Could cryptocurrency be considered ‘good money’?
In our previous two posts on the topic of cryptocurrency, we learned what blockchain and cryptocurrency is and briefly examined the technological leaps it had made over the past decade.
In this post we shift our focus back to GOOD MONEY, by asking the question – does cryptocurrency really cover all the criteria necessary to be considered ‘good’ money?
Let’s revisit the criteria – one at a time.
- A Store of Value
This is the most contentiously argued point in regard to cryptocurrency being considered ‘good money’.
Some argue there is simply no store of value for a unit of cryptocurrency whatsoever, and its price is merely a result of speculation. I do not accept this premise.
There is an inherent value in the computing infrastructure which runs the individual blockchains. There is value derived from the skills, efforts and energies of those actively maintaining and developing the capabilities of these cryptocurrency networks and platforms.
There is value being created by those developing the applications to tap into these blockchains.
There is ultimately value being derived from the use and adoption.
I will accept the argument that if the internet fails and the world stops producing electricity, and as such cryptocurrencies have no value. However, the likelihood of this happening in our modern world is so extremely minute – it is a poor argument. Besides, if for some reason we lost the internet or our ability to produce electricity on a global scale – we would have much bigger problems to worry about than how we access our cryptocurrency tokens.
Finally, it is argued that the creation of new tokens at a rate in excess of the growth of the participation in that particular blockchain will be value destructive, similar to the destruction in the value of the dollar. However, unlike dollars, blockchain currency expansion can be easily monitored and the market is able to adjust prices accordingly.
So I would argue, YES, cryptocurrency can be a store of value. Especially those cryptocurrencies which end up being highly utilised and responsibly governed.
- Scarce and difficult to create
Within an individual cryptocurrency network, all tokens can be seen and are only ever created as per the rules of that blockchain. The rules of an individual blockchain can be altered. However, this is transparent for all involved and therefore the market can reprice tokens based on the changes.
In cryptocurrency, inflation is measured in its true sense – as the expansion of the token supply. So unlike dollars, where nobody knows how many dollars are actually in circulation – cryptocurrencies are very much a known quantity and inflation can be measured with 100% accuracy.
It is true that new cryptocurrency blockchains can be created quite easily. Creation of a new cryptocurrency though is akin to the creation of a new monetary system, not inflation of the current. There is no guarantee that this new monetary system will be adopted though and new cryptocurrencies do act as competition for the existing. Which is not a bad thing in that it is keeping the blockchain engineers and application developers busy constructing bigger and better financial ecosystems.
- Generally acceptable.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are growing in acceptance. It is believed that over 20 million people worldwide are using Bitcoin and other currencies on a regular basis. More and more desktop and mobile wallet applications are being developed to facilitate quick and easy trade.
Some countries are considered to be very friendly toward cryptocurrency based trade and business development. Some of these countries include: Malta; Switzerland; Singapore; Honk Kong; Japan Belarus; and, Estonia.
We have had indications out of Russia and China that they are working on their own national cryptocurrencies, which in itself would compel acceptance.
There has been speculation that Chinese and Russian cryptocurrency tokens might be backed by their national gold reserves – which would resolve any question around ‘Store of Value’.
The concept of a gold backed cryptocurrency would freely encourage mass adoption, quickly becoming an accepted and desirable medium of exchange. It is for this reason that I do not speculate in Bitcoin. A gold backed cryptocurrency, where say a single cryptocurrency token could be exchanged for a gram of gold, might end Bitcoin’s appeal very quickly.
A decentralised cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin has no single point of failure as it is run on computers all over the world simultaneously.
Furthermore, a Bitcoin held on the Bitcoin blockchain belongs only to the one who holds the private key to the account. Meaning the Bitcoin is not the liability of a bank or other third party. As such, we should consider cryptocurrency to be trustless.
- Durable and indestructible
As mentioned previously, Bitcoin is the most powerful decentralised computer network on the planet. It would be virtually impossible for a hacker, company or government to bring down the network. This makes Bitcoin virtually indestructible. There is no reason that other blockchains will not be constructed with similar or even enhanced durability and indestructibility features.
Accessing your cryptocurrency can be as easy as carrying around a unique 50 digit password in your pocket. This password can be easily carried anywhere in the world.
To access the cryptocurrency you simply need a PC or mobile phone wallet. Establishing a wallet is now as easy as downloading a free Android or App Store app. Try setting up a bank account this quickly.
Yes! Generally speaking a cryptocurrency can be divided up into smaller units – often utilising between 4-6 decimal places.
- Homogenous and fungible
Yes! Every Bitcoin is the same as every other Bitcoin on that blockchain. Other blockchains are similar in that their native tokens are identical.
It is clear that ‘cryptocurrency’ may have all the characteristics of ‘good money’, yet as established previously, ‘fiat currencies‘ do not. For this very reason it is possible that those in government, banking and finance will attempt to regulate cryptocurrency and/or discredit it. Afterall, if you were allowed to print all the currency you wanted to – wouldn’t you try to put a stop to a competing system, which does not?
Regardless, the world of blockchain is here to stay and the disruption to the established monetary and banking systems will be total.
Instantaneous and free international transactions will be available on trustless and infallible payment systems.
Public blockchains, private blockchains and national blockchains are all possibilities. Blockchains with physical backing of precious metals and other commodities and resources are likely to emerge.
The winners and losers with regard to blockchain is the unknown. However, over the next 10 years expect that the complete replacement of current systems will take place. And for the Financial Awakened – there will be a smorgasbord of opportunities.
In coming posts we will look at some of the opportunities which have already begun to arise. Please be sure to subscribe.