I'm new guy to bitcoin. I got to know bitcoin Wednesday(2011-05-25).
As I have been reading a lot on economics, especially Austrian School, I believe bitcoin is the best currency system for the future.
However, as a beginner, I think it's too hard for beginners to get enough bitcoins for real use, especially for those outside USA. I'm in Singapore right now, I bought 7.83 btc at 100 SGD from a guy who sell btc in Singapore online. This price is 20% higher than the offer in Mt Gox. I also suggest my friends to buy some btc for investment. But they think it is too trouble and too risky (they think bitcoin will be banned by the Singapore Government quite soon). Also 7.83 btc is too less for real use. Given that btc is widely accepted in Singapore, what can you buy with just 100 SGD? The guy told me that he could not offer more than 30. That is still not enough for big deals.
Also I have a technical question, yesterday when I trade with the guy, he asked me to sign up a new account on mybitcoin.com, he transfered the btcs to me when we meet. The transfered btcs went to my account immediately. Later I transfered it to the account on my laptop, it took like 4 hours for me to notice the btcs. So anybody who knows how the bitcoin.com realized immediate transfer?
Right now bitcoins are more of a speculative asset like gold than a currency used for purchasing. As more merchants begin to accept bitcoins, the incentive to purchase and use bitcoins for economic transactions will increase, not only driving up demand, but eventually stabilizing the bitcoin price and making the currency less volatile. The dollar, euro and other currencies fluctuate against one another by a few percent a month, if that, largely because you have millions of participants in the market conducting billions of trades and reaching a fairly stable equilibrium on a short erm timescale. This relatively low volatility of major currencies ensures that merchants are comfortable accepting whatever currency as payment and not adjusting prices by the hour or day based on a "real" currency. Price stability will further contribute to the perception that the bitcoin has value more than just its immediate exchange rate. Instead of transactions looking like Mtgox USD->Bitcoin->Someone else for a service->Mtgox USD you'll develop a real, self-contained bitcoin economy where bitcoin->someone for a service->someone for business goods->someone for labor to make business goods-> someone for laborer's expenses->etc, etc. So I think with a merchant push to accept bitcoins we really could see people making real use of bitcoins.