Get set for a new relationship with a different type of money.
You’re about to witness a historical moment. We are on the verge of society shifting to a different type of currency. Historically, we’ve seen the change from gold replacing barter, and paper money replacing gold, but now Bitcoin — along with other cryptocurrencies — are going to replace paper money.
With a flood of professional money going into Bitcoin to make the currency more legit, we also get an easy way to short it thanks to the futures market. So, is it a bubble ready to pop or is there plenty more steam? How many more dinner party investors will chip in a few bucks to keep the growth line pointing skywards? And what’s the likelihood of entire populations jumping onboard because their own economy is in ruins? Hello Venezuela.
Keep in mind, god created economists to make meteorologists look good, so reading the experts commentary gives no clarity. The only thing I do know is, the CBOE futures step is one more step into the mainstream and a significant step towards where cryptocurrencies can play a new role in our relationship with money.
The key to each currency change has been that the replacement solved a problem inherent with the physical properties of the incumbent. For example, a major driver in Sweden to go to an e-krona is because of the energy intensive resources it takes to make, use and circulate physical cash. Cryptocurrencies will solve other problems common to physical cash, such as no limits printing, forgery and other criminally inspired activities, both performed by governments and heavy set guys called Mario.
Back to basics, classic economics is all about supply and demand. The global demand for money (our debt) is $200 trillion. The total amount of cryptocurrencies is (at time of writing) $200 billion. You can eliminate about 90% to 98% of these as scams or unsustainable, so that leaves a lot of room for cryptocurrencies to play a new and vital role in society by replacing established Fiat currencies. I believe that role will focus on community building on a global scale with many impacts we can’t comprehend, and that’s the exciting part. If you are a government, you’re not feeling excited, it’s fear.
A major difference between ‘real’ money and the new crypto, is that Fiat underpins an economy, whereas cryptocurrency underpins an idea. If that can change, where the cryptocurrency underpins a community driven by a purpose, my next thought is what if that community was global and was driven by the currency, totally transcending borders.
Thinking back to 1993 and the advent of ‘the internet’ most of us had little idea about the role that would play, mostly because we could not think that big. Now you can say stuff such as “cryptocurrencies will be the largest shift in money and wealth in our lifetimes,” and no-one will batter an eyelid, you might even get accused of underselling the vision.
Now that we have all learned to think far grander than any other generation, let’s turn attention to the use of blockchain as a major fuel for communities with a purpose. My own prediction is that we have the power to create a global community using a token to enrich participant lives with a shared experience, connecting with other people and also enriching themselves by helping the token grow in value.
In this regard, a brand plays a supporting role, not dictating the terms of engagement but allowing the participants of the community to explore a new world of experiences, ideas and achievements. It is the brand’s responsibility to make that world engaging, desirable and complete or else the community will desert it.
This is the ultimate expression of consumer power, to participate is a vote of confidence and in return, the participant earns rewards and generates wealth, lifting the entire community. Alternatively, if the value is not there, the whole thing collapses. There is no middle ground, as Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
The whole decentralised thing goes psycho when you understand that Joe Public can directly buy currency that powers blockchains, making this moment in time very special. This is as if the general population are investing in the building of the internet during its infancy.
As with change, the accelerator can be slammed down with sudden and violent moments or events. If you think what I have written so far is fanciful, then please consider the following, which are seismic change agents, thrusting cryptocurrencies mainstream to play a vital role with communities.
- Mainstream finance systems and institutions make the switch and accept the change. With entire countries looking at their own digital currency, you will see banks accepting bitcoin, and offer storage and software access, just as they offer vaults and security deposit boxes.
- China will continue to denounce bitcoin because it can’t control it, but will most certainly do something profound with another cryptocurrency. When that happens, all cryptocurrencies will get a supercharge, some more than others.
- Harking back to 1993, the shake-up on new start-ups will be the same but on steroids. Alt-coins will be slaughtered but also in a highly condensed period of time. The thinning of the herd will be brutal, only because most of the herd should never have been conceived in the first place. Survivors will thrive and new entrants can scale at an unbelievable pace.
- When the economies of countries such as Argentina and Venezuela collapse, bitcoin will be the currency of choice for the citizens. If you’re betting on bitcoin futures, perhaps bet for the up and watch the news carefully. We have seen how black markets in Africa are based on USD, but bitcoin can take that to another level entirely.
- There will be less power for national governments to enforce tax. With global communities numbering in the size of countries themselves, the flow of wealth will be nigh impossible to track, placing a massive conundrum on national policy making; to come down hard or allow innovation to blossom? That’s a serious question.
- Having seen the power of internet completely change government telecom monopolies, the same will happen with government-backed money and the incumbent supply industry. Expect news about massive 100 year old companies simply no longer being needed.