With all the fear-mongering going on in the media these days, it’s almost hard to forget how far we’ve come. Even in the quicksand that is the cryptocurrency field, September has been a turbulent month. Bankers denounced Bitcoin as a fraud, China forced the shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges with yet another ban, and Korea has cracked down on ICOs. If the news is anything to go by, this is the beginning of the end for the “bubble”.
Yep, it looks like it’s well and truly over. Look at all those promising Korean ICOs you were ready to drop half of your ether stash into. Look at how China banning Facebook brought an end to the company. And seriously, why would we doubt the integrity of JP Morgan’s CEO? It’s not like they’re defrauding widows for billions of dollars. Oh, wait.
Cryptocurrency’s very raison d’être is to subvert the chokehold that governments and financial institutions have over the world. And despite the pressure applied by those who will do anything to undermine the technology that could topple their empires, what have they really achieved? The “it’s a currency for buying drugs” rhetoric is getting a bit old. That argument has always been a double-edged sword, anyways: Bitcoin was originally used to make darknet purchases due to the privacy it conferred to its users. Near-untraceability, no chargebacks, low fees and perhaps, most importantly of all, the user is in control of their own funds.
Censorship-resistant and anti-fragile
It’s a simple premise, and it works: digital money, free of political influence. People like to complain that certain centralized communities are attempting to hard fork Bitcoin too much, but that’s the nature of the beast. If you
drink battery acid instead of coffee in the mornings and actually want to support Segwit2x, no one’s stopping you. The strongest chain will outlive the rest and will be what we know as “Bitcoin”. Isn’t that meritocracy working at its finest?
Ethereum loyalists are convinced that an event called “The Flippening” is on the way − a day where ether will eventually surpass Bitcoin in value. I hate to sound anti-Ethereum − Bitcoin is here, now, and increasingly used for transacting. Ethereum, by contrast, hasn’t reached its full potential. Ethereum is a platform (for building useless tokens, it would seem), capable of executing smart contracts on a Turing-complete blockchain. But it’s far from perfect, yet. How many Ethereum DApps have really taken off? The biggest organization on the network was hacked and resulted in the chain being split. There are still some looming issues to address, like the bloat the blockchain will experience from storing smart contract code, or what the switch to PoS will do. There’s no doubt that Ethereum is an incredibly complex platform, but for me, Bitcoin will always win. It does what it set out to do, and will scale when it needs to.
The ICO question
I’ll try to keep my thoughts on ICOs brief. The vast majority are built on top of Ethereum, and it takes no skill. Seriously, I recently attended a conference where a speaker ended his talk by creating an ERC20 token in under 5 minutes − if he’d come prepared with a whitepaper slating Bitcoin, promising some sci-fi worthy tech and 60% of the pre-mined coins being allocated to himself, the audience would have been emptying their wallets.
I do believe that some projects are worthy of being tokenised (votes in an organisation, tangible assets being represented) − but far too many are fixing a problem that doesn’t actually exist. Do we need a tailored payment system for [whatever industry you want to put here]? Why would the average consumer want a wallet with fifty different tokens to pay for different goods and services? That’s like owning a folder of different gift cards to redeem on different products, which will incur fees if you want to exchange one gift card for another. It’s unnecessary, it’s over=complicating things, and most of the time, it’s a shameless pump-and-dump scheme. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel and start focusing on integrating existing currency.
At the end of the day, Bitcoin is king. Supporters of altcoins are quick to criticize it, but the fact remains: Satoshi paved the way for the entire ecosystem. If Bitcoin crashes, so does everything else. If you really think that a pseudo-cryptocurrency promising to moon is going to take off before the oldest and most resilient coin, go ahead and sell your kids and dump your paychecks into whatever ICO your favorite Twitter personalities are shilling this week.
Or, maybe you could do your own research. Stop worshipping whitepapers written by businessmen looking to grab a share of the obscene amounts of money getting dumped into ICOs these days. Stop taking the toxic cesspit of social media as investment advice.
Start remembering that Bitcoin is much more than just a store of value. It’s a philosophical middle finger to the idea of money as it currently exists, to every government issuing fiat, and to every financial institution making money out of your money. No wonder The Wolf of Wall Street is panicking. When Bitcoin hits the mainstream, it could overtake the legacy financial infrastructure as we know it. Power will be wielded by the people that should be wielding it: the users. No more exploitative governmental control, no more banks to manipulate the financial system. One nation, under Bitcoin.
All hail the king!
Featured image from Pexels