Exactly one year ago I embarked on a journey. I sat down to write my weekly column on Bitcoin for the first time. At the time I was somewhat skeptical. As somebody with a background in the interbank foreign exchange market, my interest at the time was almost purely that of a trader. This “new currency” had displayed remarkable volatility, and where there is volatility, there is potential for profit. Beyond that my knowledge was, I should say, somewhat limited and fairly typical. I had heard the bad stories: Mt. Gox’s collapse and various tales of criminals attracted to the anonymity that Bitcoin offered, but that was about it.
Of course, before I wrote I did some basic research, but not enough to completely remove the feeling that this was a fad, a fascinating experiment with a limited lifespan. The fanaticism of what were at that time Bitcoin’s loudest supporters was dispiriting, and served to increase my doubt as to the concept’s long term viability. I was not a natural believer in the extreme, somewhat anarchistic, strain of libertarianism that saw digital currencies as a blow to the power of government. Plus, the paroxysms of rage directed at any questioning of any aspect of Bitcoin was, to say the least, a little off-putting.
Over the last year, however, I have come to appreciate the Bitcoin community, where there is undeniable passion at the extremes. Additionally, a year ago, the members of the “anti-Bitcoin” brigade were as vocal and ubiquitous as the supporters, but they seem to have drifted away.
The attitude of big money has changed too. When I started, I don’t believe there was a major bank that had done anything but dismiss the idea and warn customers not to get involved. Now hardly a day goes by without another bank releasing some kind of