The Collapse of Mt Gox and its Meaning for You

February 2014.

Mt Gox collapses.

It’s not a mountain.

Mountains don’t collapse.

The largest Bitcoin exchange in the world – gone.

What happened?

Hazy area.

If one reads through the company’s press releases, it seems they themselves are not sure. Or, they’re trying to cover up that they got hacked, big-time.

Company’s claiming a black-swan event. Software goes into a crazy loop. Transaction shows as failed. However, system releases Bitcoin. Do this over and over again. You’re down 750k Bitcoin. Half a billion dollars. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not buying it.

It’s probably not an inside job. Trail would’ve been too hot.

They’ve actually and probably gotten hacked. Possibly in the earlier days. Perhaps they tried to cover it up for the longest time, till it was no longer possible. There came a time then, it would seem, to throw in the towel and declare bankruptcy, coupled with the release of an unbelievable explanation.

Do the math. Conjecture.

We are down to conjecture, after an abominable event like this, where retail investors along with handlers, dealers and the works get fried.

For heaven’s sake.

Makes you rethink Bitcoin majorly.

Diversification is a safe thing. However, not at the cost of converting your computer into a big red flag.

There are two kinds of computers in the world. Those with Bitcoin or its cousins, and those without.

Currently, those with are targets.

There’s no better system of storing Bitcoin.

Banks aren’t taking it up systematically.

Dollar lobby is too strong.

It’s not letting Bitcoin settle.

Who was behind the possible hack?

You tell me.

Why would anyone sacrifice one’s sleep?

No tension, please.

We don’t wish to lose sleep over the fact that our computer might get hacked in the night. Also, will the cousin’s ever sort themselves out?

If criminals could hack Mt Gox, what are the chances of one’s desktop surviving?

Yeah, where does that leave you?

Till Bitcoin gets accepted more systematically, and till mainstream banks start storing it for you in their cyber-lockers, I’m afraid this leaves you off the Bitcoin demand-list.

Yeah, safety first.

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Am I Taking Bitcoin Seriously?

Yeah.

Bitcoin is a serious new kid on the block.

Am I getting into it? That’s the more important question, isn’t it?

Well, not yet.

First up, I know very little about it. I’m not going to get into something because of the smoke. Gone are the days.

So, I’m educating myself.

The Web tells me that Bitcoin is not alone. Numerous Crypto-currencies have emerged. Confusing.

Many of these have their main servers or their secondary addresses located in ex-Soviet / ex-iron-curtain nations. Intimidating. I’m afraid.

Then I look at the bid-ask spread for Bitcoin. There’s typically a 1% difference between buying and selling price. That is huge. In fact, it’s outrageous.

After that I look at the Bitcoin price vs time chart.  I can see the panic in the chart. I don’t like panic. I generally stay away from panic markets. If I’m entering a long-term market, I like entering on a solid base foundation. The panic dust hasn’t settled yet. Technical bases build after panic settles, and only if the underlying has long-term mettle. They’re visible on the chart as horizontal stretches. Not happening as yet on the Bitcoin price vs time chart. Means I’m not entering yet.

Then there’s this mining stuff. Like, virtual mining. I don’t understand it. Yet. Looks silly, off-hand. Could this be connected to currency-backing? Or, is this just a hype-creating gimmick that doesn’t make economic sense? I’m not sure, I tell myself.

Last point I’m making against current Bitcoin entry – theft and loss. If I store Bitcoin on my computer, it becomes a potential target. I don’t wish to have the 5 million odd extremely sharp ex-Soviet ex-chess wizard brains targeting my computer. Period.

So, where do we stand?

Meaning, why am I taking Bitcoin seriously?

The USD has nothing backing it. The US seems to be following a fiscal policy with high risk of implosion due to escalating debt. They’ve got no reserves left. Savings are nil. The USD will probably maintain its hierarchy till the world has another alternative.

A few years ago, I thought that Gold could be this alternative. Today, I think Bitcoin is a more serious contender.

First, I need to convince myself that Bitcoin is backed. Meanwhile, the noise will even out, and only the most solid crypto-currencies shall live on. I’d like Bitcoin to still be at the top of all crypto-charts once the noise settles. By then, there’ll be someone reliable in my own country offering Bitcoin investment and trading, someone I know, like an HDFC Bank, or a Kotak Securities. Volumes will escalate. Slippage will be down to a bearable 0.1% or less. Bitcoin’s chart will show a base foundation. I’ll have understood the virtual mining stuff, and hopefully it’ll be connected to currency-backing. Banks will store Bitcoin as an e-holding, which will reflect in one’s Netbanking.

That’s when I’ll enter Bitcoin.