The cult of cryptocurrency has to be one of the saltiest I have ever seen. Many speak as if Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) is sacrosanct, where no one dare tread with counterpoints that diminish this seemingly sweet mana from the utopian heaven for rich hopefuls. The crypto-crowd will tell you all sorts of things about this digital investment. They will say it is money. They say it is a store of value. But what is it really? And are there any historical parallels to which we can compare it? But before I go any further I would be remiss if I didn’t address the elephant in the room that is the 1996 NSA white paper that alludes to the NSA’s involvement in the creation of what we today call cryptocurrency and the blockchain. And there has never been a single shred of evidence of a “Satoshi Nakamoto” (the person credited with creating Bitcoin), so right off the bat we are dealing with a whole lot of shade. I will be focusing on Bitcoin in this post because it is by far the most popular crypto, so back to the discussion.
Is Bitcoin a store of value? In it’s current state the answer is no. Bitcoin had a meteoric rise hitting $20,000 per token on December 17, 2017 and then crashed by more than 2/3 it’s value down to $6,000 on February 6, 2018 (7 weeks). Something that can go up thousands of percent and then lose 70% of it’s value in less than a year, is safe to say, not stable enough to be considered a safe haven or a store of value. This is where a lot of the crypto cult have proven to be completely full of shit because they trade cryptos like day traders for dollar gains, treating it for what it really is, a speculation. And that’s totally fine, just don’t tell us how it is a store of value when the longest amount of time you “stored” it, was a year and a half.
Is Bitcoin money? No. Neither is it a true currency, at least not yet. Bitcoin has to be converted into dollars before goods and services can be rendered. So it might be a while before your doctor starts demanding payment in it or the IRS for that matter. So if it doesn’t come from a government treasury it’s likely neither money or currency. Gold, which I consider a store of value is also not a currency because I have to find a buyer for it and get dollars in exchange before I can buy anything. So what is Bitcoin if it’s not money/currency or a store of value?
Bitcoin is a speculative digital asset. Bitcoin is only worth what another fellow crypto speculator is willing to give you for it. Bitcoin was open sourced in January 2009 so it is not even a decade old. When you couple it’s infancy along with its instability, it doesn’t exactly speak to confidence. There may only be 23 million Bitcoin tokens, but there is no limit to how many times it can branch, and the tokens are fractionalized based on how much you buy. At the time of this writing Bitcoin is $7499.96 on Coinmarketcap.com and the minimum purchase today is around $60.00 U.S., so that means you could buy 1/125th of a Bitcoin token if you wanted to. So enough background on Bitcoin, let’s get to my big concern.
Are cryptocurrencies the new company scrip? Company Scrip is a substitute for legal tender/currency that would normally be issued by the government, but in this case company scrip tokens are issued by a company to pay its employees and to lock them up financially by forcing them to redeem their tokens for goods from the company store. The employee can never get ahead in life because they cannot acquire any wealth. Tokens are useless outside the company store because they are not recognized as currency by anyone else. You are better off spending them immediately before the company raises the prices on goods. Employees become serfs that can’t own property. They are essentially working only to eat. My father used to talk about a relative on his side of the family that was a coal miner and he was paid in company scrip in the early 1900’s, and this is where I learned about the value of real money and what constitutes real wealth. If it can be created out of thin air and is not recognized by the entire world as a form of wealth, then it has no value to me. Is this what the NSA along with the powers that be want for us all; a socialist system where all goods and services are purchased from two or three monster corporations like Walmart and Amazon. Maybe put it on one of those RFID chips the people of Wisconsin like having shoved deep into their hand. Then we can go to the doctor, the dentist, and buy our groceries at the same place. Americans love convenience so much they will trade every Constitutional right they have for it.
As of today there are 1,634 cryptocurrencies doubling from last year’s 800. Why can’t corporations create their own cryptocurrencies and make it where your purchases are limited to their affiliate businesses, in other words, the “company store?” Over time Wal-Mart and Amazon will continue to swallow up almost every retailer making this scenario even more likely. As recently as 2008, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that Wal-Mart of Mexico must stop paying their employees in vouchers that were only redeemable from the company store. In the near future will this deep state creation make it impossible to own anything of real value where we are all living in apartments, or like the Chinese do, live at their job site where they buy everything from the company store? Even the school their children attend is owned by the company they work for. We probably won’t know anytime soon. Agendas usually have very long timetables so people will not protest their loss of liberty and privacy. But in the big picture decades down the road, I would put my money on these digital tokens not being good for those who like real wealth. If cryptos will allow millennials to get their soy lattes and avocados into their mouths faster, we’re #ucked.