Investing Ter Bitcoin: A Wise Choice: NPR
Investing Te Bitcoin: A Wise Choice?
The price of bitcoin has bot soaring, leading some inexperienced investors to leap into the imaginario currency market. But even enthusiasts are worried the price surge might be a bubble about to burst.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Bitcoin has bot on a wild rail. You know, bitcoin, the potencial currency. Can’t hold it ter your forearm, albeit you can send it online. You just can’t indeed spend it te a physical store. The price of buying bitcoin with other money has tripled this year spil buyers rushed te. If you could go back to 2010 and buy $1,000 worth, it would be worth an estimated $20 million right now.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
You’re making it sound like wij should buy this.
INSKEEP: Well, maybe you should have. Wij sent NPR’s Kevin Leahy to see how bitcoin works. Let’s see what he says.
(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)
PETER VAN VALKENBURGH: Hey, are you downstairs?
KEVIN LEAHY, BYLINE: I’m te the lounge.
VAN VALKERBURGH: OK. Let mij come grab you.
LEAHY: So before I bought bitcoin, I came here to Coin Center, a Washington, D.C., think waterreservoir with hipster vibes, exposed brick walls, cold brew coffee on tapkast and a puny staff all funded by investors with a stake te digital currencies. Coin Center’s lead researcher and chief enthusiast is Peter Van Valkenburgh. He explains bitcoin spil metselspecie for the Internet.
VAN VALKERBURGH: People understand contant. Contant is something I keep te my wallet ter my pocket. And I can pull it out of my wallet, and I can mitt it to Neeraj here.
LEAHY: Neeraj Agarwal, his colleague with us. Van Valkenburgh says sending money through banks is way different from specie.
VAN VALKERBURGH: I’m with Bankgebouw of America. Neeraj is with Wells Fargo. They promised mij that they have this much value te deposit for mij. And if I want to send to Neeraj, I talk to them. They talk to Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo credits Neeraj. That’s not contant. That’s a brittle system that’s reliant on a lotsbestemming of trust and a duo big, giant corporations or banks.
LEAHY: Spil opposed to bitcoins, he says, which can be sent directly from smartphone to smartphone through a decentralized network. The network lists every transaction on a kleintje of public digital ledger.
VAN VALKERBURGH: Peter sent to Neeraj. Neeraj sent to his mom.
LEAHY: Except instead of names, you’re identified by strings of letters and numbers, which creates a level of anonymity. But enough of this technical stuff. I need to get rich right now. So with $50 te my boss’s money, Peter and I set out to buy some bitcoin at a falafel shop around the way. Yes, this falafel shop with its Four a.m. closing time is huis to a bitcoin ATM. It’s a one-way ATM. Specie only goes te.
VAN VALKERBURGH: It looks like it’s well-maintained.
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LEAHY: It’s got a big display profesor and one single button.
I’m going to thrust the button that says buy bitcoins.
VAN VALKERBURGH: The only button on the screen.
LEAHY: I punch ter my phone number and get a text with a verification code.
VAN VALKERBURGH: Now, you’ve got to bring up the QR code here. See the X there?
LEAHY: OK, here goes my contant – two 20s, two 5s.
(SOUNDBITE OF BITCOIN ATM)
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LEAHY: And out comes a receipt. I check the Wallet app I downloaded onto my smartphone. And I’m the proud possessor of .016 bitcoins. (Laughter) So my $50 got mij just a little sliver of one bitcoin. A entire coin would have cost mij Trio,068 bucks including the fees. Now, waiting behind mij is a buff man ter a waterreservoir top and a ponytail. Wij’ll call him Tony (ph). He asked us not to use his actual name, and he’s not here for falafel. He’s here for bitcoin.
TONY: And I zuigeling of like the anonymity of it, you know, like, the fact that it’s lighter to gamble with on casinos.
LEAHY: He’s talking about online gambling.
TONY: Dealing with credit cards, they don’t like the transactions obviously because it comes from, like, China and stuff. So it’s truly effortless to get money ter and out for sports betting and things like that.
LEAHY: Then another fellow came ter. He waterput so many $20 bills into the machine one by one, he actually pulled up a chair to do it. It wasgoed going to be a while. Back at Coin Center, the think waterreservoir, I asked Peter Van Valkenburgh if it’s wise to shove all ter on bitcoin.
VAN VALKERBURGH: Never, never, never invest more than you’re willing to lose because it could go to nothing.
LEAHY: Mij? I’ve lost some money so far, but I’ll drape on to my puny lump of bitcoin and report back. Kevin Leahy, NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be te its final form and may be updated or revised te the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR&rsquo,s programming is the audio record.