Think bitcoin is dead? Here’s why it’s making a comeback

Across the street from the gleaming glass facade of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange sits a modest storefront where nine men in their 20s and 30s are holding a meeting.

Some of the men are wearing dress shirts while others sport Birkenstocks and beards, but they don’t look like revolutionaries. Yet if you spend a few hours in their presence, you realize that they are the closest thing the tech world has to a movement with a vision for changing the world.

It’s the June meeting of the Israel Bitcoin Association, held at the Tel Aviv Bitcoin Embassy.

“We need to educate and lobby the government about bitcoin,” says Eden Schochat, a partner at the Aleph Venture Capital firm, which has invested in at least one bitcoin startup, COLU. “If we could get (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu to say something positive about bitcoin, that would be a great start.”

Inside Tel Aviv's Bitcoin Embassy (Courtesy)

Inside Tel Aviv’s Bitcoin Embassy (Courtesy)

In August 2014, the Bank of Israel formed a committee to study the bitcoin issue; it has yet to issue any guidelines.

But the men gathered at the Bitcoin Embassy believe history is on their side. The bathroom walls are covered with graffiti. “Bitcoin is an international language of liberty that destroys barriers and oppression!” reads one. Or “Bitcoin is the Moses of the third millennium.”

Fervor rekindled

You would be forgiven for thinking bitcoin is an idea whose time has passed.

Back in 2013, the digital currency rose from a value of $20 to $1,242 per coin in a single year. Then the currency began to plummet, followed by a series of high-profile losses and scams. The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange collapsed, losing $477 million worth

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