During the 1980s, very few private individuals conducted financial transactions electronically, and the mere ideation that a currency which has no physical presence, let alone the now widespread use of electronic banking, would have been accompanied by certainly more than a mere furrowed brow and a boggled mind.
According to a report by Norwegian news source NRK, a student in Norway bought $27 worth of Bitcoin in March 2009 as part of a university thesis, and made no further investments in the virtual currency, only to find that today, the value has soared to a stratospheric $866,000, further showing the bizarre events that can occur in the increasing digitalization of everyday life.
The 1980s was a decade when pen was put to paper in order to make investments, but the start of an era in which a range of financial products became available to private individuals who, often for the first time, were able to become shareholders, have a privately funded personal pension or even trade the financial markets.
Financial Freedom – By Accident
Whilst governments thirty years ago viewed this new concept of independent investing for the common man as a road to prosperity, and an age of the population taking control of securing its future, national regulatory authorities began to spring up, one of which was the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom, which shortly after its inception began to annotate all forms and printed material which companies presented to their customers with, “Your investment may go down as well as up”.
Norwegian student Kristoffer Koch may not remember those pioneering days of personal investments, and it is certainly fair to say that his recent, very fruitful investing experience has been somewhat different.
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Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Just over four years passed, and in line with any digital phenomenon where the subject has no physical make-up, a series of events have taken place rapidly and have made dramatic changes not only to the usage and legitimacy of Bitcoin, but also to its value.
Mr. Koch now finds himself over $866,000 wealthier from his tiny $27 initial investment which he used to buy 5,000 Bitcoins.
He sat tight as the Cyprus banking crisis unfolded, pushing Bitcoin values to over $246 to 1 Bitcoin, the rise and fall of anonymous market place Silk Road, governments around the world strengthening capital controls causing an upturn in demand for Bitcoin, the demise of Liberty Reserve, the currency’s recognition as a tradable instrument and legitimate currency, and finally last week’s installation of the world’s first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver, British Columbia.
It was indeed the increasing media coverage of the digital currency which reminded Mr. Koch that he still had his Bitcoins, with a report last week by the International Business Times which also denoted the astonishing current value of Mr. Koch’s Bitcoins, reporting that he had completely forgotten about his purchase shortly after buying the virtual currency, so insignificant was his initial outlay and the currency itself at the time.
Subsequent to realizing his capital, Mr. Koch intended to re-invest, this time in a more traditional asset with very much a physical presence: real estate in one of Oslo’s upscale neighborhoods.
Whilst many an investor twenty years Mr. Koch’s senior spent the 1980s researching and reading, making monthly subscriptions to investment, retirement and stock option plans and getting to grips with the new and widely available speculative investment market, Mr. Koch’s accidental investment without forms, banking facilities or even an actual base physical currency, certainly comes without the concern that his investment may go down as well as up – a phrase as obsolete as the form it was once written on.