I've read the introduction to bitcoins. But the main question remains: what reasons could push me to buy bitcoins today?
Hmm, question might appear to be a bit localised, what do you all think? We probably can get some decent question out of it, but I can't really put my finger on what should be changed...– ThePiachuFeb 16, 2012 at 2:21
For speculation, you would buy when the price is low in anticipation that the price will rise in the future.
There are some signs that the currency is seeing wider use and has greater potential in the future. For instance: - http://blockchain.info/charts/n-transactions
Concluding that that growth means that a bitcoin will be worth $4 or $2 or $32 by any certain date is more or less speculation though.
As far as why you might want to buy bitcoins today?
How about to participate in an online lottery where the jackpot payout return is 99% of the total wagers. Beats the heck out of doing a scratch-off at the gas station. Tickets are about $1 each. - http://www.bitlotto.com
How about for the novelty. Have you ever bought a quart of pure maple syrup direct from the farm? - https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=55594.0 or Alpaca socks? - http://www.grasshillalpacas.com/alpacaproductsforbitcoinoffer.html or a Blue Canary Night Light: - http://bluecanarynightlight.com
How about to prove your brilliance? Bets of Bitcoin is a predictions market. - http://betsofbitco.in
Maybe you want to purchase something and would rather that purchase not show on your credit card bill. Or not.
Or maybe you want to make a purchase from someone on Craigslist and don't know if you can trust that they'll ship your order. There are escrow services (with dispute resolution) available using bitcoins (compare BTCrow's 1% to escrow.com's $25 minimum fee): - http://www.btcrow.com
Maybe you want to send a few bucks to someone in another country as an expression of appreciation. Bitcoin transfers are nearly instant and know no borders.
1Bets of Bitcoin is not a prediction market. Apr 29, 2012 at 19:06
Indeed - Bets of Bitcoin is not a prediction market, but predictious.com and fairlay.com are. Apr 30, 2014 at 22:40
To participate in a disruptive technology
Many of the other answers are covering the investment angle, but also consider that Bitcoin is a disruptive technology. Bitcoin allows an individual the kind of control over their money which has never been available before in all of history.
This is a very big deal. It is now possible to send any amount of money, to anyone, anywhere in the world, anonymously (if you're very careful) in moments. This was not possible before now for a multitude of reasons:
- governments restricting destinations / amounts
- banks not having a presence in some regions
- excessive fees (particularly for small amounts)
- unreliability of some postal services
All of the above may or may not concern you, but they do affect the lives of many. By offering an alternative Bitcoin can potentially bring about a societal change in the same way that mobile phones and email have. Already the idea of sending someone some small change, in bitcoins, as a reward for their creative efforts has become commonplace to me.
The knock-on effect of this is to encourage that author or artist to produce more, and the world becomes enriched. In volume, those bitcoins can free them from a tedious day job and allow them to pursue their dream.
Surely, that's worth a bitcoin.
If you are a student from China, studying in the UK (say) - you can buy bitcoins on btcchina.com directly from your Chinese bank account, send them to Intersango.com and sell them for GBP, and transfer them to your UK bank account. You can avoid having to send thousands of pounds to a British bank account to cover your expected expenses and instead just convert your money as and when you need it.
- Bitcoins are currently semi-low in value, if you think they will go up in value, they are a good investment.
- One can expect their value to rise due to the bock reward being halved in about a year.
- If you suspect your local currency or banks available to you to be unstable (say, you live in Greece and you want to stay away from the greek banks), Bitcoins might be a more preferable solution to standard banking. Nobody can steal your coins.
- If you like new tech gadgets, getting to know Bitcoins as a possible new "thing" on the Internet might be up your alley.
- If you are performing a lot of online money transfers, especially between countries, operating in Bitcoins can save you some money.
- If you are dealing with people that already accept Bitcoins, it might be a necessity for you.
But in the end, there is no real reason to be "pushed" into using Bitcoins (at least currently). If you organically find Bitcoins to be a better solution for some problems you encounter, you can try them as an alternative. Other than that it's still a new technology for enthusiasts, computer-savvy people and speculators. If you don't find any reasons to buy them currently, chances are it might take some time before new reasons appear.
The kind of obvious reason is that you want to have some bitcoins for some reason, but don't want to run a mining rig. In that you need to exchange something else for bitcoin, that something else might as well be dollars or euros (or whatever your local money is) Feb 16, 2012 at 4:18
While I like all the bullets in the other answers, for me they're currently more novelty than actual use.
IMHO, the major, number one reason to buy Bitcoin today is speculation. In some scenarios it could rise to $100, $1000, even $1,000,000 per BTC is not inconceivable. With this potential uptake, I think it's totally irrational not to invest some amount into BTC (it can be as little as 1 BTC if you're relatively bearish, but with today's prices, if you're bullish, you can still acquire a large chunk of BTC without tossing a fortune into it).
1The crux of your argument is your estimate of the probability of reaching some value level. That estimate is certainly debatable, making your claim about irrationality a bit of a red herring. That is, your claim is that you believe with p% probability that the value will change by $X, so then you should invest $Y in BTC. The rationality of that depends on your subjective estimates of p and X. p could be < 50%, X could be negative. The variance of these estimates could be large. --- My point is that it takes a lot of work to convince oneself this is a good investment.– cape1232Mar 2, 2012 at 5:07
@cape1232 - I think it's a huge risk, but the probably of "winning" just can't be that minor. So, it's "easy to see" that the expected value from the investment is positive, even though the risk might be 99.99% - so it doesn't necessarily make sense to invest all your life savings in BTC, but it does make sense to buy just 1 BTC. Mar 2, 2012 at 8:41