There’s so many facets to cryptocurrencies. Since I’ve been deep into the trenches, there’s just so many new great things about it that hasn’t been able before.
Things like smart property, decentralized contracts (that can disrupt civil law, arbitration, etc), payment channels, colored coins, decentralized autonomous corporations (2), trust-less storage and autonomous agents. I lose track sometimes. I’m sure I missed some.
When you can decentralize trust into a shared ledger, it brings about quite interesting new features as you can see by the examples above.
But. There’s one part of the cryptocurrency revolution that stands out.
Just like the web brought about the democratization of information and communication, so cryptocurrencies will do to value.
Let me reiterate:
Web - Democratization of information.
Cryptocurrencies - Democratization of value.
In humanity’s history, the systems that were capable of sustaining a currency were your larger institutions: governments (and more recently, banks). The reason was: only they were capable of protecting the currency from being counterfeited. Part of the faith required in using any form of currency is the belief that it is prohibitively difficult to counterfeit. If I on my own, start printing some paper money, and tell people to use it, they are going to laugh at me. The only way to make sure people don’t laugh at you, is to make sure you are big enough (in systems scale), so that faith can be put in your capability that it is not being counterfeited.
Even the mightiest institutions in the world have to constantly keep up: with an estimated $60 - $100 million counterfeit USD alone being in circulation (of the $1,29 trillion in circulation). Not a lot: a respectable 0.01 of cash in circulation. But, where does that leave any other institution? Nearly impossible. A lot of smaller banks failed due to the troubles of counterfeit bonds, and notes. It has been left to the devices of a select few institutions.
When you look at what the world of information looked like before the web, the pattern shows its colours. While it was easier than making a currency, information was still locked up in institutions that had the power to spread it. Media was in control: book publishers, newspapers, TV stations, radio, etc. The power of the man on the street was classifieds in their local newspaper and word-of-mouth.
We all know how that story played out. Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia. FREE information sharing, instantly across the globe. And we are all better off because of it.
Now, when you see what’s happening with cryptocurrencies, the same pattern emerges. Cryptocurrencies allow anyone to create one where counterfeiting IS NOT POSSIBLE. All you need is an electronic device to do some hashing (even smartphones can churn).
The power of the value maintainers are given to the hands of anyone and everyone. Currently, you can even create an altcoin with just a form. And it just going to become A LOT easier. Soon Jimmy in primary school can create a currency that’s STRONGER in terms of trust/security than any fiat currency.
Can we even fathom what this entails?
As Andreas Antonopoulos, eloquently stated: “We can now decouple monetary value from a currency”.
This will give freedom of choice, and agency to everyone who wants to opt-in. Freedom to store value wherever you decide it to be. The first obvious choice would be to take your value away from corrupt regimes and countries that mismanage a currency. People were once powerless against information spread by the media, and now we have the choice to make up our mind, enquire and research on our own. It doesn’t even have to be anti-statist, just like mass media now is still around (in a different form). It’s about empowering people.
People around the world have in JUST 2 months put their value ($50 million of it), in Dogecoin. And if you are a part of it, you know it’s (primarily) not about “sticking it to the man” and “regaining back control”. It’s fun, a great community, giving and welcoming. They’ve donated money to service dogs and olympians. It’s about people choosing to put value where people want their value to be.
You might scoff, and wonder “why the fuck would people do that”? And the beauty of it: you don’t HAVE to join. The information revolution brought about people sharing weird erotic fanfiction with others. Being a part of this information revolution doesn’t mean YOU have to read it. But it gives CHOICE, and freedom that you can find that information. With cryptocurrencies, it will be the same: freedom to affiliate value wherever you want it to be.
Just like some people have used the freedom of information to topple corrupt regimes, a lot of it was also about human connection (blogging, social networks, etc), and empowering others (wikipedia). Then there’s also doge and funny cat videos.
We’ll see cryptocurrencies undergo the same use cases: to subvert monetary mismanagement (see Argentina), but to also create the Dogecoin’s of the world AND all of the above will make it all worthwhile.
In what seems like a fun joke, the Dogecoin community had a big party in NYC recently, and put the Doge face on the Wall Street Bull.
In the next decade, we’ll look back and realise just how much this picture meant. Now, we don’t quite know just what we are in for.
It’s a grand time to be alive.