Bitcoin has proven to be a store of value by definition but, is it really money? There are six key features that define money:
- limited supply
- general acceptability as a payment method
While Bitcoin obeys the first five rules, it is not yet a generally accepted payment method. So, much like gold, Bitcoin is, in practice, not money. However, we see how businesses and individuals are starting to accept Bitcoin and even some governments accept it for tax payments.
1. Liquidity: Bitcoin is quite liquid. Crypto markets trade 24/7, users can access their wallets from anywhere with an internet connection and exchanging Bitcoin for fiat currency is quick, cheap, and easy. In some cases, exchanging for fiat may not even be necessary. A growing number of businesses have begun accepting Bitcoin as a direct form of payment.
2. Transportation: Bitcoin is more easily transacted than gold and thanks to its virtual nature there is no need for physical transportation. Bitcoin is generally legal to use across the borders of different countries, with a few exceptions. The anonymous nature of Bitcoin makes it challenging to regulate.
In many countries, you cannot cross borders while carrying gold without regulatory permission. Also, when investing in gold, you’ll generally only be able to purchase it from registered dealers and brokers.
3. Custody: Bitcoin is easily stored, confiscation-resistant and impervious to counterfeiting. While you should only buy physical gold if you can expensively and safely store it, Bitcoin’s encrypted and decentralized system makes it cheap to store and difficult to steal.
4. Price appreciation: While gold has a 5,000-year established history of serving as a store of value, Bitcoin was created in 2009. The blockchain technology that underlies the Bitcoin network is just as new, and no decentralized peer-to-peer network like Bitcoin has ever existed before. This explains the volatility of Bitcoin and gives a clear advantage over gold: the potential for price appreciation.
5. Inflation: The government has been printing unprecedented amounts of money since 2008, and it is starting to have an impact on the wider economy. That manipulation cannot be manufactured in the same way since Bitcoin is limited to only 21 million coins (more than 90% of them are already in circulating supply). When it comes to hedges against inflation, Bitcoin is looking more and more like the new gold.
Launched in 2009 by a unknown developer, Bitcoin was the first and most valuable entrant in the emerging class of assets known as cryptocurrencies.
The term altcoin refers to all cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin.
No coin other than Bitcoin can lay a credible claim to being outside the control of anyone else, and as such, the entire point of utilizing the extremely complex structure underpinning Bitcoin is moot. Contrary to Bitcoin, altcoins’ supply and design can easily be altered, whereas Bitcoin’s monetary policy is for all intents and purposes set in stone.
Bitcoin’s 1-megabyte blocks mean that the amount of transactions that can be processed per day is very limited.
There are many possibilities for increasing the number of bitcoin transactions without having to alter the architecture of Bitcoin as it is, and without requiring all current node operators to upgrade simultaneously. Scaling solutions will come from node operators improving the way they send data on Bitcoin transactions to other network members. This will come through joining transactions together, off-chain transactions, and payment channels. On-chain scaling solutions are unlikely to be enough to meet the growing demand for Bitcoin over time, and so second-layer solutions are likely to continue to grow in importance.
Most governments won’t ban Bitcoin because it would be ineffective. It is almost impossible to ban people from using code on the internet.
A ban would be more impactful if all countries were to coordinate and implement it simultaneously. However, a global coordination is unlikely in a multipolar world where several countries and cities already started to embrace Bitcoin. Will governments want to turn away from this powerful technology when others embrace it?
There are even question marks about the legality of any potential Bitcoin ban in countries like the United States, because Bitcoin is ultimately code, which could be a protected category of free speech under the First Amendment.
Bitcoin is a digital currency which operates free of any central control or the oversight of banks or governments. Instead it relies on peer-to-peer software and cryptography.
A public ledger records all bitcoin transactions and copies are held on servers around the world. Anyone with a spare computer can set up one of these servers, known as a node. Every transaction is publicly broadcast to the network and shared from node to node. Every ten minutes or so these transactions are collected together by miners into a group called a block and added permanently to the blockchain. This is the definitive account book of Bitcoin.
HOW TO STORE YOUR BITCOINS?
Bitcoins can be stored in digital wallets: a hot wallet is connected to the internet; a cold wallet (or hardware wallet) is not.
Cold wallets are the safest option for storage as they stand a far lesser risk of being compromised. These wallets store a user’s address and private key and typically come with software that works in parallel so that the user can view their portfolio without putting their private key at risk.
«I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take it out of the hands of government. We can’t take it violently: all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop.»