Opinion piece from Greg Thomas
Blockchain. Bitcoin. Dogecoin. Ethereum. Crypto.
So many new words to learn, so little time! I’ve been trying for weeks to learn more and more about cryptocurrencies, and every time I think I understand it a little bit more, some new bit of information comes in that confuses me more. But more than that, I feel there are some critical long-term questions that just aren’t being asked (or at least not divulged to the general public).
I mean, I get that it has value because we say it has value. That concept can be a tough one for some, but basically, the U. S. dollar has value because the world believes it has value, right? I remember the hyperinflation crisis in Venezuela just a few years ago when some estimated rates went as high as 87,000% (not a typo). With inflation so rampant, a cup of coffee in 2019 rose from 0.45 to 1,700.00 to eventually 2,000,000.00 bolivars (the Venezuelan currency). Excess money printing doesn’t really work when your currency no longer has any more value than the paper it’s printed on (or data it’s encrypted with).
So, we’re in a volatile, but growing cryptocurrency market where there will inevitably be winners and losers, as “faith” in one currency over another takes hold. Ok. Everyone following along? Tell me if I’m way wrong with this.
What I don’t quite get is how does all of this trickle down to the little guy long term? Millions (probably billions) of people are being left out of this process even as crypto grows in popularity. If the end game is to have banks cease to exist and everything is done with the collective faith behind bitcoin or whatever currency “THE currency” ends up being, how do we not end up with just a handful of oligarchs that control all of the “money” in the world?
My mom certainly isn’t buying crypto or mining for coins or whatever. Neither is my sister, or aunt, or most people I run into every day. Will the minimum wage be eliminated because governments no longer control dollars and it’s set at whatever the oligarchs who now control the currency say it is? Do they actually end up running governments, too, because they control all of the money and decide who gets what, so who’s going to say no to them? Does it even matter, because they’re all moving to Mars eventually anyway?
I’m not trying to fearmonger here, I’m just trying to better understand the long-term implications. I’ve read countless articles, listened to dozens of hours of podcasts, watched financial news segments about all of this, and I don’t recall a single time any of these questions even be asked (well, maybe the Mars one).
I’ve been worried for a few years now about what happens when the robots take over most of our jobs. Maybe it’s a concern for my daughter or her kids and not for me, but I barely even hear the question brought up. It’s always about what’s happening now, never the long term (insert climate crisis parallels here). I see the same thing with crypto. Lots of conversations about the day-to-day, week-to-week, but never the decade-to-decade.
What does our world look like in 2050? 2075? 2100?
It’ll be here sooner than you think.
Article originally posted on May 15th 2021 at: https://greg-thomas.medium.com/i-dont-understand-cryptocurrency-d2ca3762954c