As with most people Bitcoin is a tough subject for me to grasp. Yes, I understand the asystematic opportunity currently presented to me if I choose to adopt it. I’m aware a lot of smart people are working within the field and believe in the mission,but I also know who their opponents are; big tech & governments. Below I list my concerns pertaining to its continued adoption, valuation, and actual utility as a currency.
- Bitcoin enthusiasts are quick to highlight how there is a finite supply of the currency, finally freeing the plebs from the wealth destroying nature of government induced inflation-but this factoid isn’t enough for mass adoption. IF everyone was to race to exchange fiat for Bitcoin there would be regressive purchasing power for late adopters. Income inequality is a major issue plaguing society today, would a mass conversion to Bitcoin help or exacerbate wealth inequality?
- It’s anonymous! People are cheering this revolution in privacy while five minutes earlier they were venting about their fears of big tech and government spying on them. Do you really think Google/Palantir won’t be able to reverse engineer the puzzle of who is spending what? Anonymity isn’t an inherent trait of Bitcoin but rather a temporary feature.
- How will you pay your taxes? Governments surely wouldn’t accept Bitcoin, surrender their ability to mint currency, or cease to demand payment from citizens. There is a realistic probability that governments will criminalize bitcoin citing tax evasion.
- Bitcoin represents the ultimate bug bounty; if someone does find a way to hack or use brute force to control the currency then the whole system is facing systematic ruin
- No consumer protection. What happens if someone makes a “fat finger” mistake on a transaction? No central authority leaves no room for recourse.
- The massive run up we witnessed in 2017 was clearly a speculative bubble. People were HODL’ing Bitcoin with the intent of later exchanging it for a greater sum of fiat than which they originally used to buy Bitcoin. This behavior is no different than someone buying Beanie Babies in the late 1990s. The storyline was much different as HODLers were promised to be on the ground floor of a revolution, but nonetheless both phenomena were littered with individuals who intended to get rich quickly & easily.
- Peer to peer transactions isn’t a unique idea or ability. PayPal was founded in 1998.
- How could you issue debt in something so volatile? Despite inflation fiat represents a much more ‘true store of value’ and such has allowed our modern financial system to be founded upon the concept of debt.
I don’t want this to be misconstrued as pure bashing of an innovation that has started meaningful dialogue and inspired improvements to our current financial system but I also needed to address a series of flaws of which I believe falsify the thesis of the true HODLers. In general, I believe there will be legitimate use cases for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and I would be happy to invest in such products but I have yet to discover such investable assets.