money, too-big-to-jail banksters are not going to get jailed, overleveraged banks won't suddenly become healthy, the tragedy of the Euro won't vanish.

      It's absurd, Jonathan. Repeating it won't make the absurdity go away. For the foreseeable future, Bitcoin (or something like it) is here to stay, just like the internet is here to stay. It might change, it might fluctuate, there might be hype cycles, but it's not going away. The future is here, and it works.

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    10. Jonathan,

      one more point. I do not know any company involved in Bitcoin service provision that failed due to a price drop. Many failed, but it was for other factors, such as regulatory issues, stupid management, hacks, contractual problems and so on.

      Again, your argument is contradicted by empirical evidence.

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  2. I haven't read the post yet, it was just pointed out to me that the link behind my name makes no sense (and I agree). Pls fix.

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  3. I would add that there isn't a natural liability created for bitcoin, since i pay taxes in something(USD, GBP, EUR) i create a natural demand for that currency to pay my taxes. No natural liability means that no one has a necessity for that item, it's value is entirely a finger in the air with nothing to substantiate it.

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    1. Thanks to a recent integration effort of egovlink, a public sector IT service provider, you can now (or soon) pay municipal taxes, levies and other fees with Bitcoin. Argument refuted.

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    2. LOL didn't think cincinatti was at the 'cutting edge' of technology but i see the service you are referring to. I think you are missing the point of the argument.. and is it states in the egovlink press release
      "Local governments who offer online payments can now provide their citizens with another choice of payment method. Integration with a backend payment processor provides the municipality with US Dollars that they expect."
      So the payment made is actually in USD not bitcoin they just provide the mechanism to convert the bitcoin back into USD which is actually what is demanded by the muni in this case. The liability stands in USD's not in bitcoin, again... there is no natural liability therefore there is no natural buyer.

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    3. You're missing the point that the distinction about the final means of payment does not matter for the argument. It's like saying that if the municipality accepts cash and therefore can benefit from a cash register, this does not create demand for cash registers and the producers of cash registers cannot survive. You're making up implicit assumptions.

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    4. Yep, that's the chartal perspective. Taxes can drive an asset's value, or at least give it a premium.

      Mind you, gold and stocks aren't acceptable for discharging tax obligations, so by your definition these are also "fingers in the air".

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  4. The bitcoin network (with its exponentially improved efficiency in forex-like transactions) could be considered to have intrinsic value albeit primarily to transactors. The glitch in your argument lies in restricting the definition of 'transactors' to only those currently using bitcoin. The source of the bitcoin network's plunge protection is rapidly shifting towards, and becoming inherent (intrinsic to) the broader forex transactor community.

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  5. "Non-Monetary value" = "what the good would be worth if you were never allowed to sell it again".

    I think this is a good start. But it isn't exactly right. It works fine for cars, because you will probably outlive the car. But it doesn't work too well for houses, because houses will probably outlive you.

    I've been thinking about this on and off for the last couple of years, but haven't yet come up with a satisfactory solution.

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    1. Nick, we discussed the idea of imposing a never-sell condition in an old post of yours.

      Say someone came to you with a deal that you could buy a house but never sell it, and your children could never sell it, and your children's children etc etc. In in appraising this deal, you're forced to consider the pure non-monetary value of a house.

      You'd be willing to pay the seller a large fee to lift these restrictions. It would be like buying an option. The price you'd be willing to bid for this option would equate to your appraisal of the house's monetary value. It would be the cost of restoring full monetary optionality to the house.

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    2. JP: Yep. And the value of that option, as a percentage of the full price, is a neat way to define/measure the liquidity/moneyness of an asset.

      Neat, but still flawed, I think. If people lived forever I think it would work fine. But when it comes to a very long-lived asset, like a house, it would depend on whether or not I had kids, and whether or not I planned to make them a bequest. The house, sans option to sell, would be worth a lot less to someone who didn't have kids or who had kids but wasn't planning a bequest.

      I can't quite get my head straight on this.

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    3. BTW: Here's my very old post on this measure/definition of "liquidity". There's a good discussion in the comments.
      http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2009/03/liquidity-and-risk.html

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    4. A Nick Rowe classic. I didn't participate, but two years ago I read through both the post and all the comments. I remember liking Bob's comments, can't remember why.

      Why not price the monetary optionality of a house for a fixed term rather than a lifetime? If a young house buyer is presented with a house that they can't sell for the first 10 years, then the price they'd be willing to pay to have that restriction eased is the 10 year moneyness rate. There could be a range of terms, 1, 5, 15 year etc, so that you'd get something like a yield curve, except it would be a moneyness curve.

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    5. Neat idea. I think that might resolve the problem, as well as make the concept richer.

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    6. Cool. Stay tuned... I've been planning on writing a post this month describing the "moneyness curve" of stocks (equities) to complement this old post. Tough to put into words, though.

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    7. Consider a bond that promises 105 loaves of bread in 1 year. At R=5%, that bond is worth 100 loaves today, and that would be pure non-monetary value.

      Now think of two things that might cause that bond to sell at a premium price of 101 loaves today: (1) People start using the bonds as money, or (2) people start thinking that a greater fool will soon pay 102 for the bond.

      The premium price of 101 creates arbitrage opportunities for short sellers. They can (1) borrow the bond today, promising to return either the bond or else 105 loaves in 1 year, (This promise is usable as money, and therefore reduces the monetary demand for the bond.) (2) sell the bond today for 101, (3) set aside 1 loaf (This is his arbitrage profit.), (4) lend the 100 loaves at 5%.

      After 1 year, the short seller will get back 105 loaves from his loan, and he will pay those 105 loaves to the lender of the bond, thus closing his position and keeping his profit of 1 loaf.

      This threat of short selling should prevent any premium developing. If the bonds' use as money causes them to sell for a premium, then short sellers will profit as their own promises start to be used as a rival money. If one thinks that the expectation of future price rises causes the bonds to sell for a premium, then one also must admit that the expectation of future price drops must eliminate that premium.

      Conclusion: Bitcoin is not valued for moneyness or for expected future price rises. It could, however, be valued as a collector's item, like baseball cards.

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    8. "then short sellers will profit as their own promises start to be used as a rival money."

      Don't you mean "if" their own promises start to be used as a rival money? If they don't start to be used as a rival (say physical/technical limitations impair the exchangeability of promises) then what happens?

      There's actually a market for Bitcoin denominated IOUs. It's called Ripple. The last time I checked, there were around $10,000 or $20,000 worth of IOUs issued. The total value of bitcoin is around $1 billion. As far as I know, these Ripple IOUs are not fractional... they're 100% backed by actual bitcoin. What do you think?

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    9. If the IOU's are 100% backed by bitcoin, then their issuers are not short in bitcoin. As they issue 1 IOU they add to the "bitcoin supply", but they offset this by holding 1 actual bitcoin.

      There are complications galore when short selling is difficult, but how hard is it to short bitcoin? All I have to do is say "I promise to deliver 1 bitcoin for a payment of $100", and I'm short 1 bitcoin. If 1 computer whiz was able to get bitcoin off the ground in the first place, some other whiz would be able to get bitcoin IOU's off the ground.

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    10. It's not bitcoin shorting per se that is difficult. It's the marketability of the bitcoin IOU created from the short that is currently lacking. If I'm understanding you properly, the marketability of an IOU is key to your story because that's what gets an IOU to substitute for bitcoin monetary demand, causing its price to fall.

      In the interim between some compute whiz getting a marketable IOU system to work and that system becoming popular, couldn't bitcoin be valued for its speculative appeal and moneyness? Is this a short vs long run distinction?

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    11. You might be right about that interim period. Centuries ago it was hard to short gold, so people held a lot of it as money, and this would have given it a moneyness premium. The same might be true of bitcoin. On the other hand, people traded with IOU's and other commodities long before they started to trade with gold, so that makes me think that gold's moneyness premium must have been small (same for bitcoin). Today that gold premium seems negligible, since people don't use actual gold as money at all. On the other hand, central banks still hold a lot of it. On the other hand, that might be a historical artifact of no importance. See what I mean about 'complications galore'?

      So when I think of the possible reasons for bitcoin's value (1) curio value (2) 'greater fool' value, and (3) moneyness value, it's only (1) that doesn't lead to all kinds of logical difficulties.

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  6. “Opensource tradebot to guard Bitcoin against speculation (and hyperdeflation)”

    https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=168074

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  7. I think there are two elements that could work as an anchor for bitcoin value:

    1. It will be increasingly difficult to convert big amounts of bitcoin back to fiat money. If you sell more than a million $, you will need to explain tax man where did you get them from. And probably saying I made them trading bitcoin will not be enough, otherwise drug dealers could do the same. So, as price rises a bigger amount of value will be captive in the bitcoin economy. Regulation or even pohibition of bitcoin will only accentuate this effect.

    2. Trading volume is a small percentage of total market cap. So as price rises there will be an increasing amount of people with a good incentive to prevent price from plunging. If cartels like the OPEC can keep petroleum price high, why wouldn't mega-rich early adopters be able to do the same. It is enough that a few in the top thousand are caring enough of their wealth and place big buy orders. And bitcoin prices will never be able to go down too far. It is a question of incentives and power. The people who has the money power has an incentive to avoid price to colapse.

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    1. "So, as price rises a bigger amount of value will be captive in the bitcoin economy."

      Interesting theory. I get your point that people would be worried about taking out bitcoin via the banking system, since that is traceable.

      But they could always escape through the bitcoin-to-paper-cash OTC market. Just set up a rendezvous with a buyer in a Walmart parking lot and get a suitcase of cash for you bitcoin.

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    2. In that case you wouldn't move market price.

      Not to say that having that much cash out of the system entails big disadvantages, it is much more difficult to invest it and if you don't do so, you are fully exposed to inflation.

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  8. I just realised there is something else that could work as an anchor for bitcoin value in the same way industrial demand is an anchor for gold. This is colored coins (www.bitcoinx.org).

    I will not be surprised if in the near future we see an explosion of IPOs based on colored coins, issuing coins with a value greater than the bitcoin fraction itself and creating an additional and permanent demand for bitcoins.

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  10. “Because if bitcoin begins to suddenly lose value then the demand for bitcoin will fall.” - I don’t think that’s a reasonable argument why we should claim bitcoin as worthless. Let’s take the Mt. Gox issue as an example. When this bitcoin exchange site collapsed, bitcoin’s value dropped to $100; however, it didn’t stop people and businesses from adopting bitcoin. The number of people accepting bitcoin continues to rise after the issue. Read more here: http://bitcoindaily.com/businesses-accepting-bitcoin-continue-to-rise/

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