Tuesday, July 29, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Bitcoins offer interesting conundrum

stevenson column sig

By
From page B7 | January 19, 2014 |

I’m trying to remember; isn’t there some kind of athletic event on television later today? Oh, I know – it’s figure skating at 1 p.m. After all, wouldn’t most guys around here rather watch figure skating than the 49ers in a playoff game against the Seagulls, which is what a friend called them? I hope you’re reading this early enough in the day so you won’t be distracted by the game.

Now that I – hopefully – have your attention, let me talk about one of the strangest financial “ideas” I’ve ever heard.

If the classic book on the world of crazy investment bubbles that ended in disaster were being written today, this would be Chapter One. The book is “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,” which describes such feeding frenzies as the Dutch Tulip Bulb Scandal and the South Mississippi land wipeout of the 1700s. The current issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek makes it a cover story, titled “Bitcoin Dreams.” It has a subtitle that asks, “Why are investors so crazy for an alternative currency invented by a phantom?”

If you’ve heard, or read, about Bitcoins, you’re either as amazed as I am, or, perhaps, wondering how you can get in on the action.

Let me relate the BusinessWeek explanation of Bitcoins to give you a better idea of what they’re all about: “Bitcoin is the digital currency that thrills nerds, inspires libertarians, and incites the passions of economists who debate the value of maniac money made from nothing but ones and zeroes.”

Well, you might ask, who issues and stands behind this new currency? For starters, Bitcoins are not a physical currency, like the dimes and dollars we are used to. If you’re not a technology type, you might wonder how a “currency” that exists only on the Internet can be accepted as if it were a good old $10 bill.

So, is Bitcoin actually used to buy and sell goods and services? Surprisingly, yes. According to BusinessWeek, “It’s accepted as payment by online dating service OKCupid, at a café in the Netherlands, and by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.”

There are many questions about Bitcoin, such as:

  • Are they really serious?
  • Can you exchange them, if needed, for old-fashioned dollars and cents?
  • What are they ‘worth’?
  • Who invented them?

Yes, tech nerds are deadly serious, some devoting their waking hours to “mining” for Bitcoins on their powerful computers. They can be exchanged for greenbacks, to use an outmoded term, if you can find someone willing to take them. As for what they are worth, volatility is the operative word. The so-called value of a Bitcoin climbed from $100 last July to $1,000 in January.

If you have time on your hands, you can “mine” Bitcoins on your own computer if it has enough power. But, no matter if you mine Bitcoins and enter the world of regular users, it’s unlikely you’ll ever find out who “invented” them, or even from what country they spread.

Who knows, maybe Bitcoins are here to stay, but, if any of you owes me 20 bucks because you bet against me on the 49ers-Seahawks game, don’t try to pay me in Bitcoins.

Hmmm, maybe between this morning and the 3:30 p.m. kickoff in Seattle I can mine a few thousand dollars worth and bet on the 49ers. And Seattle, Then, I’ll win either way. Do let me know, however, if you’ve successfully mined enough Bitcoins to buy a new car, and found a local dealer to accept them.

Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at Bsteven254@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Weather for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 14 Comments | Gallery

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

.

US / World

 
Sacramento Gold Rush Days canceled due to drought

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Annoying minor floods are increasing on US coasts

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Man charged in teen’s 9-month disappearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Deal to improve veterans’ health care costs $17B

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
New fears about Ebola spread after plane scare

By The Associated Press | From Page:

In Iraq’s Mosul, radicals unleash their vision

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Fighting in Ukraine prompts residents to flee

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Witnesses: Thunderstorm hit beach without warning

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Suspect’s mom also charged in Long Beach burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
City: Emails show ‘cozy’ ties of PG&E, regulator

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Pool water dumped in South Tahoe; resort fires 3

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Additional charge filed in California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page:

California governor takes dig at Texas guard plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for July 29, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
 
.

Living

Horoscopes for July 29, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Today in History for July 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

I don’t want to have intimate contact since learning I had a STD

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page:

 
Community Calendar: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

.

Entertainment

Kevin Bacon brings his ‘Six Degrees’ to Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

 
TVGrid July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Giants lose 5th straight, 5-0 to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
 
Lakers finally confirm Byron Scott is new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders relying on healthy Watson to solidify line

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
This date in sports history for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Quarterback Johnny Manziel’s day at Browns camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Judge OKs record-setting $2B sale of Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Humphrey to savor Hall of Fame day with ‘wingman’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rays’ Archer: ‘Never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Reed HOF induction gives Bills cause to celebrate

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

In the Pits: Gordon eyeing 5th title after big Brickyard win

By Jenna Fryer | From Page: | Gallery

 
Marketing agreement an obstacle in US bid for 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sailors to navigate dirty water in 1st Rio test

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Manningham back with Giants, with no guarantees

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Business

Contracts to buy US homes slip in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Stocks pause as traders await key economic news

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Zillow buying Trulia to build real estate titan

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Dollar Tree steps up fight, buys Family Dollar

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Peanuts July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Cryptoquote July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5