At the end of 2017, the world stood still for a while as we watched Bitcoin prices soar to almost $20,000 and then crash and burn a month or so later. But considering that, among other factors, we now face a virus that makes carrying physical cash a health hazard, would it not be the perfect time for cryptocurrencies to be widely adopted by people around the world?
Hardcore backers of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple will tell you that the Bitcoin bubble of 2017/18 was not, in fact, a bubble. That, unlike Dutch Tulips, digital currencies hold actual value — are not meaningless novelty items — and are assets.
And they wouldn’t be wrong either. In the earlier days of Bitcoin, back in 2014, April Joyner discussed the dispute over whether Bitcoin is, in fact, a digital currency, saying in a USA Today article:
“The virtual currency — straight up: computer money — created by an anonymous hacker in 2009 has captured hard-core geeks’ hearts. Its appeal? It enables bank-free (aka middleman-free) anonymous purchasing and, crucially, it’s a global currency that’s not tied to any central bank and not much different than a dollar or a euro. The key characteristics of this digital cash also happen to make it a great fit for people who aren’t so down with advanced digital technology: the 326 million Africans who lack access to basic banking services.”
This was before most people even knew what Bitcoin was — and for many of us, this remains the case. It is, therefore, no surprise that many of us are left confused by the economics of Bitcoin, considering it is still only 11 years old.
The first paper money was used in China during the Tang Dynasty, somewhere between 1,400 and 1,100 years ago, and the practice only caught on in Europe more than 500 years later in the 17th Century. It will be no surprise at all if the 11-year-old Bitcoin takes quite a while to be adopted as a currency that we all use on a daily basis in the same way that we…