Hi, I run CoinForest.com a bitcoin based ecommerce store, I also write regularly on trends related to Bitcoin, and have been published on Forbes.com.
Here are the places to keep an eye on for things as they emerge:
This page will get you all the news you need. Any big news like a major bank report will almost always make it to the top there.
Is often just behind Reddit, with a bit more analysis on it.
Bitcoin magazine tends to have longer articles, with some more in depth analysis around all aspects of the Bitcoin world, including politics, mining, business, and is especially a great resource for explaining technical aspects of the Bitcoin protocol.
The Genesis Block tends to focus on technical analysis of trends in mining and economics, and they do a damn good job of it.
Those are the places to monitor. I have a sense that you're perhaps looking for some reports by financial institutions. Here are a few articles about major institutions comments and analysis on Bitcoin:
I don't give investment advice, but if you'd like an overview of things, I'd be happy to talk.
I've been tackling this question from a particular angle for the last 6 months.
Depending on your market, accepting Bitcoin may provide a meaningful value add to your customers, particularly if you're willing to provide a discount to them. That's fair, because the processing fees for a bitcoin transaction or miniscule compared to any other alternative aside from cash.
I've also done extensive comparison between the major payment processors bitpay and coinbase.
If you have any questions about this avenue, fire me a message. Let's talk.
I've been running a business focused on Bitcoin commerce and popularizing Bitcoin for 6 months.
I believe that the opportunities in mining are mostly past for current entrants in the space.
The opportunities to earn large capital gains through the increased valuation of speculative investments in bitcoin are certainly there, though very high risk.
Opportunities for earning cash flow, either in bitcoins or dollars, by providing services to bitcoin users are huge however, and provide the option of derisking by holding some of your income in dollars and some in bitcoin.
Current areas which have been hugely successful for some players are:
1) Bitcoin exchanges (bitstamp, mt. gox, btc-e)
2) Hosted online wallets/banks (coinbase, blockchain.info)
3) Bitcoin payment processing for e-commerce (bitpay, coinbase)
4) Gambling (Satoshi dice, satoshi circle, justdice)
1) eCommerce - Gyft is killing it, by acting almost as a point of sale exchange into gift cards. Opportunities are available for sellers willing to give discounts based on the expectation that bitcoin's value will rise.
2) Remittance - That is, moving money internationally. In some ways, Bitcoin handles this itself and will get better as exchanges with decent volume are developed for more local currencies. Though there is probably a great opportunity for a company that can use Bitcoin to make moving money from one country to another effortlessly. I really can't see how Western Union isn't totally screwed. Even if it adopted bitcoin, it would have to reduce it's cost structure tremendously to keep up with new entrants.
3) Safe storage - Bitcoin thefts from online wallets are still rampant. If you could create a wallet with the convenience of online, and guarantee, even INSURE peoples savings. You will win. Though that is a very hard thing to do.
4) More payment processing, specifically automated. Parking meters, laundromats, coke machines. It might be too early for that yet, but it could be pretty big.
That's enough for now. I've learned a lot from my time in the business, and am in contact with many of the major players.
Shoot me a line if you'd like to learn more.
I've been running a bitcoin only e-commerce business for 6 months now.
Previous currencies might have involved cryptography, but not to the extent that Bitcoin employs it.
What is special about it, is that the cryptographic schemes behind Bitcoin allows it to be DECENTRALIZED. There is no company, or body that can be swayed into changing the allocation of the currency. The bitcoin protocol is truly impressive in the way that it is almost it's own autonomous institution, providing value to humanity, and thus being supported by human activity.
Here's a brief run down of how it works, with some shortcuts.
1. "Bitcoin" is a decentralized means of tracking and assigning wealth or economic value. Bitcoin is a software protocol, computer network, idea, community, movement, etc.
2. A "bitcoin" is a unit of the currency that is moved around by the Bitcoin network.
3. Central to Bitcoin is a public ledger, known as the Block Chain. Roughly every 10 minutes, a new "block" is added to this chain or ledger. This ledger records all of the transaction that have taken place in the last 10 minutes, and what quantities of bitcoin currency are now held at different public addresses.
4. A public address is a a 27 to 34 character string of uppercase, lowercase letters and the digits from 0 to 9. AKA base 58.
5. Each public address has a corresponding private key. Whoever has this key, may spend the coins that are held at this private address. Private keys are 51 characters long in the same format as a public address.
6. To spend an amount of bitcoin, you must use your private key to cryptographically sign the transaction, sending your bitcoin to another address.
7. This message or transaction is then broadcast to the network, and the computers in the network begin working to write into the block chain (or public ledger) that your address no longer has the amount that was sent, but that that amount is now held at the receiving address.
8. Each new set of transaction is recorded on the block chain, every 10 minutes as mentioned above.
9. All of the computers that are working to write new blocks to the block chain, are known as miners.
10. These computers are all racing to solve a cryptographic puzzle, which is required to write the new block.
11. The computer that solves the puzzle, and writes the new block receives an award of newly created bitcoin.
12. The reward associated with each block began at 50 in 2009, is now 25, and will halve every 4 years, until an ultimate quantity of 21 million bitcoin are created.
13. This transparency is a large part of the value created by Bitcoin, in that the rate of creation, and current amount in existence is known.
That is my best attempt at translating what has taken me months to wrap my head around, and the implications go much further. I'm happy to answer other questions about Bitcoin; the system, the community, or business challenges and opportunities associated with it.