The image tells it all. There was a Bitcoin ATM at SxSW and Julio, being the shrewd investor he is, rocks up with $674.90 for...a piece of paper with a QR code on it.
Apparently, he can now use said piece of paper to create a Bitcoin wallet which he can spend at places like...Overstock.com.
Call me a curmudgeonly old fart (and many do) but I really, really struggle with the concept of Bitcoins as a viable alternative to traditional currencies. The market is rigged in favor of those with incredibly powerful machines and minds to match, it has proven to be woefully insecure and is one of the most volatile markets I've ever seen.
Even so, with luminaries like Ben Bernanke cautiously 'endorsing' Bitcoin, anything is possible in the madcap world of finance.
Now - in fairness I did have cryptocurrencies as my number three pick for 2014 and if nothing else, Julio contributes wonderfully to the lighter side of that prediction to the point where I could not resist but commment 'idiot' when I saw the photo.
And then there is Overstock, a company that former criminal fraudster Sam E. Antar regularly pillories. This latest on how the company defrauded consumers is a case in point while Overstock gleefully reports more than $1 million in business done with Bitcoin. Sheesh...talk about gambling with shareholder funds.
What was Julio thinking? That's hard to tell and some question his sanity (me among them) but he does make the point:
...a similar conversation took place when King Fernando and Queen Isabel gave Columbus money.
Without crazy people, many things would still be unknown.
One area I think Julio is correct:
You add your cash at the bottom of the ATM machine and a paper with the QR code comes out from the top! The money right now is in the ATM rental business!
And the irony of money bottom, paper top is not lost.
So is the Bitcoin ATM the latest thing for crazy gamblers? I don't know but the image is appealing and I'll certainly be looking out for one on my next visit to Las Vegas.
Let's revisit this piece of jocularity in say...a year or two. It will be interesting to see who ends up with egg on their face.
Featured image via Bloomberg