Welcome to the brave new world! Someone got tired of fiat currencies controlled by governments and launched a digital fiat currency. It was a matter of time as digital is invading more and more aspects of our lives. Although Armenia is physically landlocked, it is not digitally. So there are ways to use Bitcoins even from Armenia!
What are BitCoins?
There are many articles and videos about what it is. itechnology.am did the research and brought you the best ones:
The read the Bitcoin FAQ, click here
Here is a presentation on what is money and about Bitcoins: Introduction to Bitcoin
If you really want to dig deeper, here is a full e-course on Khan Academy: Bitcon
According to wikipedia, Bitcoins were introduced in 2009. It has many advantages, such as low transaction fees (much lower than the 2%-3% imposed by credit card processors), and the fact that it can be traded globally, peer-to-peer. The awareness of Bitcoins increased with the banking crisis in Cyprus, as people looked for alternative ways to use their cash that was blocked in the banks. The same is happening in Argentina where the government imposed controls on US dollar purchases and people are rushing to Bitcoins so they can transfer their wealth to anywhere in the world instantly, outside the domain of local authorities. Since Bitcoins are currently not controlled by governments, the risk of having your money blocked in a bank (in theory) is lower.
Bitcoins can be great but like anything in life, there are risks.
Bitcoin, like any other currency, has a price and can, for example, be exchanged into US dollars our Euros. As the awareness increases, government regulators might try to impose regulations and control it, like the Chinese government that prohibited financial institutions from handling bitcoins, but still allows peer-to-peer transacions. Also, there there have been some abrupt price changes in the price. As the currency evolves, news like this one keep hitting the news: Bitcoin Crashes As The World’s Most Famous Exchange Halts All Withdrawals.
How Armenia can use it Bitcoin as an e-commerce platform.
Bitcoins are far from being widely accepted. But there is growing acceptance. One of the largest online retailers Overstock.com announced intent in accepting Bitcoin in 2014. Furthermore, online store solution providers like Shopify are starting to offer their merchants the option to accept Bitcoin. Lastly, Bitcoin even has an electronic payment processing system, BitPay that enables online merchants to accept Bitcoin payments just as they accept payments from PayPal, Visa or MasterCard. But it has an advantage: it does not charge transaction fees. Just a monthly fee that can vary between USD30-3000 per month.
All this means that if you are an Armenian freelancer or have an online store or is thinking about selling your work or products online, Bitcoin seems to be increasingly becoming a viable e-commerce option to explore. You are able to sell to the whole world, buy from an increasing number of places (both digital and physical) and exchange Bitcoins to a growing number of currencies around the world.
A final note of caution: Bitcoin is still a “startup” and should be considered as an experiment. You may surf this wave or not. Just be aware of the risks.