By nature I’ve never been a bandwagon jumper. Try and breathlessly sell me a shiny new thing that you claim is about to change the world and I’ll generally take a pass. Decades of experience have shown me that good things generally come around at least twice if they have any real lasting value. I suppose you could call me a traditionalist in that sense.
Maybe it’s that personality trait of mine that’s kept me away from the subject of Bitcoin to date. I’ve been hearing a steady drip-drip-drip of news about the digital currency from various sources for a couple of years now and even seen that symbol at some stores – at first I thought the Euro must’ve had a makeover! – but I’ve been keeping it almost deliberately off my radar up until recently.
That’s starting to change in the last couple of weeks though and it’s primarily the New York Times that’s got me really starting to consider it seriously.
The first article I came across was a lengthy piece in the magazine section about how Bitcoin is taking off in a serious way south of border in Argentina. It’s a fascinating piece, showing how a genuinely dysfunctional economy and banking system is pretty vulnerable to disruption and new ways of doing business.
Pondering the implications of that got me wondering just how healthy our own banking system and wider economy is. Ok, there’s been something of a bounce back there since the dog days of 2008 but I remain skeptical about aspects of that recovery.
It was with those gloomy thoughts on my mind that I came across the second piece in the Times, news of Goldman Sachs taking a serious bite of the Bitcoin pie. As I read this, I really started to sit up and take notice.
Say what you will about them but the boys over at Goldman are not known for being slow to pick up on an opportunity. I began wondering, if it’s worth their time and attention then maybe there really is something there beyond the wild-eyed dreams of the techno-utopians.
It’s still early days in my research but I’m beginning to sense some interesting opportunities. A lifetime of dealing with banks both personally and in a corporate capacity has not exactly left me consistently blown away by their performance. The promise of an alternative system is an alluring one.
What about you? Does anyone have real commercial experience dipping a toe in these waters?