1) medium of exchange
2) store of value
3) unit of account
4) common ground for rumor and speculation!
cf. The Beer Game or Dietrich Dörner's thermometer experiments.
For those that follow bitcoin news, I'm sure there is a plethora of "don't do this," "those guys did this," etc., but what do I do as someone who knows nothing about bitcoins and how to keep them safe?
For how to keep them secure once you have them, I recommend simply doing some research. Coinbase provides a basic wallet and if I remember correctly, they cold store most of their coins offline.
Blockchain.info is another good option for a basic wallet. It's simple with a good amount of features. Your wallet is also decrypted in-browser and not on their server so they don't store compromising information.
There are also concepts such as a paper wallet  and a brainwallet  for extreme security. A brainwallet is basically what it sounds like - a way of storing your wallet in your head.
"Sorry, the maximum number of purchases on Coinbase has been reached for today. Please try again in 24 hours. We'll continue raising this limit over time."
These sort of security and reliability concerns are certain to hold bitcoin back. Granted they also represent the opportunity, as surely they will be resolved.
There are multiple services, Coinbase is just one of them. This particular instance of you not being able to place an order through them is not indicative of a wider tendency to not be able to place orders.
Coinbase has a 24-hour rolling limit for how many coins can be sold through them. This is reliably the case every day.
Also, not being able to buy coins doesn't seem to be a "security" issue.
It's not a bubble, it's a snowball - at least in the long run.
Though, I would say freedom is not just _hard_ to control - it's impossible by definition. Freedom is not a short term thing, it's a long term outcome - it's the low energy state that's thermodynamically favored. Eventually the world will be a truly efficient, democratic, free society. But, it takes time and catalysis to get there.
Bitcoin is a catalyst for freedom. It or something like it will be adopted.
My gut tells me bitcoins are here to stay.
Maybe too optimistic, but read http://falkvinge.net/2013/03/06/the-target-value-for-bitcoin...
edit: yeah, brainfart. I meant to say that "people buying a bunch of it" can only make it go up, not that it can't (or won't) go down again.
Unless you also share the cousin belief that things can become "too big to fail".
As a long term (or medium-term anyway) store of value, Bitcoin is really quite useless for the time being.
Brewster Kahle at archive.org gives his employees the option to be paid in bitcoin received by the site.
> As a long term (or medium-term anyway) store of value, Bitcoin is really quite useless for the time being.
That's quite incorrect. Bitcoin has proven to be an excellent tool for buying low, waiting for a price rise, trading some of the bitcoin for gold, selling some of the gold and buying more bitcoin with the proceeds.
It's a great tool if you're willing to learn how to use it.
That's pretty cool actually, although personally I wouldn't do it. Hope to see more of that.
>Bitcoin has proven to be an excellent tool for buying low, waiting for a price rise, trading some of the bitcoin for gold, selling some of the gold and buying more bitcoin with the proceeds.
This speaks to Bitcoin's utility as an instrument for speculation, not for storing value. If it was a good store of value you would print out your private key and put it in a safety deposit box, confident that whenever you returned to retrieve it, it would represent approximately the same amount of wealth that it did when you left it.
This is most definitely not the case with Bitcoin at all.
I have quite a number of btc stored in cold wallets.
My point is that because of Bitcoin, I actually have fluid wealth to move around and store, be it with metals or cryptocurrency. I didn't have that freedom with US cash, an instrument whose value is rapidly decreasing and has been for a long time.
"This time it's different."
Classic hype-curve hockeystick. Everyone should by now know what comes next.
How thinly is this traded? 20%+ or - in hours can't be good