Bitcoin: Regrets, Triumphs, Going for the Gold, and Bank of America Takes Notice

Bitcoin: hasn’t crashed yet
(though below 1,000 as I write)! A roundup of some interesting
recent tidbits from that world.

•One of the big undertold, and by the nature of it will likely
remain undertold since the potential subjects of those stories have
every incentive to keep it to themselves, tales of the Bitcoin boom
are specific details of the specific visionary liberty and tech
types who found their belief in an agorist free future paying off
in literal millions for literal half hours of effort.

But Vocativ
has a nice profile
of early adopted and Bitinstant entrpreneur
Charlie Shrem, who without details admits he’s a millionaire now.

Many Bitcoiners are fervent libertarians: They believe that
because Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, the government can’t
touch it. Shrem tells me he stays away from all that “libertarian
stuff”—and yet his world view is pretty starkly libertarian.

“I don’t care about politics,” Shrem says. “I don’t care for the
Fed—I mean, I do. It sucks. I hate our current monetary policy, and
I hate our current fiscal policy. I think that technology can
change the world, and that technology will trump whatever the
government says.”

Shrem, who is also the vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation,
a nonprofit that spreads the word about Bitcoin, plans to
re-launch his site in the next few weeks. In the meantime, he’s
enjoying life—and his fat stockpile of Bitcoin.

“A lot of what I do is making deals, closing deals, getting
people to like me. It’s impressing people. I have to take a lot of
people out to clubs, buying bottles, buying dinners. BitInstant is
my day job. Bitcoin is my life. I drink for free, I eat for free.
It’s a good life so far.”

•What did lots of Bitcoin holders spend their Bitcoins on on
Black Friday?
According to

Business Insider
$900,000 in BitCoin value was spent at
one gold and silver exchange, Amagi Metals, over Thanksgiving

Forbes reports
 Bank of America is now “the first major
financial institution to initiate analyst coverage of Bitcoin” and
“declared a maximum fair value of $1,300.”

reports on homeless men
 (and they aren’t alone) who regret
spending any of their Bitcoin on food now that they realized if
they’d saved it it would be far, far more valuable now.

Between April and September, while living on the streets of
Pensacola, Florida, they
used their laptops and smartphones to collect a total of about four
or five bitcoins
. Some of it arrived through donations. Some of
it came from rather unsophisticated online services that dole out
tiny fractions of the digital currency if you spend some time
looking at videos and ads. And over the course of the summer, this
free money bought them a pretty steady supply of pizza and chicken

Today, after finding a house they can rent with a little help
from the government, the trio is off the streets, and life is even
better than it was before — except that a bitcoin is now
worth over
. “The $600 we spent would now be worth $6,000,” says
Angle. “I wish we had gone hungry.”

His buddy Kantola feels much the same way. “We’re definitely
kicking ourselves. We spent $5,000 or $6,000 on food!” he says.
“Back in 2009, you could have bought four bitcoins for a dollar. If
I could go back [and buy some then], I wouldn’t be here right now.
I’d probably be in a mansion.”

I wrote less than three weeks ago with
some perspective on zooming Bitcoin prices
when they had just
topped $500–yes, less than three weeks ago. Jerry Brito wrote for
Reason in our December issue on the many
uses of Bitcoin protocols
for a wonderful human future.

from Hit & Run

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