That’s where things stand as of mid-year 2014, when this book was written. The whole Bitcoin industry (yes, it’s now an industry) is still reeling from the Mt. Gox debacle, but also claiming that it’s an isolated incident that had more to do with Mt. Gox’s poorly run business than it did with any intrinsic flaw in the Bitcoin model. Bitcoin’s price continues to hover in the $500 to $600/BTC range, nowhere near the inflated highs of late 2013. In fact, the currency looks downright stable compared to how it has been in the past.
Despite the turmoil, more and more merchants—both online and in the real world—are announcing that they will accept Bitcoin as payment for their goods and services. We’re talking merchants as diverse as Digital River, which handles $30 billion/year worth of online transaction processing for digital software downloads, and Expedia, the big-time online travel site. Even eBay’s PayPal says that they’re “actively considering” integrating Bitcoin into the PayPal payment system, and it’s rumored that several large financial institutions might be getting into the Bitcoin exchange business. Legitimacy appears to be near.
It has been an interesting six years or so, with Bitcoin rising from one man’s idea to a viable world currency. Who knows where things will be six years from now?