I understand this is a shocking premise. I was shocked myself when I started to consider it last year. As the pandemic wore on into the summer of 2020, I could see things were not likely to return to the way they were. It did not matter how much people wanted a return to normal. It was not going to happen.
Interest rates were impossibly low in the country, so corporations started issuing their own debt. Apple issued forty-year debt. Apple started getting involved with Ripple. The old movie, Rollerball, started to seem like a possible near future outcome. A future where corporate power is the stabilizing force in society, not national governments.
As I started to ride this train of thought, I realized it had real credibility. There was a richness to the future scenery I saw as I rode this train of thought.
If corporations become national pseudo-states, then they will need a currency. I felt like the SEC and Xi both recognized what was going on and took actions to protect their control of currency within their borders.
If nation-states persist then so shall national currencies, which is certainly a more likely outcome. Digital sovereign currencies of some kind would seem to be a foregone conclusion anyway. Nation-states looking to jump ahead might adopt an existing cryptocurrency ecosystem. Instead of trying to build a cryptocurrency ecosystem from scratch.
A nation could just pick one and adopt it as a secondary national currency. I started looking around for candidates. It seemed to me there were plenty of entities, national and private, who were also looking for candidates. When I got off the train of thought, I was surprised by what I found at the end station. It does not happen often, but sometimes when you ride these speculative trains of thought, they reveal unexpected destinations.
This particular ride revealed a particularly robust set of rails already existed on top of what I saw at the destination. The digital renminbi is a done deal. The biggest economy in the world laid down the rails already.
Everyone is playing catch up on this rail line. Who will be next to ride this train of thought? When I got to the station, I saw a doggie waiting there for me. There was dogecoin just sitting there waiting to be broadly adopted by somebody or some entity. Bitcoin just did not fit the bill.
Could it really be true Dogecoin is better than Bitcoin for widespread adoption and usage by a national or pseudo-national entity?
I was skeptical. My train of thought ride now became a thought experiment. I needed to build a richer scenario. I imagined I was the advisor of some “monarch” or “warlord” or other “volatile” head of state. My “Supreme Leader” is mercurial. We need a win on this currency thing.
The actions of large central banks are causing external turbulence. As the financial minister, you know you have to get this right or the head of state will be upset. Hell, he might lop off your head.
There are quite a lot of small to middlin’ nation-state trying to get a foothold in the 21st century. There are over 100 billion dogecoins in existence. It is arbitrary, but for the thought experiment, I looked up the list of nations with a GDP between $50 billion and $100 billion as these would be the best candidates among nation-states.
You can see there are quite a number of viable candidates who could make a big splash in a particular cryptocurrency were they to begin to adopt for internal use. What if we narrow this group significantly, as far as nation-states go anyway by adding a filter?
Let us also look for very high inflation rates as a potential driver to adopt some already existing cryptocurrency as your de facto national currency.
This list looks very interesting. A couple of our candidates here have already been delving into the digital currency space. Iran has been leading the pack on that front and has a national effort to mine Bitcoin. Venezuela has tried to bootstrap its own digital currency the Petro to no avail. Like Iran, Bitcoin is already being accumulated and used there.
However, also in this list are several countries that are in various stages of anarchy: Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Lebanon. Additionally, Turkey is really suffering from the actions of other central banks as well as its own leadership. We have a list of countries and people under severe pressure.
If we are not Iran or Venezuela, we are getting to the party late. We really need another option. We need a cryptocurrency that we can obtain in quantity without attracting too much attention over a year or two.
Then we can airdrop a chunk to a grateful population. We need to be able to retain a sufficient reserve for the central government. We begin to do all internal government business with the new currency.
There is a lot on the line here. What should you a financial minister consider?
#1 Transparency — We do not know who “invented” Bitcoin. Nobody knows who Satoshi Nakomoto is. If a national entity were to adopt Bitcoin as its digital currency, it would take a lot of money to accumulate a supply. Once acquired if Satoshi turned out to be a citizen of a hostile national entity could he swamp the price by “unburning” his keys? Everyone knows who created Dogecoin. This huge risk in Bitcoin, which even Coinbase acknowledges in its SEC filing, cannot be ignored. Both Iran and Venezuela could be looking very very stupid if it turns out Satoshi Nakomoto is a DARPA employee. In the case of the others, you are already having problems due to bank money printing, so a Satoshi dump or whale jump could be doubly painful.
#2 Barrier to Entry — The US dollar is strong. The purchasing power of other national currencies is devaluing. There will be a need to step up a cryptocurrency acquisition campaign as this devaluation gets worse. The price of Bitcoin is becoming prohibitively high for an entity to acquire enough. Too many entities have already picked up large quantities and are using it as a reserve. You just cannot be late for this party as it relates to the price.
#3 The Cap — Having a cap creates ARTIFICIAL scarcity. If a person gets their hands on a Bitcoin or even a slice of a Bitcoin, they tend to just hold on to it. Bitcoin is truly like digital gold. Once a person gets their hands on it, they cling to it. They will spend fiat currency easily. Too few means usage and uptake harder, so you need a large supply. It is artificial scarcity though. It is not a hard cap. Dogecoin is transparent about not having a cap. The supply grows by a mere five billion a year and there are already way over one hundred billion in existence. Humans invented fiat for a reason. It has great utility. It creates a VELOCITY in the currency which allows for economic health and growth. Fixed supply assets are stores of value, but they slow the velocity of money by becoming a bottleneck for capital to flow.
#4 Billionaire Backing — Elon Musk has been pumping Dogecoin. I personally think he is on the Rollerball path just like Apple is. Elon will need a currency and he likes Dogecoin. Why argue? Mark Cuban is also now supporting Dogecoin. Musk might be interested in growing his OWN economy, too. He has speculated about different economic bubbles he would control where Dogecoin would make sense, like Starbase, TX. Cuban has always been skeptical about cryptocurrency, ESPECIALLY Bitcoin. Now he says he likes Dogecoin and bought some for his son to learn. He is an independent billionaire. Elon is a little bit of an attention whore, but Cuban’s interest is very intriguing.
#5 Zeitgeist — Bitcoin does not have a cute logo. Here is where the stodgy establishment that has embraced Bitcoin just does not get it. All of these nations are very young relatively. They are full of young people. There is a younger generation gaining control. They like Dogecoin. They think Shiba is cute. They want to use it. They do not even need much prodding to dive right in and start using it. Young people are idealistic and hopeful. Dogecoin is idealistic too with a slogan like Do Only Good Everyday!
This really is the point of this essay, not to bash Bitcoin, but to point out how little control the powers that be really have on this outcome. Cryptocurrency is going to get used. The more it gets used, the more difficult it is to purge it from the system. Whether the hypothetical advisor above makes the right decision does not really matter. If people start using Dogecoin, then Dogecoin wins. There is a lot of it so usage would grow fast once a certain critical mass is reached. I am waiting and watching with some amusement I must say.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article belong to the author alone. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before making any investment decisions.