Marc Hochstein (@MarcHochstein), executive editor of American Banker, describes how Bitcoin is setting a bar that banks may be hard pressed to meet. Excerpts:
"In addition to being a store of value, [Bitcoin is] also a means of exchange, a payment system that can perform many of the same functions as banks and as financial services companies like Western Union, PayPal and Visa. And its efficiency as such is arguably a more important reason for bankers to pay attention to it."
"A few restaurants and bars take it. You can even donate bitcoins to WikiLeaks. But you can’t spend bitcoins at Amazon or Wal-Mart or McDonald’s or pay your electricity bill with them."
"Linking [Bitcoin] to a prepaid card, [Bradley Leimer] says, is ‘a little bit of a game-changer,’ since it’s ‘a much more mainstream way to move the value within your bitcoin collection’."
"I didn’t have to give my name, much less show ID, throughout the whole process [of buying bitcoins through BitInsant]."
"Transacting off the [banking system] grid should remain an option even after we phase out paper bills and metal coins."
- http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=103048.0 (Further discussion of the article)
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