A few threads regarding inherent value and the nature of currencies got me thinking. Most bitcoin proponents agree that, much like the other great game changers of the past century or so, bitcoin will require, and result, in a paradigm shift.
I propose that the shift comes in the vestments of a duality... the currency/commodity duality.
This resonates with me, as I clearly remember the moment I understood the particle/wave duality in physics, much in the same way other people remember where they were when JFK was shot.
There seem to be two distinct camps in the bitcoin world, and ever so slowly, they are converging, though much to their respective dismay.
Some see it as a currency, they want more stores that accept BTC, more website and services that one can buy with BTC. They also tend to want bitcoin to remain generally stable, or even come down in price, in order to make it more appealing to merchants who otherwise will need to constantly adjust their prices to match those in fiat currencies.
Others treat bitcoin as a commodity. You can keep them in the hopes that their value will rise, not just versus other currencies, but in terms of their own purchasing power as well.
The currency camp sees the commodity camp as a threat ("the speculators are killing bitcoin's chances of establishing itself as a true currency")... the commodity camp hates the fact that the currency camp actively tries to dampen the price of BTC, which is the exact opposite of what they want.
May I suggest, the true change when it comes to bitcoin is that it is BOTH a currency and a commodity? If I owned an ounce of gold, and could magically punch numbers on my keyboard and send you 0.00023 of an ounce, which you would receive instantly, would that be a currency? If I was an inhabitant of the Yap Islands and could magically send you 0.000012 grammes of my family's stone, would that be a commodity?
The beauty, and the elegance of bitcoin lies precisely in that it is a commodity that can act as a currency, or a currency that can act as a commodity, much in the same way that an electron is a particle that behaves like a wave or a wave that behaves like a particle, depending on which side of the double slit you're on.
The sooner we all agree on this duality (which ironically is the true SINGUlarity of the bitcoin experiment), the easier it will be to come together as a group and the greater the chances for bitcoin to succeed. The price shoots up? Who cares? Some smart person out there will come up with a solution that will allow merchants to still accept BTC as payment, even if the exchange rate changes several times an hour. That, in turn, will raise its value and comfort those holding BTC, who will feel free to spend it, because it's easier to spend 0.0034 BTC on a can of coke than it is to exchange 0.0034 BTC for 1.25 USD to buy the can.
Then again, the particle wave duality in physics has been with us for the better part of a century and I'm willing to be most people on the street still haven't grasped it... so we have our work cut out for us.
And we really need that philosophy board