Bitcoin: In Crypto We Trust?
It's “reality check” time - again.
Cryptocurrency is not actual money -- it's functional money.
We can't just listen to the programmers and anti-capitalist group “We are Anonymous.” Some of these guys/gals are good, some are radicals. It's obvious that the information wars, the misinformation and disinformation campaigns, are in full force.
But cryptocurrency is not the perfect “money.” It is not even the perfect “currency” or is it?
Bitcoin is, however, a near perfect lesson - about how code can substitute for checks. Checks written or debits made or credits obtained -- all based upon fiat money.
The problem or perhaps the next step, will be when cryptocurrency itself retains value -- long term. When fiat money is no longer required to support the system of private digital monies. It is going that way now. Digital monies creeping up on ten years of value.
So the lesson is that we "the people" can create an encrypted monetary ecosystem which cannot be manipulated. A resilient, person-to-person, fiat e-currency, immune to fickle governments. Immune to us.
An irredeemable currency, as it were.
Once the block-chain becomes obsolete, however, and that will happen at some point, then the next alternative currency will have been born.
And hopefully, it will not owned by the Chinese.
Supernova - Artistically Rendered
Then there is the supernova theory.
A stellar explosion which briefly outshines the entire galaxy, according to Wikipedia. But in this case, the comparison is rather minor, because bitcoin has not yet fully shined.
If one looks at bitcoin's past, this stage may have occurred already, when the value exceeded, very briefly, over $1200 dollars each. Like a supernova, bitcoin's energy was expelled for a brief period of time and we are now watching as the residual bitcoin energy fades into oblivion...or are we? So here we go again. Into the great beyond. Perhaps as posited, to over $40,000 a coin?
Is this just a maturation stage? A waiting period. A minor plateau on way to Mt. Everest, before we strap on our oxygen bottles and head for nose bleed territory?
Will Bitcoin remain in the top spot for the foreseeable future?
Will Monero replace Bitcoin as the leading Cryptocurrency?
Will DASH become the preeminent Cryptocurrency?
Monday, August 24, 2015, marked the beginning of the upward tick for Bitcoin, but only a tick. From the $200 range bitcoins pushed to $500 each. Then they slipped back to lower territory – again.
As of this update the upward pattern or revaluation is holding above $7,000 (U.S.).
This pattern is not like a stock, but it is similar.
Monero began its serious climb after August of 2016. They currently trade for over $100.00 each.
DASH, long bashed by the alleged purists of cryptocurrency, has steadily risen in value. It currently trades at over $70.00 each. DASH's latest upturn began in January of 2016. A year long uptrend, once exceeding over $100, per coin. Now they trade in the $300 range.
Company stocks can rise in value and then fade, but the underlying substance, at least for some types of stocks, are voting rights in that company. Note, however, that many stocks and bonds are parceled out in the form of mutual funds or ETF's, where the voting rights remain with the investment houses. Individual investors – you and me – just hope to earn a tidy profit in 20 or 30 years.
In Dash, there is a voting system. Not in Monero or Bitcoin, however. Not exactly.
We are told that companies mature and their stocks stabilize in value – or grow slowly. We are told to look for that slow and sure growth. Dash?
We are told to ignore the fact that the dollar is devaluing and all the American companies, along with it. At least the ones that remain in America. The companies that flee are chased by Uncle Sam, as he tries ever so gently, to shove worthless fiat bills down their throats.
We are told not to worry about the "helicopter money."
Is Ancient Rome an example?
Speculation about the next great 'Bitcoin Bubble' is all over the blogs. Each time Bitcoin gathers a head of steam, the pundits climb on board the train and argue with each other. The Bulls and Bears cheer and jeer, respectively.
Will Bitcoins reach $40,000 each? According to some they will go higher. Others cite the supernova scenario.
What of a stable value? What of blocksize? Slow transactions? The Chinese? Litecoin? Ripple?
The “Gold Bugs bash Bitcoin as just another fiat currency. They have a valid point, but they also forget the value of the blockchain accounting system. Why can't such a system be used to verify ownership of assets? Actually, this has already been accomplished, but not in a big way.
Ethereum is one such an example. They could issue company stocks on their “blockchain.” Now just imagine for a moment, if their “blockchain” forks? (For the lay person this means that their software just failed and this still occurs within these types of systems.) What happens to your stock?
Ethereum has had its share of problems. Manipulation of offshoots, what some call side-chains, to move (not steal) coins. One can use Ethereum Classic instead.
Gold Bugs don't need to worry about “forks” just confiscation by governments and thieves. The terms “governments” and “thieves” are often interchangeable, of course.
The government fiat-currency buffs are the biggest hurdle to innovations like bitcoin. They begin their morning prayers to John Maynard Keynes, the dead economist responsible for the fiat based currency system we presently use.
They fill us with 'concerns' that these new technologies can compromise banking systems. And they, the investigative arms of nations, do have valid points -- as they apply to state run, state controlled, banking systems. But, crypto is private.
I might add that many of us feel we use the current government fiat currencies, involuntarily, i.e., fiscal-slavery-lite.
Bitcoin has no father, as some have put it.
It is like gold, a physical thing, in that respect, but it is not physical. We know there is about 363,762,732 pounds of gold on earth, at last count, according to Google - on November 9, 2015.
We know about how many Bitcoins will be “mined.” About 21,000,000 give or take. But the similarities end there.
Will this next Bitcoin surge cause the entire ecosystem to burst like an over-inflated fiat currency or will the world finally stand up and take notice?
Could Bitcoin implode, like some fantastical singularity – an intelligent one as some worry - leaving not a trace of itself and millions of “Bag Holders” staring into space-time?
Some Bitcoiners will even tell you that money is 'time' and Bitcoin is analogous to a big clock.
To optimists, pouring millions of dollars into bitcoin, this is proof positive of its stability. Not to mention yen, yuan, pounds, and various other fiat currencies flowing in.
If the current influx of fiat monies continues its pace, Bitcoin will continue to exchange over a billion dollars each week.
To the average international bank, this is peanuts. But these exchanges are taking place over automated and decentralized systems (software) anybody can download and use...or not download, but still use.
That makes all the difference. Virtually no 'overhead.' Streamlined. Efficient in a lot of ways. But is is very slow when compared to the current financial systems. Ten minutes? Two hours? Just how long does a transaction really take?
Say no to the "Download"
Downloading is another problem. Nobody is in charge of the Bitcoin Software. A group – a community of sorts – must come together to “update” the software. Then we, the users, must either swallow the “update” or move on.
And the software is slow to load the blockchain. It takes days...
In other words, human cooperation becomes the new “gold standard.”
Interesting, isn't it?
Unless...like what is happening currently, one nation assumes control. China, for example.
There are five good reasons Cryptocurrency will continue to surge - worldwide:
- Over-Regulation: Countries are making crypto illegal or over-regulating it. When things become illegal, supplies constrict and millions of people who wish to keep using or buying the thing cause the price to elevate.
- Excessive Debt: Countries are mired in enormous amounts of debt – and we don't trust their currencies. We don't know when the next country will go bankrupt. Once they do, the contagion spreads. Fiat-currencies devalue. Prices rise. The countries then 'pump' more fiats into the ever failing Keynesian Model.
- Current Weakness of Gold(?): Valuable or other base metals are not performing as well as they could be, owing to the economic slowdown and manipulation. As industry slows, the economy is obviously on the skids. Gold, silver, copper have all experienced unusual drops in value. Historically, it appears to be an inverse bubble. When compared to the underlying fiat-currencies, gold and silver should be much higher. Many gold bugs and sound money theorists place the blame squarely upon the misplaced trust in the dollar. Also – a misplaced trust in cryptocurrency. Once the people realize their error, as the sound money supporters state, gold will seek its rightful and high price, relative to a failing fiat-currencies – they hope. (Or are we in some new monetary paradigm?)
- Confiscation: Gold can and has been confiscated by governments. This is crux of the “Gold Problem.” In short, sound money theorists cite gold's long history of hard value. They rarely bring up the fact that when gold re-values and currencies crash, governments react by confiscating the gold and reissuing fiat-currencies. Gold is also heavy, must be insured, and cannot be transferred online in the U.S.A. (Bitgold -- now GoldMoney, the company, has solved this problem in Canada. But it is not a decentralized blockchain. It's just another method to invest in gold.)
- Privatization: Private currencies are very difficult to steal. Governments can't make “private” currency or necessarily confiscate it. The fact that governments cannot control the number of fiat-Bitcoins being issued (mined), traded, and transferred, is a deal-breaker when it comes to the adoption of private-cryptos. Monero and DASH are the primary players in this area. Zcash is attempting to play, but is struggling.
The fact that people, the world over, trust cryptocurrency certainly bothers many governments. Governments, most of them, need to retain their ability to 'make' currency – since most don't really make 'money.'
If the value of cryptocurrency advances, then how will this change government-fiat currencies? Will they devalue, if crypto becomes a household word? No doubt.
Over-regulation is a key factor. The more government entities attempt to curtail innovation, that less innovation there will be. Cryptocurrency is innovation. That's why governments are imitating the “blockchain” software. Nobody (okay – almost nobody) trusts government, however.
Government investigations and the general economic malaise worldwide, are other examples recent cyptocurrency investment disinterest. Why jump into a quagmire of rules, regulations, ad infinitum, unless the profit potential outweighs the risk? Cash or dollars are easier to use, but far less private.
Maybe the Chinese are fleeing their monetary system in droves, but should other countries follow suit?
Perhaps the biggest hurdle, given all of the bad press, however, is trust. Specifically, cryptocurrency trust. The “fear factor” is alive and well within the "crypto-sphere." This is a sobering fact.
If and when Bitcoin goes “Supernova” is the big question. An expanding ecosystem, where a Bitcoin fiat currency valuates too quickly, could lead to such a phenomena – just as it does in nature.
Bitcoin is unstable. Instability does not last in nature. Neither do good intentions.
But...shall we say "In Crypto We Trust" ???
© 2015 Jack Shorebird