Throughout the news landscape, continual signs seem to signal how the cryptocurrency boom is over. According to various sites that track dead cryptos, the cryptocurrency landscape is inching ever closer to 1,000 dead crypto coins. By one count, bitcoin reportedly died some 326 times. Since peaking at nearly $20,000 in 2017, bitcoin’s ongoing tumble wiped out virtual fortunes. From there, it’s a little bit up, a little bit down. Yes, if you’re looking for crypto-gloom news, it isn’t difficult. The question on so many minds is whether crypto is doomed to the trash heap along with Beanie Babies, not-so-rare collectibles, and other speculative vestiges of mania. I cannot, from one tech column alone, change the public’s disposition on crypto. I will take this opportunity to share that we are still at the beginning of something that will not fade as this technology wave hasn’t even touched the spectrum of possibilities. That’s because there are narrow opinions that disregard the best parts about cryptocurrency, including real-world applications that the public at large will never bother looking at.
Bitcoin is the original, and it has a decade’s worth of history. Bitcoin has survived early forks, the Mt. Gox hack, the Silk Road fiasco, and it will eventually emerge from the variable effects of widespread market speculation. Just about a year ago, Thanksgiving conversations and news headlines centered on crypto-investment. Hundreds of thousands of Coinbase cryptocurrency brokerage accounts opened on that very weekend. Weeks later, the price was touching $20,000.
The cryptocurrency-investment allure was simple. It’s easy to invest. Open an account — do it on your phone — buy some coin and wait for profit. Buy low, sell high – anyone can be a crypto-investor. In crypto, there are no middlemen to deal with, no regulations, and crypto is supposed to be free from politics and borders. These are problematic notions are just a part of the underlying crypto-crisis. Most of the public and late-game investors came into the game as pure speculators. Bitcoin isn’t even a solid transaction platform, that’s why the bitcoin cash fork came along. As speculators do, 2018 was a year where many also-ran investors seem to have dropped off, accepting their losses and walking away from crypto investing for the time being. To the outside world, 70, 80, 90, and 99 percent devaluations in cryptocurrency look terrible, and from an investment point-of-view, it is. The value was never the point.
Cryptocurrency: Not dead, not done
Cryptocurrency alone holds the promise of an efficient, universally accessible, global system of decentralized financial transactions. Meanwhile, today’s mainstream banking systems still take three, four, or five days to wire and transfer money in some cases. While there will always be some element of speculation, the value of cryptocurrency is in the power of transactions.
Financial institutions are currently working away on how to take advantage of blockchain and distributed ledgers, to improve and secure transactions. Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency. Various technically superior coins have come and gone. Whether it is bitcoin itself, a fork of some kind, or another iterative cryptocurrency, this concept and its values will be a part of our world.
Privacy advocates and social media minds continue to integrate crypto-concepts into platforms that leverage utility over value. This application is another case that shows that the value is in the transaction, not necessarily the medium.
In an era not so long ago, the Internet came along to change our lives forever. It took investment, hard work, vision, and sometimes a bit of luck to achieve those little things that add up to big things: shopping, sharing, media, business, and the endless stream of things we do with the Internet today.
In an ideal world, purchases and transactions should be simple, reliable, and secure. The incentives of getting to that point are clear for consumers, banks, and business. Decentralized technology and distributed ledgers will continue to unlock this future.
Crypto technologies, along with the blockchain and distributed ledger have only just begun their journey. Future cryptocurrency innovators in industries across the spectrum have barely started entering the work market at this point. These investors, entrepreneurs, and scientists will emerge from the decentralized landscape of today and combine possibilities with smart contract code, artificial intelligence, and ubiquitous computing platforms to create a new future that will change the human experience.
FOMO — the fear of missing out. It’s a thing. Nobody likes to be the last one in on something. There’s an element of human behavior that shows how people go along with whatever the crowd is doing. When everyone starts running out of a movie theater, you run too. Stupid things happen when the herd starts running like $20,000 in value from poorly informed, non-committed investors.
My one-time collaborator and crypto-figure John McAfee once famously said he would eat his own dick on TV if bitcoin price didn’t hit $1 million by the end of 2020. Considering his proclivity for strong imagery, short-term speculation in cryptocurrency is irresponsible, speculative, and in many cases, can be no better than gambling. I can, however, state that there is little doubt that whatever the future holds, crypto will be there, and I continue to hold.
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