Dr. Greg Rubin likes to keep current on the latest technology. As a busy dentist in Calabasas, he also wants to make his practice attractive to customers.
So, given both of those things, he 's decided to accept ''bitcoin'' as payment. Bitcoin is a little complex but if you think of it as a ''digital currency'' that's the best way to understand it. To use bitcoin, you go online to one of a number of websites that offer you what's called a ''wallet''. You transfer money directly out of your bank account into this ''wallet'', and then the dollar value you invested is transferred into the equivalent amount of bitcoins.
When it's time to pay, you go online , and essentially transfer value out of your wallet to the merchant. You can do it on your phone, you can do it on your laptop, your ipad, etc. There are no fees, it's fast, easy , and part of the attraction for some is that there is no government regulation or oversight . However, and this is a big however, the value of bitcoin can fluctuate depending on supply and demand, so $1000 dollars worth of bitcoins today might be $100 tomorrow or $5000 tomorrow. You still with me ? So in a sense, it's like speculating on currency. Why would you want to do that ? Well, why do you make any speculative investment, you hope it goes up.
Bitcoin has been in the news a lot of late, in that the original founder of this somewhat mysterious currency is now said to be living with his parents in Temple City after dropping out of sight and claiming he has nothing to do with bitcoins anymore. Two major bitcoin '' exchanges'', which turn your cash into bitcoins, have failed after millions were stolen by hackers. That is a problem. If the bitcoins aren't secure who'd buy then. Then today, news that a young American woman who headed an exchange in Singapore was found dead in her hotel room, suicide possibly, no definite links to bitcoin but it's certainly not a positive development. Still, Dr. Rubin and others aren't worried about bitcoins future, convinced these are 'growing pains' similar to the internet's birth a generation ago, and eventually this ''digital currency'' concept will be as commonplace as using a credit card. I'm not convinced yet. I like to keep up on tech and innovation too, but at this point I don't see a need to start using a currency which could drop in value. I'll stick with dollars and MasterCard... for now. But I'm open to suggestion.