The Bitcoin drives the financial world crazy. Is this a real currency or a mirage?
The new internet currency, invented by a bunch of mysterious programmers, shocks the financial system and jumps every day to new highs. Is Bitcoin, whose price is completely affected by market forces, to change the way we think about money, banks and central government, or is it another bubble? Speculative end to be buried in the pages of history?
Although the early Christians saw it as the root of all evil, and the Marxist revolutionaries described it as a symbol of the chains that bind the proletariat, money always moved the world. It is difficult to think of a world without cash, and it is almost impossible to imagine a coin that is not even subject to the vagaries of a central government.
For many of the Internet generation, Bitcoin is the new gospel of finance: a decentralized, almost anonymous currency whose power comes from the global network and is cut off from any government system. It was created by a group of programmers at the heart of the global crisis in 2008, as the whole world watched financiers sweat in their attempt to explain the problems of the US banking system. The creators of the coin sought to create a real alternative to the form of the financial world, and built a currency for the 21st century that dresses as a glove on the Internet infrastructure. Bitcoin trading is conducted through the network, and every buying and selling operation is recorded by all consumers – so there is no central body that needs to manage or monitor the system.
As a rule of thumb, the Bitcoin was designed and built to serve as a modern substitute for gold; A kind of gold 2.0 in the Internet language. The quantity produced is limited by a sophisticated algorithm, and in order to increase the supply, it must be “cut” by many hours of computer work. This creates a currency of limited size, and can not be produced at the touch of a button or in the political decision of individuals. In order to increase its supply, real time and resources must be invested.
The similarity to the precious metal does not end there. Although the amount of Bitcoin coins in the world has increased with “mining”, there is a final amount for the coin, and the more the quantity is increased, the more the work in the Bitcoin mines becomes more difficult. At present, there are 12 million Bitcoins – a quantity that continues to grow steadily until it reaches a total halt of 21 million units.
Thanks to the economic philosophy that stands behind it and the free spirit it symbolizes, the coin has attracted many fans, who have given him slogans, symbols and impressive slogans. The Latin adjective attached to Bitcoin: “VIRES IN NUMERIS”, “power through numbers,” illustrates in the most elegant way the advantages of the coin. One of the first investors in the currency was asked in the past about the possible collapse of the system, and answered that it was simply impossible: “The Bitcoin is made of mathematics only.” Since there is no central computer from which the BitTokins are routed, and all the transactions are stored on the users’ computers themselves, the only way to bring down BitToken is to bring down the World Wide Web; An inconceivable thought in the 21st century.
It is important to remember that not all glittering gold. Despite its many advantages and the fascinating form in which it was programmed, there are several inherent problems in the existence and development of the bitcoin. When the currency was launched in January 2009, its value was negligible, and its most significant purchase was a pizza order for 10,000 coins ($ 5,500,000 at the current rate). However, over the last four years, the value of the currency has jumped from 0 to $ 1,200 (November 2013). The significance of this astronomical number is that the value of all Bitcoin coins is over $ 10 billion.
The meteoric rise in the value of the Bitcoin pleases the speculative investors and the happy “miners”, but in terms of its use as a legitimate currency for the purchase of goods and services, the rise in value is in the offing. In the world of commerce, stability and reliability are the highest values, and it is hard to see how in a dollar-euro trade, consumers will use a currency whose value will cross hundreds of percent a day. In addition, its rise leads to massive accumulation of the currency, which is well felt in the small volumes of trading, and the reduction of its use as a means of exchange.
In addition, disconnecting the Bitcoin from any government system reduces its exposure to the public. In a world where a significant percentage of the income is paid to the state through the local currency, the bןtcoin can serve only as a minor addition to our daily lives. This means that we will all have to keep a shekel account for tax purposes, when Bitcoin can only be used as a hedge to preserve value, but not much more. Legally, there is still a long way to go before we can use Bitcoin extensively: only in Germany is the currency officially recognized by the authorities, and there as a private currency rather than as a “legal tender.” In other words, it has no legal force to pay debts.
Even the American panic for gold, which in the 19th century led hundreds of thousands of seekers to the west of the continent, through snowy mountains and endless deserts, failed to generate such huge sums as the Bitcoin – NIS 35 billion was born almost effortlessly and without any real value. It is impossible to ignore the fact that, unlike the shiny metallic brother of Bitcoin, there is no tangible use, and unlike the dollar, it does not have the legal status or reliability required to use it.
Anarchist to the conservative liberal
In order for the Bitcoin to overcome the birth pains and march towards integration and realization in world markets, he will also have to give up his anarchist appearance and disengage from the associations of arms trade, drugs and prostitution. The Wild West is not a viable model for political stability, even if most of us would like to see Clint Eastwood as the police commissioner, a process that is long and painful. “If you were not a socialist before the age of 25, you have no heart, and if you remain a socialist after the age of 25, you have no brain.” The hope is that the initial resistance of the Beatokin thinkers to the existing institutions will disappear as he grows up.
In the meantime, significant steps are being taken, and there is no doubt that any true liberal may dare to dream of a free and conservative alternative to barter trade. The University of Nicosia announced a month ago that it would receive payments for studies in Bitcoin, and even called it “the gold of tomorrow.” In addition, two Canadian companies have even opened a Bitcoin ATM, which allows purchases in nearby cafes. Even the dubious connection to drug trafficking crumbles after the closure of the Silk Road site and the transfer of its founder’s money to the FBI.
So it is still too early to praise the Bitcoin as a dizzying success or to eulogize it as a failed experiment, but its very existence contributes to the reduction of the power of the state and to the increase of the private freedom of every Internet consumer. Its meteoric rise in the past year is a mirror to the failures of central banks around the world, opening up a window to a freer world that is not influenced by the whims of outdated politicians and economic models. However, it is important to note that this is only the beginning. Bitcoin is not yet the cure for the malignant diseases of the banking system, and it will take a long time before we know whether it can make a significant and positive change in the real world.