Investors believe their new currency will shine

PETALING JAYA: Is Bitcoin the new gold? Its investors think so.

In November last year, Forbes reported that while gold shares lost close to 25% of its value, Bitcoins had tripled in value despite the latter’s “erratic pattern”.

Bitcoin investors have seen its value grow from US$30 (RM98) to as high as US$1,000 (RM3,291) each but they have also seen it fluctuate – as all currencies do.

According to Coinbase, a US-based company that’s building services around the digital currency, Bitcoins are currently trading at US$559 (RM1,839).

However, prices were expected to rise even higher, predicted Bitcoin Malaysia founder Colbert Low.

He claims that the value could soar up to US$10,000 (RM32,595) “in the coming few months”, in a posting on on Jan 5 when the price was US$919 (RM3,020).

According to the Bitcoin services and consultancy website, there are over 250 people in Bitcoin Malaysia’s chat groups “making over 100% return on investment” with digital coins, trading advice and news.

When contacted, Low described Bitcoin as a “good payment system”.

“All transactions are permanently recorded in the Bitcoin network through files called blocks.

“Even billionaire Richard Branson’s commercial space startup Virgin Galactic recognises Bitcoin and accepts it as payment,” Low claimed.

Low also runs, a company providing a Bitcoin escrow service that “protects both buyers and sellers”.

BTC-Asia, on its website, guarantees to cover the first RM100, or the total value of Bitcoins in escrow (if less than RM100).

It covers against losses arising from theft, hacking and unauthorised access from its servers, lost or misplaced Bitcoins by its system or staff and any loss of Bitcoins arising from its negligence but is not responsible for “user actions beyond our control”.

Nook, a shared working space in Bangsar, started accepting Bitcoins since November.

Its owner Daniel Yap said while Bank Negara did not recognise Bitcoins as a currency, the Central Bank had not made it illegal to own and accept the virtual currency.

“So until such a time, we will continue to accept Bitcoins.

“Think of it as good old fashion barter. If it isn’t illegal, why shouldn’t we encourage these exchanges?” founder Arsyan Ismail started accepting Bitcoins three months ago on its online marketplace as “an additional payment system” to make it more convenient for shoppers.

Admitting that not many are paying with Bitcoins yet, Arsyan believes its popularity will grow.

He also runs, a Bitcoin exchange.

“I have full confidence in Bitcoins because I know the technology behind it.”

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