New Year, New Money
When you think about money, you probably don’t think about innovation.
Monetary innovations occurred every few centuries — millennia even — but this is now changing.
You may welcome monetary innovation, or fear it, but either way it seems likely to impact our lives in the near future. 2016 saw major gains for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and many expect 2017 to follow suit. Now 8 years in circulation, Bitcoin is approaching adolescence. Instead of wondering what potential it holds, we are beginning to see how it actually is being used.
So what is this new money? Is it…
- A currency?
- An asset?
- A commodity?
- Digital cash?
- Entry in a ledger?
- Speculative investment?
- Magical internet money?
Basically the answer is…yes. It’s all of those things and more. It’s not just “magical internet money” that is a toy for developers or a lottery ticket for a speculator.
Bitcoin is being used more and more each day. The first few years after it launched, there were fewer than 1,000 transactions happening on the network each day. Now there are 300,000 happening each day, and that number continues growing. The same is true for technology built on top of Bitcoin.
OpenBazaar and other Bitcoin-based technologies are still new, but they are being used all over the world.
People in the developed world might be uncertain about why they should use something like Bitcoin. If you have cash that mostly keeps its value, and you have access to the credit system, why do you need yet another thing to worry about? For people in places where the monetary system has failed them though, the answer is clear.
Wider adoption of this new monetary innovation matters for everyone.
The nature of cryptocurrency is fundamentally different than any sort of economic system we’ve seen in the world.
- You don’t need to place your trust in third parties in order for the system to work
- No company or government can shut you out of the system; it’s permissionless
- No one can censor or reverse your transactions
- You aren’t required to tie your identity to your transactions
- Transactions are inexpensive and low-cost
- The currency can’t be artificially inflated (losing its value)
Because of these attributes, people are using Bitcoin for a variety of reasons.
- They are using it because it’s more private than credit cards, or because they can’t even get a credit card in the first place.
- They are using it because it’s cheaper and faster than existing methods.
- They are using it because the government in their country is destroying the value of their national currency.
- They are using it because they don’t trust the existing system for a variety of reasons, or because they’re trying to build a new and better system altogether.
It’s unclear what will happen in 2017, but it seems likely the monetary innovation of cryptocurrency will play a larger role in our lives than it has before.
Are you looking for a way to use your cryptocurrencies and drive new technology forward?
Download OpenBazaar now and give it a try!
Originally published at blog.openbazaar.org on January 25, 2017.