Re: Enjoying every minute of this
"I don't have any solid evidence for my belief that Bitcoin will eventually crash and burn, just a gut feeling."
As I say, without any kind of timescale, it's not much of prediction - I believe that Bitcoin will _eventually_ crash and burn, but that could be anything from tomorrow to 100 years, or the end of the Universe :)
Do you think it's going to crash and burn (i.e., going to zero, or at least a tiny fraction of today's value) say, within the next 5 years? Or sooner, even?
"It seems to incredibly vulnerable to rampant inflation, you only have to look on eBay to see the silly money that people are bidding. I mean, $1200 for 2 BTC?"
There's nothing special about the price of "1" bitcoin, so there's no intrinsic reason why a Bitcoin at $600 should be expensive or cheap (note that the price on exchanges is around $400 - if people are paying more on ebay, that does seem odd). From the point of view of bitcoin as a currency, it has the curious property of having deflation (I mean, if the value of UKP drops so that prices for us go up, we call that inflation, even though it becomes cheaper for someone to buy UKP with USD).
"The optimism of a few years ago that soon every online retailer would accept Bitcoin doesn't seem to have borne fruit."
Again it's a question of timescale - neither has the prediction that Bitcoin would crash and burn come true. It has grown, and more places accept Bitcoin. Personally I think it's still way too early for mainstream use, but there's still lots of potential for growth. I don't think this will happen very soon (next year or two), but in 10 years, who knows. I think more exchanges are needed as a first step - currently many people (including in the UK) have to do an international transfer to buy/sell Bitcoin, which usually incurs fees, meaning you get lumbered with the worst aspects of ordinary currency, and negating one of the best potential uses of Bitcoin (if I could buy Bitcoin in the UK, I could then trivially send via Bitcoin anywhere in the world without any fees or 3rd parties, and the recipient could then transfer back to their local currency if they choose - there would be the cost of the Bitcoin exchange, but this would be typically far less than currency exchange rate costs, international Bank transfers or Paypal costs; also if Bitcoin was more commonly used, people wouldn't have to transfer to/from other currency).
I think that as people get richer, they start to spend some of their coins to cash in - someone who buys now won't want to spend anything; someone who's seen a 10x increase might decide to at least spend 10%, to recoop their investment. As Bitcoin becomes more mature, presumably the growth will then start to slow.
Also for businesses, the uncertainty over Bitcoin (as well as needing to spend the money) is a reason to sell coins - if a businesses receives payment as Bitcoins, they would presumably convert them to their usual currency to work with the rest of their business operations (a chain of pubs that accepts bitcoins in the UK operates this way - they accept Bitcoin, but these are sold on rather than hoarded). Business owners might decide they want to invest in Bitcoin, but that would be a separate decision for their savings, just like anyone else - people would be less willing to risk their business on it.