by Steve Patterson, Daily Reckoning.com:
Bitcoin has been making headlines for months now. Extreme price fluctuations have sparked a vigorous debate: Is it a currency or a scam? Is Bitcoin viable in the long-term, or are we witnessing a bubble waiting to burst?
The answers to these questions are simple: Yes, Bitcoin is a currency, but we cannot know if it will remain so in the future. It does, however, have many properties that might make it viable in the long run.
There should be no controversy anymore about calling Bitcoin a currency. A currency is simply a good that serves as a medium of exchange, meaning that people trade it for the goods and services they want. In different circumstances, different goods serve this purpose. In prison, cigarettes are used as currency. In the early American colonies, tobacco was a currency. Bitcoins are used online as a medium of exchange for thousands of people around the globe.
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