In 1976, F.A. Hayek, the 1974 Nobel Prize winner, published a work titled Denationalisation of Money. In it he prophetically spoke of a future in which privately-issued moneys would compete not only against government’s “monopolized” money but also amongst themselves. This would establish a competitive money regime in which the success and proliferation of various moneys would, like all products in a free market, be subject to the preferences of the public consumer. Might cryptocurrencies be a nascent iteration of this possible future?
Last December everyone was talking about cryptocurrencies. If you visited to your local Starbucks, or grocery store, or any public venue, you probably overheard at least one person talking about Bitcoin. People were jumping into the crypto markets, contributing to what eventually became a bubble. Most got burned, as speculators’ dreams of a quick road to riches dissolved before their eyes. Those same speculators exited the market, perhaps feeling a little bit “lighter.” But what were they doing engaging in an arena that they barely understood? Why were they joining a fight that they knew (or should have known) had long-term designs? Why didn’t they just trade another less-obscure asset class, one with greater volume, one with transparent fundamentals? Well, those people (or sheeple?) have been flushed out.
Crypto exchange hacks and security breaches are a valid concern. Hacking into a central part of a system may leave every other part vulnerable. But that might not be the case if an exchange decentralizes. There are pros and cons, of course. And what decentralization means for government regulation…we’ll have to see for ourselves. But decentralization does appear to be the next step in crypto exchange development. So, if you invest in cryptocurrencies, you might want to read up on this.
Cryptocurrencies just entered a new, perhaps unforeseen, space: the pathological realm. Yes, Castle Craig Hospital now officially recognizes crypto-addiction as a disease. And they aim to help you cure it. If you find yourself afflicted with this disease, Castle Craig’s rehab clinic is somewhere is Scotland.
The concept of a commodity-backed cryptocurrency is not a new one. A handful of companies and governments are trying to find ways to back altcoins with gold and silver. But Costaflores Organic Vineyard, an Argentinean winery, came up with an idea that is way out of left field: wine-backed cryptos. Yes, they are placing their total 2018 production on sale via digital token. You can buy the token and sell it back in the open market, or you can redeem a single token for a bottle of wine, but you’ll have to wait until 2021 to redeem it. Sounds crazy? Perhaps, but might also be brilliant if it works out.
Why is Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse comparing Bitcoin to Napster instead of, say, AOL? Comparatively, the context is way too dissimilar. Garlinghouse is touting Ripple’s superior efficiency and speed. He could be right. But of course, he chooses not to discuss the one advantage that many other altcoins may have over Ripple: that other cryptos have process-determined limits, giving them scarcity, a key characteristic of money.
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