By Corey Moss

Well, that was something.

As I just recently wrote about the hoopla, and hysteria of bitcoin, that day has come as bitcoin on January 17th dropped below $10,000 for the first time since November 2017, and it’s been referred to as everything from a real nosedive to a mixed bag of emotions. Today though, bitcoin and ethereum (#1 and #2) have appeared to both stabilize, and ripple (#3) has bounced back more than 50% after a big fall the day before.

In December, in livemint Bitcoins, gold standard, monetary stability it was pointed out how recent swings in bitcoin prices should not take away from the fact that digital currencies offered a profound challenge to existing monetary systems. The word swings though turned to “wild swings” in the article, in terms of making the digital currency a big topic of discussion around the world.

Here is one wild swing reference:

A son asks his father for one bitcoin on his birthday. The answer is epic: “What? $15,554? $14,345 is a lot of money! What do you need $16,782 for anyway?” The tweet highlights the fact that bitcoin prices have been moving a lot almost every second.

Fast forward and the bitcoin wild swing happened with a dive below $10,000, with over 30 billion shaved off its market value. In just 24 hours, the world’s leading cryptocurrency plummeted in price due to growing concerns of regulatory crackdown and consideration of a ban in South Korea (as well as considerations in China), to go along with recent strong scam alerts (even Eastman Kodak’s KashMiner introduced at CES has been considered to be such). Also scaring investors was an announcement late Tuesday by Bitconnect, a popular but controversial site for trading and lending cryptocurrency, that it was closing down operations – accused by some influential investors of running a Ponzi scheme.

The hysteria became real, and the doomsayers had their day.

Yet the day after, stabilization, to go along with some big bounce backs has occurred, making one really scratch their head about this market. With the huge drops that took place, however, this activity has solidified the one word that highlights this market – volatile.

In a CNBC Markets article ‘It’s never safe to invest in bitcoin,’ says Evercore analyst Rich Ross made a strong recommendation to invest in the stock market instead. “It’s never safe to invest in bitcoin, let’s be crystal clear,” he said on CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Wednesday evening. That being stated, while others call cryptocurrency’s volatility the real attraction for investors.

Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro, gave a different perspective though as he told CNBC (via e-mail) “The action we’re seeing may seem dramatic but is really quite normal for this market.” He continued “All in all, this drop has brought us back to the prices that were traded about a month ago for most coins.” *

Even the analysts’ varying recommendations show the true volatility of this market.

I had talked about hearing of companies in the AV industry accepting cryptocurrency, and back in December it was reported that UK-based smart home specialist, Inspire Audio Visual would be offering AV services in exchange for bitcoin. It was specified that in accordance with bitcoin’s valuation, Inspire AV would initially offer three tiers of home cinema package to include all hardware and installation – bronze, silver and gold. Inspire AV’s director, Benjamin Davies, following along with his personal cryptocurrency involvement and recognition of the system’s significant future potential, welcomed the digital payment method. “Within the next 12 months, the use of Bitcoin will become more and more a part of our daily lives. As a smart home company it is our ethos to be at the forefront of technology – that includes payment systems and by offering this service we enable more customers to reach us.” Davies said.

I reached out to Ben via e-mail and asked him a few questions, the first concerning the basis for his decision to create the hardware/installation in exchange for bitcoin payment service, along with the success to this point with customers “buying in.”

Ben responded, “I have been in the crypto space for over 12 months, and have met some really interesting people along the way from both the UK and across the world, what I found interesting was the lack of services and products being offered to the market for crypto.. there was an interesting space for a new young (sometimes very young) wealth with only a few places to spend their crypto. As the market cap approached $250 billion dollars mid last year I saw an opportunity to offer our services to not only these young entrepreneurs but also to the blockchain companies themselves, what better than allowing these clients spend their already accumulated crypto without the need to convert back to fiat.” He continued, “We have had an overwhelming response from offering crypto as a form of payment, and this coincided with our online store youravstore.co.uk which except payment directly on site. Our team are looking to expand our range of payments in the near future to add DASH and also Monero.”

I then asked about his offering in accordance with bitcoin’s valuation, and how that works for the customer as well as the company – this to go with the volatility of the market. “All our products are agreed based upon a Fiat price be it GBP or Euro and whenever the payment is due, it is converted at the rate at the that time. Our business then converts to GBP. We may lose a very small percentage if it drops but on the same hand we also may make a little money on the transaction, the key thing is it is still cheaper than offering card payment.

I’m going to extend this even further to a quasi-AV as a Service discussion (which is still somewhat at a standstill) as Inspire Audio Visual, through the acceptance of cryptocurrency has put together a tiered equipment and installation offering, this in accordance with bitcoin exchange and valuation. This is where a conversation like AVaaS gets very interesting, while others still try to figure out how to get it done beyond the classic leasing model.

However, with days like January 17th and the wild swing that took place, can this type of strategy for increasing one’s business truly succeed?

Actually, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks is banking on it as the team will be accepting bitcoin as payment next season. Cuban, who began as a bitcoin skeptic, is riding the wave with a view toward increased ticket sales with bitcoin as an added payment method for Mavs tickets. Cuban responded to a tweet asking when someone would be able to purchase Mavs tickets with bitcoin stating “Next season.”

And then…

If the disaster doomsayers think that bitcoin, or cryptocurrency in general, is going to be anything other than increasing investing (spurring on statements like a collective insanity has sprouted around the new field of ‘cryptocurrencies’, causing an irrational gold rush. I know you’re tempted, but don’t be a fool**) and business growth strategy in 2018, they’re not only wrong, there are those that will likely change their minds – like Mark Cuban – and wholly embrace it.

Like I said… volatile.

* Bitcoin sinks below $10,000 and is now 50% off all-time high as cryptocurrency sell-off deepens

** So you’re thinking about investing in bitcoin? Don’t

For information on fiat currency see here.

Note: Bitcoin header image via CCO Creative Commons. 

me-at-barco

With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, The Collaboration Factor and Convergent Tech Talk. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers. Find him talking about a whole lot of things, tech and otherwise.