This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Scrutinizing The Real Threat Of Virtual Money

Stocks in this article: AXPDFSEBAYMAV

CHRIS LAU, KAPITALL: After peaking at around $240, Bitcoin last traded at around $120.50. Investors may view the Bitcoin as a case study for being in a bubble, but there is real need for the currency in some circumstances. Bitcoin does not have a store of value like gold, but it may be used to exchange for goods, real currency, and is in limited supply. Conversely, some world currencies are becoming endlessly available, hurting their worth. For example, Japan announced a quantitative easing program that aims to depreciate its currency. [More from Chris Lau:  4 Semiconductors to Watch Ahead of Earnings Report]

mtgox

Chart Source: Mtgox

The possibility that Bitcoin is a threat to the credit card was asked by Discover Financial Services (DFS). Wall Street Journal reported the CEO said:

“I guess I would be a little surprised if Bitcoins actually had an effect…on us over time.”

Discover is partnering with EBay’s (EBAY) PayPal, which will allow PayPal users to use their phone number to make payments to stores that accept Discover cards.

For now, Bitcoin is in the early phase of attracting online merchants. Its competitive edge over traditional financial houses is that it helps users avoid transaction fees charged by credit card companies.

Business Section: Investing Ideas

MasterCard (MA), Visa (V), and American Express (AXP) would be hurt if Bitcoin were to gain traction. The card companies would need to lower transaction fees or provide additional incentive as a response. Traction would only rise if demand and supply dynamics were to favor the use of Bitcoins. More merchants would need to embrace Bitcoins, while more consumers would need to accept the risks of using the “currency” in favor of avoiding fees.

In the chart below, the card companies are valued with a price of profit (or “POP”) of between 14 and 21. Investors do not expect Bitcoin to be much of a threat:

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,805.41 +127.51 0.76%
S&P 500 1,964.58 +13.76 0.71%
NASDAQ 4,483.7150 +30.9230 0.69%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs