Updated: Sep 1, 2018
So I am writing this blog on the morning of December 30th with only two days left in 2017, wow, that seems crazy! I don't know if it is just me but this year seems like it has flown by, of course, the older I get they do seem to speed up even more!
Anyway, as the year has been winding down over the last few weeks I have been reflecting on my accomplishments and failures this year. I don't want to get too deep into it but by far my biggest accomplishment was finally getting involved with cryptocurrencies. It has only been about 8 months, but so far it has been an amazing journey, and I am now 100% consumed by cryptos. I have been involved in the traditional financial markets for over 12 years but now find them kind of boring in comparison. I feel as though I have learned a great deal in that short amount of time but I also realize that I have so much more to learn. I am just so thankful to be a part of something that I truly feel is revolutionary.
It is because of this feeling that cryptocurrencies are so revolutionary and have the potential to change the lives of so many people that I worry about this movement being derailed. Although I don't believe it can ever be totally stopped, I do feel it is vulnerable to pressure from governments and the traditional banking/financial system that could dampen public enthusiasm for it or make it even more difficult to get access to. I know there have been critics of cryptocurrencies for some time but it seems to me that in just the 8 months I have been involved they are becoming more vocal and also more frequent in their condemnation. Just yesterday the Finance Minister of India issued another warning, the second one this year, stating that cryptocurrencies are like Ponzi schemes and that they have no intrinsic value. He went on to say that cryptocurrencies are likely being used to carry out illegal/subversive activities, such as terror-funding, smuggling, drug trafficking and other money-laundering Acts. Wow, that was harsh! I'm kind of surprised he didn't also blame world hunger and global warming on cryptocurrencies!
Okay, so let's examine his warning. Here is the definition of a Ponzi Scheme:
"A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate sources." Wikipedia
First off, I personally don't buy the Ponzi scheme comparison, when I am investing in a cryptocurrency I do so most of the time because I believe that it offers a valuable service and will appreciate in value over time because other investors will feel the same way. I don't feel it is any different than when I invest in a companies stock in the stock market. It is through market consensus that the price of each cryptocurrency is determined. Don't get me wrong I know there are a lot of pumps and dumps out there but just because there are you cannot label all cryptocurrencies as scams.
As far as them not having any intrinsic value this person clearly has no idea what he is talking about. I do realize that there are many cryptocurrencies that have little or no intrinsic value but once again you cannot say they all have zero intrinsic value. It's my opinion that just this one fact alone gives them immense value, that cryptocurrencies will offer the 39% of the world's population that is unbanked the chance to take part in the global economy. For far too long they have been excluded just because they were not privileged enough to have been born in a developed country. Now as far as the claim that cryptocurrencies are being used by criminals.....Duh, News flash captain obvious, criminals are most likely using every currency that exists on this planet.
I fear that the more popular cryptocurrencies become we will see even more of this and potentially far worse. One of my biggest fears is that governments either alone or as a concerted effort will enact severe restrictions or outright bans on cryptocurrencies to protect their own fiat currencies. I feel this will have a lot to do with control also, as long as you are using fiat currency and using the traditional banking system the government has more control over you. Another potential danger I can see is from the traditional banking system, we have already heard a lot of criticism coming from bankers and those in the traditional financial system. I can envision that if they feel cryptocurrencies are a direct threat to their revenue or power they will take stronger action to stop them.
In my opinion, the two weak links of cryptocurrencies are the dependence on the internet and the fact that you must use a bank in order to funnel fiat currency into an exchange to purchase cryptocurrencies. My fear is that both of these can be exploited by governments or banks to limit access to cryptocurrencies. I am not aware of too many other options for buying cryptocurrencies other than transferring fiat currency from your bank to one of the exchanges that accept fiat. So it seems to me that it would be very easy for banks to start declining to make transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges. I know that you also can buy bitcoin at an ATM but I don't believe it would be too difficult to shut them down either.
I know I am probably just being paranoid but I wouldn't put anything past those in government or banking that want to protect their positions, power, and revenue. I really hope that my fears are unfounded and that cryptocurrencies will be allowed to grow to become a regular part of our financial system giving citizens a second currency option. My belief is that cryptocurrencies will change many lives for the better, access to
cryptocurrencies, in my opinion, will ignite innovation in parts of the world that up until now have basically been left behind. It will give them the chance to join in with the rest of us in a global economy that they have been excluded from for far too long. For anyone that does not believe that just that chance alone gives cryptocurrencies immense value has been living a privileged life way too long!
Until my next blog post, take care!
P.S. Please feel free to comment if you disagree/agree, or if you find any errors in my post.