Let’s take a trip back down our collective memory hole to a time when personal computers were making their way into the homes, schools, and businesses around the world. Many people can’t even remember the pre-personal computer age because that era seems like ancient history to us, and undoubtedly, it happened before many of us were born.
As one of the many investors who lost their initial investment in Bitcoin as a result of the now infamous Mt. Gox heist of 2013, I can attest to the fact that there are certain risks in taking money out of the bank and investing it in any type of cryptocurrency.
However, many people can remember the introduction of computers into our daily lives and, if we’re being honest, we can also remember the resistance many people felt towards this new technology invading all aspects of our daily life. In fact, we may still know a few technological Luddites that have continued their defiant refusal to adopt computerized technologies even at the time of this writing in 2019!
It wasn’t until 1997 when I was introduced to audio recording and editing software that I gave computer technology my full embrace and that was ages after my mom brought home the neighborhood’s first Commodore Vic 20. I was a technological Luddite for nearly 20 years! Well, to be fair, most of those years were spent running around outside as a young kid where I should have been anyway.
Envisioning Financial Futures
How about if we scroll back into our shared memories to the first years after the introduction of the internet, the proverbial worldwide web, I’ll bet we’ll encounter recollections of resistance to that technology, as well. I certainly continued writing letters by hand to friends and family, and I specifically remember writing about the cultural ramifications due to the loss of handwritten letters. Boy, did I ever get it wrong! Not only was I wrong but, looking back, maybe even a tad pretentious and arrogant to think I could know what’s better for our “culture”. Ah, but with age comes maturity and, perhaps, we are meant to be slightly melodramatic in our youth. In any case, the point of visualizing our past mistakes is to learn from them so we don’t rinse and repeat indefinitely, right?
Having looked back at some of our collective resistance to new technologies in the recent past, let’s apply these lessons to what is going to be perhaps the most revolutionary and transformative new technology of our lifetimes—cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology. Yes, it may sound farfetched to say that cryptocurrencies have the potential to be more transformational to society than computers and the internet, however, as we look into the consequences and ramifications of converting our financial institutions worldwide from the age-old fiat currency systems of today, into the new digital freeways of finance of the future, we’re sure to realize that we’re going to want to be on board with the early adopters of cryptocurrencies, not the Luddites of the vanishing fiat world of yore.
The Great Motivator
If we think, in general, about money and finance for a brief moment we’ll quickly ascertain that everything begins and ends in monetary transactions. If it were not for money, most people would not get up out of their beds in the morning. Money is the great motivator that underlies everything, everywhere. Even the air we breathe, the last freely available resource, is now subject to carbon taxes! It doesn’t take a crystal ball to realize that transforming the world’s financial systems from their current fiat, paper currencies into digital cryptocurrencies will have far-reaching and irreversible effects. Computers and the internet have certainly changed our world, but that transition has been gradual enough that most people hardly noticed the change as it occurred. This is partly due to the fact that computer and internet technologies have allowed the Luddites amongst us to basically opt-out. If you don’t like computers, don’t buy one and don’t go to school. If you don’t like the internet, don’t log-in. Simple. However, what is going to happen when the world converts to digital currencies? There won’t be any opting-out of buying food or paying the rent with paper money once the fiat-to-crypto transition takes place and this is why we all need to consider investing in cryptocurrencies now, rather than later. We’ll examine this in more detail later in this article.
The World is Going Crypto
What we all need to look at now is the blockchain/crypto world that is being built up around us at astonishing speeds. Every day the accumulative advances in the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain infrastructure projects are thoroughly astounding. We are advancing towards a worldwide digital financial system at an exciting, albeit alarming, rate of speed. Huge banks like JP Morgan Chase and Mizuho Bank of Japan are creating their own cryptocurrencies and this is a trend that will certainly be followed by all banks as the idea becomes normalized. The IMF’s chief Christine Lagarde has said that central banks should consider issuing digital currency, VISA has put out job postings for their VISA crypto team, Mastercard has filed over 30 blockchain and cryptocurrency patents, IBM World Wire is using cryptocurrencies for international transactions in more than 50 countries, Facebook has a secret crypto development team, Huawei and Samsung are shipping cryptocurrency hardware wallets in their newest phones, the Yahoo finance app is adding cryptocurrency trading to their platform, Fidelity Investments is adding a cryptocurrency trading and storage platform, and these are just a few of the myriad projects announced in recent months. The world is going crypto. The cryptocurrency and blockchain technology fields are literally exploding around us as we sit here contemplating the implications of what all of this means for our financial future.
So where does all of this information lead us, we ask? We know governments, banks, financial institutions, corporations, and organizations across the board are laying down the foundations for a digital cryptocurrency future, yet, all we hear from the mainstream media is that cryptocurrency is risky, susceptible to hacks, volatile, and the domain of tech nerds, speculators, day-traders, and terrorists. While some of this cryptocurrency mythology is true, we have to remember that 6 corporations control 90% of the American media according to Business Insider, and these same corporations have a very keen interest in rolling out their digital currency platforms according to their own timelines. When the time comes, they’ll roll out the welcome mats for those who are ready to join their crypto parties, however, it’s going to take more than convincing people to get off the fence. It’s going to necessitate a financial crisis to give many people the impetus to jump off the fence and trade-in their fiat paper dollars for what they view as ephemeral, intangible, digital 1’s and 0’s. After all, the media has been training the vast majority of people into thinking that cryptocurrency is dangerous and risky for many years now. It’s going to take some time to reverse people’s opinions about the crypto space.
Surviving Mt. Gox
As one of the many investors who lost their initial investment in Bitcoin as a result of the now infamous Mt. Gox heist of 2013, I can attest to the fact that there are certain risks in taking money out of the bank and investing it in any type of cryptocurrency. We shouldn’t sugar coat the risks involved because, as someone who lost an entire initial investment, I know how painful such a loss can be. A lot has changed in the crypto space since 2013, however, and many of the new technologies that have arisen since 2013 have been the direct result of the lessons learned from the entire Mt. Gox fiasco. One favorite development is the advent of the hardware wallet which is essentially a passcode locked USB device that allows the owner to store their cryptocurrencies “offline” in a secret hiding place at home, or the office. Hardware wallets also allow the users to reclaim their funds if the USB device is somehow lost, stolen, or damaged by using a series of secret words, or seeds, revealed during the initial set-up of the device and these secret words are also stored offline, away from prying eyes.
So, yes, there are inherent risks involved with investing in cryptocurrencies but by spending our time researching and doing our due diligence, we can put small investments aside that could have the possibility of reaping financial rewards, as well as, preparing ourselves for the new world of financial opportunities. Not only does cryptocurrency open new doors to financial opportunities that would be impossible in our current fiat currency system, but it also liberates the crypto investor from the banking institutions of old, and allows them to become their own personal bank. Imagine hopping on a plane with all of your personal finances right there in your back pocket knowing that nobody would be able to access your funds without your computer, permissions, and codes. People have now been able to take their chains off and move literally, and financially, throughout the world over. This is one of the many exciting aspects of the new crypto/blockchain space that is very inspiring.
Bitcoin vs Altcoins
Now, as far as the volatility fear goes there are two main things to remember 1) yes, cryptocurrency markets are going to be volatile until we see mass adoption, and 2) not all cryptocurrencies are created equal. Nothing we do can replace good old research. You always need to do a good deal of research before jumping into a cryptocurrency investment. Most investors have their favorite coins, and every coin has different merits and weaknesses but these are lessons for more advanced articles. What clearly needs to be understood by new investors is that cryptocurrency is divided into two major camps, which are: 1) Bitcoin, and 2) Alt-coins. Bitcoin is the big brother to alt-coins because it came first, and because it was designed to be the digital gold of cryptocurrencies and that is exactly what it has become. Therefore, Bitcoin is more of a digital asset that is meant to be a store of value while Alt-coins (Alternatives to Bitcoin) are vying to become actual currencies, or contractual platforms, amongst many other things. For the new investor, Bitcoin is the best place to hold and grow an investment. To understand this in the simplest way possible, we need only to look at the Bitcoin market price chart and follow it from its 2009 inception.
What we see when we look at the Bitcoin market price chart is that there are certainly a few rallies and declines in price, but if you follow the bottom dips from 2009 to 2019 we see it is one steady upwards curve. What that means is that as long as a Bitcoin investor didn’t make the mistake of buying late in the rally of 2017/2018, or while it was correcting back down to $3,180.00, their initial investment has seen gains. As long as the Bitcoin investor follows the age-old adage of selling high and buying low, they have made money on their investment. Sure we see volatility every day in the Bitcoin market price but the 10-year chart shows us the long steady climb upward. This is what you’ll never hear on mainstream financial news shows. However, everyone should research this information independently before investing a single dime. Spending a few weeks listening to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency podcasts, YouTube channels, and reading all the amazing information being put out is the best thing to do before making a cryptocurrency investment. This is definitely not financial advice, and we never suggest investing more than you’re willing to lose, but a well-researched cryptocurrency investment can bear fruit and prepare investors for the digital future of finance.
As we stand here on the brink of a new world dominated by cryptographic currencies brought to us by way of the blockchain, we should ask ourselves if we’re ready for what is obviously being prepared for us by every government, bank, financial institution, corporation, social media platform, school, business, and across all national borders. Are we equipped to greet this coming reality with optimism and confidence so that this new order will provide us with new opportunities? As the bond yield curve inverts signaling a coming recession, how will fiat currencies fare in the coming tide of debt with which fiat currencies are straddled? Could it be mere coincidence that the rise of cryptocurrencies and the fall of fiat currencies seem to be happening simultaneously? Would it be better to study the different crypto ecosystems now, and learn how to grow a small investment while the doors are wide open and the opportunities for entry are so vast? Which side of the Bitcoin will you be on? These are a few of the questions we need to begin asking ourselves as we envision the future of finance.