"A financial network is a technological platform that people build businesses on top of. And the traditional banking and credit card networks are closed platforms. If you want to build an e-commerce site, a payment network like Paypal, or any other service that deals in dollars, you need to convince incumbent financial institutions to do business with you. Getting such a partnership is difficult and involves a lot of red tape.
There’s a good reason for the high barrier to entry: electronic transactions in the conventional banking system are generally reversible. If someone makes a fraudulent charge to your credit card, you can dispute the transaction and in most cases the bank or the merchant, not the customer, will cover the cost. That’s convenient for consumers, but it requires the financial system to be a fairly close-knit web of trust. Allowing a new member into the club creates risks for everyone else. So the incumbents are understandably reluctant to deal with anyone who isn’t well-known and well-capitalized.
Bitcoin is different. Because transactions are authenticated cryptographically and cannot be reversed, there’s no need to restrict access to the network. There’s no risk to accepting payments from complete strangers. That means people don’t need anyone’s permission or trust to go into business as a Bitcoin-based merchant or financial intermediary."
So how is bitcoin doing three and a half years after debut, and 7 months after it poked through the ceiling of global consciousness? Pretty durn good. The Verge has a piece on bitcoin from last night.
"Bitcoin, the decentralized virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, had a big day today. The four-year-old currency had its first hearing in Congress as experts from the government, the Bitcoin community, and the nonprofit sector appeared to discuss the implications of the growing popularity of virtual currencies. And while that testimony took place, a single Bitcoin soared to $700 on the market at the tail of a two-week climb."
"Virtual currencies, perhaps most notably Bitcoin, have captured the imagination of some, struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of many of us," Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told a packed room."
"The hearing was the culmination of a three-month investigation into Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, he said. The proceeding was made up of two panels. The first featured Jennifer Shasky Calvery, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; Mythili Raman, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice; and Secret Service agent Edward W. Lowery III."
The above article concluded ended with this "While the hearing was frontloaded with discussion of the potential for virtual currencies to be used for crime, there was no sense of alarm about the strange new world of Bitcoin. "
So far from being disruptively and wild N woolly, the bitcoin is settling into its place in commerce and in governmental mindsets. It is traded on the exchange, and is gaining investors, according to TechCrunch. The Chinese bitcoin exchange "pile onto bitcoin" and is gaining momentum. Bloomberg goes so far as to say it is gaining credibility. Bloomberg reminds us that "Bitcoins ... exist as software and aren’t regulated by any country or banking authority," and this is a remarkable statement because the currency didn't even exist three years ago.
It is prophesied that the false prophet will force all to accept a mark of worship that will not only ally the recipients with satan via the antichrist but allow the recipients to buy or sell, (Revelation 13:16-17). People who refuse the mark will not be allowed to buy or sell. This is an intriguing prophecy. For millennia, it has been impossible for commenters, theologians and interpreters of the bible to understand how one man could control all of the world's commerce by regulating its currency and to know instantly at point of sale who is allowed to buy or sell- and who is not. They believed it, they just couldn't envision it.
However, since technological times in this generation, people have accepted that somehow the world economy will be remade to the point where one currency will circulate, but before the internet was invented the best they could envision was that it'd have something to do with barcodes.
The barcode was invented in 1952 but it wasn't used commercially until 1974. That is not so long ago. I was in high school. Since then, technology has made envisioning some of the previously more difficult and obscure prophecies not only clear but almost realized in our lifetime. Whether bitcoin will be THE currency used to fulfill the prophecy, or another one will be, it is increasingly clear that since this generation was born there have been astounding technological advances that not only laid the groundwork for the prophecy to be fulfilled but the details of it to be envisioned with clarity and precision.
Think about it- prior to 1974, no barcodes were in use in commercial economy. Since then we've had the advent of the internet, a global economy, and new currencies. One may buy and sell virtual items without ever touching money. A kindle book is one example. eCommerce is de rigueur.
Parallel to the bitcoin's rise is the necessity for supercomputers to handle the world's increasingly virtual commerce. And just yesterday, a quantum computing record was set. If there is to be a new currency and if it is to be virtual-based, the world will need faster computers to maintain these commerce and banking records. Enter quantum computing. Instead of using silicon based transistors, a quantum computer "will harness the power of atoms and molecules to perform memory and processing tasks."
"Notoriously hard to manipulate and even more difficult to maintain Quantum memory states are often best controlled at absolute zero, however this new record has shattered previous estimations by being carried out at room temperature." (source)
And the record that was "shattered" was that the quantum computer was maintained at room temp for 42 minutes. That's a huge leap. A quantum leap. Sorry. Couldn't resist.
With our old global economy on the brink, fiat money increasingly diluted, and new currencies popping up, combined with the convergence of all other prophecies such as the rapid decline of society, rise of apostasy, and Christianity's great shrinking, it seems to me that we could actually see the Messiah in our lifetimes- if not sooner.