The next phase in the Bitcoin revolution could be the standardization of the exchanges where in fact the coins are traded. Bitcoin is currently in the Wild West prospector days of its evolution. The world has agreed that a Bitcoin provides a stored way of measuring value just as that gold and silver have through the entire ages. Like gold and silver, Bitcoin is only worth what the other person is ready to pay you for it. This has resulted in cheating since trading began. Crooked scales and filled ore all became the main norm as both the miners and the assayers sought to pad their bottom lines. This led to governmental oversight and the creation of centralized exchanges.

The Bitcoin dream has gone to police its own community and remain beyond the physical scrutiny of any global government. The Utopian dream was shattered a month ago when Mt. Gox, by far the largest Bitcoin exchange, turn off due to a security breach and theft of approximately $300 million worth of Bitcoin. Customers who had Bitcoin on deposit with Mt. Gox still have no idea how much they’ll reunite. The issues at Mt. Gox lay bare the cyber security argument. Surprisingly, Bitcoin as a currency shows remarkable resilience. This resilience may be just the boost needed to legitimize the currency and the lean towards governmental involvement that could actually help this fledgling store of value soar to its mainstream potential.

The timing of the Mt. Gox incident may prove to be a boon for the currency. Tera Group, out of Summit NJ, already had proposed a bilateral agreement to the Commodity Trading Futures Commission (CFTC) to begin with trading Bitcoins by way of a swap-execution facility or, centralized exchange. Almost all commercial currency trading is done through swaps agreements which explains why we follow the commercial traders inside our own trading. A swap agreement is actually an insurance policy that provides a guaranteed value at a specific point in time to protect against currency fluctuations. It’s what the commodity exchanges are founded on. The swap markets are the superhighways of the financial industry. They process massive volumes while collecting a small toll on each transaction. Therefore, the cost on the individual swap is small but the sheer volume of swaps processed makes it an enormous revenue source for all of the major banks.

The CFTC has yet to touch upon Tera Group’s proposal. We commented in November that Bitcoin had transcended novelty status and that the revenue pool was becoming too large for global banks to ignore. Bitcoin’s resilience in the face of the Mt. Gox debacle is a testament to the power of a worldwide grassroots movement. Bitcoin must have plunged across the globe as owners of Bitcoins tried to switch them for hard currency. The market’s response ended up being very orderly. While prices did fall over the board, the market appeared to understand that it was an individual company’s problem and was therefore confined to Mt. Gox customers’ ability to get their money out. As a result, Bitcoin prices have stabilized around $585. That is well off the December most of $1,200 but very near the average price for the last six months.

The last coincidentally timed little bit of the structural transformation from Bitcoin as an anarchist, alternative store of value that exists outside the institutionalized financial industry to being integrated into that same economic climate is its ability to be taxed by the offline governments it was developed to circumvent. THE INNER Revenue Service finally decided enough is enough also it wants its cut. The IRS has declared Bitcoin as property instead of currency and is therefore subject to property laws rather than currency laws. This allows the IRS to obtain their share while legitimizing the necessity for a central exchange to see value. In addition, it eliminates arguments with the U.S. Treasury and Congress over legal tender issues. It’s simply valued as a good that can be exchanged for other goods and services, barter.

Bitcoin is really a global marketplace executing transactions on an electronic network. That sounds an awful lot just like the forex markets. Industry regulators and the banking industry are likely to quickly discover that the failure of Mt. Gox did more to encourage the individual resolve of global Bitcoin users instead of ending this upstart’s existence. Private users of Bitcoin will clamor for the government to protect its folks from crooked exchanges in the same way farmers were cheated in the grain trade of ancient Egypt or gold and cattle by assayers and stockyards in the open West. Tera Group may be in the right place at the right time with the right idea as Bitcoin may have proven itself to be self-sustaining at the retail level. Bitcoin Revolution and legal structures are being put in place to keep its evolution because the financial industry is left to determine how to monetize it.