You know that cryptocurrency has made its mark when a consumer can drive a Tesla Model S off the lot after paying with newly-mined Bitcoin.
Last week, Lamborghini Newport Beach in Southern California sold a Tesla Model S to a consumer for 91.4 Bitcoins ( about $103,000). The transaction through the payment processor BitPay on Dec. 6, and the car is due to be delivered to a Florida address.
But the really notable part of this story is that it isn’t the largest Bitcoin transaction. In October, BitPay processed a single $1 million transaction for Butterfly Labs, a leader in Bitcoin mining hardware. According to Elizabeth Ploshay in Bitcoin Magazine, the transaction has pushed the Bitcoin economy over the $2 billion mark. It’s also helped to raise the value of the Bitcoin, which currently stands at about USD $871/1 Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin currency has had its ups and downs, as its January 2012 crash demonstrated. But its rebound has been fast an furious in the past few months, considering that it was less than $50 earlier this year.
For the U.S. government, the concept of a electronic currency that isn’t backed by hard currency or the Gold Standard (or an electronic currency at all for that matter) seems to be a worrying prospect. While Former Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan had once dismissed the concept as “a bubble,” lawmakers are now attempting to find ways to regulate the currency, which its critics point out is enticing to criminals because of the potential for anonymous transactions. Homeland Security and the Treasury Department both made the case to Senate for more regulation.
But like it or not, Bitcoin, and other similar cryptocurrencies may no longer be just a fad for chump change. Today the Bitcoin Foundation announced the launch of international affiliates in the U.K., Canada and Australia. Celebrities like multi-platinum-album artist Snoop Dogg have embraced the concept, which means more publicity for bitcoin as an acceptable currency, and an even greater potential for bitcoin exchange. And charities like Sean’s Outpost, which provides support for Pensacola Fla.’s homeless through a 9-acre sanctuary funded largely through Bitcoin, suggest that cryptocurrencies may indeed be more than just “a bubble” or a good ride in a fast car.
Bitcoin image by CASASCIUS
Tesla Model S by Norbert Aepli