OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Heard of bitcoin? The virtual currency is described as “cash” for the internet and it’s gaining popularity.
One woman who has heard of it is Susan Hamilton.
Hamilton knows you can use a bitcoin to pay for online games, but was taken by surprise when she heard the cyber money can now be used to pay for surgeries here in Oklahoma.
Doctor Keith smith who runs the Surgery Center of Oklahoma says bitcoins are now accepted as a way for their patients to pay their bill. ” If a patient offered to pay in bitcoin then I would accept it. I believe it’s becoming more mainstream and much more accepted.”
Bitcoins work like ATMs.
Infact, there are new ATM machines to purchase the virtual currency, bitcoin.
There are different apps and vendors that sell the virtual currency. But many are asking, how do you get them?
Let’s say one bitcoin costs $500 dollars, you deposit the amount of money online or in an “ATM” for one bit coin worth 500 bucks.
Soon after that, the bitcoin is transferred to you in your personal online wallet with its own digital square.
The benefit to bitcoins is you don’t have to carry cash or cards.
All you need is your smart phone with the “Bitcoin” app.
But every good thing has a downside.
The value of one bitcoin changes, much like the value of gold.
Jonathan Willner an OCU Economics Professor says “Some days the thing just drops like a stone and some days it goes up, the best explanation for it is mob psychology.”
Something else to keep in mind, unlike traditional currencies bitcoin is not regulated by the feds.
Susan Hamilton says that fact worries her, ” I don’t think you should have anything that’s marketable like that doesn’t have somebody kind of watching out for consumers.”
Doctor Smith has a positive outlook on the future of bitcoins. “Alternative currencies I think are something we’ll see more of I don’t think bit coin is the last one of these well see I think well see many, many more,” says Smith.