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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Doctors now Taking Payments from bitcoin

Some  say physicians are IT luddites, however there are some indications that a select few are examining other payments that border on bartering.  Bitcoin is bartering in the internet age, where privacy and security have bcome a thing of the past.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency which offers total privacy and anonymity in payments. Explaining how and why it works goes beyond the scope of my blog, other than to offer it's positive impact it may have in this time of health reform, and new business models such as concierge or direct payment models. It remains to be seen whether it is a 'fad' or will become an alternative form of payment, such as PAYPAL.

Lower transaction costs, increased privacy protections lead some practices to accept controversial e-currency.

But it's also getting strong positive attention, especially from Internet thought leaders, because the Bitcoin system, which depends on no centralized authority but rather a loosely affiliated community of techies, offers some key breakthroughs in the areas of information exchange – particularly between parties unknown to each other – and digital cryptography.

The legal status of this so-called cryptocurrency is in flux worldwide, as various policymakers, monetary bodies and tax agencies get up to speed on its true ramifications.

In the meantime, curious people can still educate themselves and explore this new payment alternative without fear and in relative safety. Doctors who have taken bitcoins have found that doing so is both simple and relatively "unmagical," as San Francisco physician Paul Abramson, MD, put it.

Abramson, founder of My Doctor Medical Group, is a former software programmer and trained electrical engineer with a significant personal interest in privacy.

Bitcoin will only be attractive to 'techies' for the time being. and there are caveats for users intent on the new system of bitcoin.

Bitcoin has been a subject of scrutiny due to ties with illicit activity. In 2013, the US FBIshut down the Silk Road online black market and seized 144,000 bitcoins worth US$28.5 million at the time.[9] The US is considered Bitcoin-friendly compared to other governments, however.[10] In China, new rules restrict bitcoin exchange for local currency,[11] and the European Banking Authority has warned that Bitcoin lacks consumer protections,[12] Bitcoins can be stolen, and chargebacks are impossible.[13]
Commercial use of Bitcoin, illicit or otherwise, is currently small compared to its use byspeculators, which has fueled price volatility.[14] Bitcoin as a form of payment for products and services has seen growth, however, and merchants have an incentive to accept the currency because transaction fees are lower than the 2–3% typically imposed by credit card processors.[15]

There are many unanswered questions about the new "currency"

Many bitcoin enthusiasts  are particularly excited about the existence of a relatively secure currency that is not controlled by a government or other central authority.

Rather, the Bitcoin system is managed by software and mathematical principles, and is made possible by a peer-to-peer network that shares the burden of tracking bitcoins to ensure nobody counterfeits any, or spends the same bitcoin twice.

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