By Mark Herpel
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Back in the days of the wild west, the United States was brand new, small town business was fresh and unregulated. A person could claim their fortune and leave their mark on just about any industry they desired, granted they had the savvy, smarts and cash to conquer the competition.
Flash forward 180 years to the .com era. Today the Internet is still very fresh and new. With no shortage of creative thinkers or venture capital, the world of private digital currency is certainly still brand new and unregulated by government. Sure the ‘Pinkerton boys’ are trying to shut down online gambling by prohibiting US payment processing but everyone knows, despite some very public ‘arrests’, trains are still being robbed and Pinkerton has a lot to learn.
The Internet currency or digital currency industry is no exception. Its brand new and as of yet just about totally unregulated.
So new and similar to the wild west that independent third party agents which transact between digital currency and fiat currency might even be considered the gunslingers of the ‘electronic wild west’ (the Internet). Literally billions of dollars, yen and euro move back and forth between fiat government issued money and private digital currency without so much as a request by government to keep track of the funds. Not a peep! Its not only the greatest area of the Internet, just like the wild west, its also super profitable (if you are good at your business). Like opening a saloon in Tombstone, an inexperienced operator could lose his shirt in a short time if they were not careful. Beware, the wild west also had its share of scammers, crooks and thieves and they did not use proxies! ‘Bad Men’ they called them back in that time. I think that same title might still ring true today but in a much more watered down characterization.
Third party agents accepting incoming funds are NOT banks. Additionally, since they do not actually issue the ‘digital money’ they are NOT money transmitters and since digital currency is not defined at a ‘currency’ like the Yen or the Euro, agents are NOT required to be money service businesses (MSB). Its the digital wild west and the independent third party agents, as one heavy e-gold user once told me, could be considered the ‘gunslingers’ of the electronic wild west. Their businesses and profits deterred only by the competition and their ability to keep up with the growing demand for their products.
Controlled by few laws, spread out over many jurisdictions and limited only by their ever present online savvy and imagination, third party exchange agents are truly masters of their own domain. Free to crank out as much profit as the market will deliver and almost no where for customers to complain if the business sours. Competition, is all they worry about and market share rules. Sometimes even partnering or buying out another rancher (agent) makes fine business sense. The cattle barons of the wild west would be proud of their continuing tradition across the Internet.
The wild west….what a great time to be alive. Claim your land, pan for gold or open that casino/bar in town and stake your claim to a fast fortune. Potential profits and new ventures were everywhere. The private digital currency Internet today seems no different. In just minutes, anyone can put up a web site, copy some catchy text, paste some affiliate ads and open a online shop with little restrictions. Digital currency agents/vendors experience little or no restrictions on licensing along with thousands of banks around the globe and still dozens of methods for accepting payment transacting. The thrill of the wild west is alive again.