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Friday, May 19, 2017

Bitcoin Is An Asset, Not A Currency

Bitcoin Is An Asset, Not A Currency

Over the past year and a half Bitcoin has been on a spectacular run, rising in value 140% in 2016 and now an additional 49% in just the past month. This surge in value has invigorated Bitcoin backers convinced this boost in value makes Bitcoin a more credible currency, that it is a sign of the cryptocurrency’s strength. Yet the wild swings, both up and down, in the value of Bitcoin do not make it a more plausible substitute currency; they make it a speculative asset, a get-rich-quick scheme.

Is Bitcoin the currency of the future? No. There are two big problems with bitcoin as a currency: its value is unstable and its transaction processing is too slow.

The most important feature of a currency is that it be a stable store of value. This credo, ably explained by Steve Forbes here (among many places), is vital for a developing country economy to attract the investment it needs. Even in developed countries, as John Tamny explained here on Forbes.com, a stable currency value is the key to investment because those who invest are expecting a stream of future earnings to earn back their investment plus some profit. Instability in currency values mean that an investor cannot accurately predict the value of those future earnings. This uncertainty makes investments less valuable; thus, less investment happens.

Over the past month the value of a Bitcoin has experienced an average daily change of 2% in value, sometimes down but mostly up. For comparison, over the same month, the exchange rate between the euro and the U.S. dollar had an average daily change of less than 1% and only changed 3% over the entire month. While Bitcoin was rising 49% in the past 30 days, it had seven days where its value changed by over 3%, more than the value of the dollar changed in the entire month. People don’t want investments or debts denominated in a currency whose value can change by 50% in a month.

Full story at http://bit.ly/2qD56VL

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