The end of convertibility
Before we talk about the future of cryptocurrency, we have to talk about its past. The post-war dynamics resulted in an era of economic stability that took advantage of much of the world, particularly in market-based democracies. Still, some nations were not satisfied with the various advantages which this system seemed to bestow upon the U.S. These advantages include the ability to take a loan at lower costs, monetize debt, and run balance-of-payment decencies.
Over time, still, it became evident that the U.S. was improbable to sustain this privilege forever. Political and military commitments, originating from the New Deal to the Vietnam War, overstrained U.S. capacity.
To fight increasing inflation, in 1971, Richard Nixon shouldered a series of drastic economic steps. The unilateral abolishment of the direct international convertibility of the U.S. Dollar to gold was one of these steps. Since then, the Bretton Woods system was substituted by a new regime, dependent on freely floating fiat currencies.
What is the meaning of fiat money? In Latin, the meaning of the word “fiat” is “let it be done”. Hence, fiat currency is not supported by a product like gold. It is solely dependent on a government announcement, an order that it qualifies as legal tender. Its value is dependent on the commitment that humans – individually and collectively – make to the government that issues it.
Influential change did not occur overnight, but there has been a slow change in reserve currency investment. In 1970, the U.S. Dollar’s share of universal currency reserves was approximately 85%. In 2021, the number has decreased to 59%. The Euro did not even exist before the change of the century. Still, it now dominates over 21% of universal currency reserves.
The cryptocurrency revolution
Cryptocurrency did not emerge out of thin air. Most of today’s bargains – whether in the dollar, ruble, yuan, or other – are digital. At the coffee shop, we typically do not defray in minted coins or paper dollars anymore. We solely move bits around in databases on a digital ledger. Somewhere in the cloud, my bank balance decreases by $5, and the merchant’s increases up to $5.
The road to bitcoin was flattened with uncountable programmable bargains. The 1970s provided us with TCP/IP, the 1980s Ethernet, the 1990s HTTP and SSL/TLS. In 2008, when bitcoin and blockchain first appeared, they stood on the shoulders of titans. Hash functions for integrity, digital signatures for verifications, append-only time-stamps for unchangeability, and much more.
Revolutionary ideas such as double-entry bookkeeping (i.e. notations on two ledgers, credit and debit) contributed to getting Europe out of the Dark Ages. In 2008, when Satoshi Nakamoto issued his/her paper, “Bitcoin: A P2P Electronic Cash System”. The aim was to accomplish the same feat but on a universal scale. Nakamoto produced a technology that could verifiably develop value (of any sort) across a decentralized network, peer-to-peer, with no reliable mediator.
Cryptocurrency is a digital property that runs on a blockchain, which is an online, dispensed, auditable database of records (blocks) that are bonded together with advanced mathematics and cryptography. The blockchain communication protocol is controlled by agreement, with all parties concurring with the creation, ownership, and transition of coins. The outcome is a new financial network that reduces the “cost of trust”, and even claims to resolve philosophical enigmas such as the Byzantine’s Generals problem.
The future of cryptocurrency is closely related to its remarkable social and political influence. Cryptocurrency has the potential to be beneficial to everyone – from the individual citizen to the nation-state. For both, there is a rising opportunity for financial incorporation, ownership and authority at a lower price, rising confidentiality, and better access to a universal marketplace. Even seasoned investors are astounded at the potential for return on investment.
In addition, at the political level, investing in blockchain provides a rising capacity for electronic government and digital society, with the potential to boost democracy, human rights, the reign of law, and anti-corruption programs. Witness Estonia’s E-residency system, which provides various digital profits that most authoritarian governments would never dream of providing their citizens.
Still, it is exactly the unbelievable potential for economic and political change that may decrease the evolution and adoption of cryptocurrency. In any system, players who begin to lose out on previous profits will take into account defensive proceedings. China is digitizing its currency, the yuan, but is putting limits on decentralized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Russia is seeking to chip away at its dependency on the U.S. Dollar, but is equitably worried about cryptocurrencies; hence, Moscow is purchasing record amounts of gold.
In the West, there is increasing worry about cryptocurrency’s large carbon footprint. Keep in mind that governments govern your access to the Internet, so they also govern your access to cryptocurrency. Here, take into account the extent to which cryptocurrency may become connected to criminals and terrorists.
At the individual level, the potential risks of possessing cryptocurrency incorporate a steep learning curve, and quick technological evolution. Standards, rules, insurance, and norms are new, so there is an actual risk that you will miss all of your money. Cryptocurrency infrastructure has been susceptible, with various hacked exchanges. And cybersecurity worries are also cryptocurrency worries, from lost hardware and passwords to hacking, malware, phishing, extortion, and crypto jacking. But it’s not impossible to assume that the future of cryptocurrency is about cybersecurity at its finest.
If you choose to invest in cryptocurrency, you should regard it as a high-risk investment, and plan appropriately. Your private issues are your digital identity in the cryptocurrency market, and they let you trade cryptocurrency online. If a thief steals your private key, they can take your money or defraud in your name. Cryptocurrency wallets save your private keys. A cold (hardware) wallet is great, as they do not possess a direct connection to the Internet. If you utilize a paper wallet, you should laminate it for long-run storage. For added security, you may desire to expand with numerous wallets. Keep in mind to print and save your backup words in a safe location.
To shield your cryptocurrency investments, schedule for physical security, cybersecurity, and human security. For your devices, install an anti-virus, keep current with patching, and put on your firewall. On the network, take care of public Wi-Fi, and utilize a VPN if possible. For yourself, utilize a good password policy, allow multi-factor verification (MFA), and do not fall for social engineering, phishing, adware, etc.
Information security is a profound issue. For instance, in the world of public key infrastructure (PKI), it is significant to produce a key pair with the contribution of a random number. Some wallets have been hacked because of a failure of sound random number creation, which highlights the challenging nature of security in the cryptocurrency space.
The future of cryptocurrency
In the close future, the horizons for cryptocurrency are limited, solely because it is so new, and there is still much work to do on technical, security, policy, and legal fronts. Take into account only the facet of time: Visa can handle over 50k transactions per second, while bitcoin can process less than 10. So, it is highly improbable that cryptocurrency will dispute the U.S. Dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency in the predictable future. El Salvador’s recent test in making bitcoin an official national currency alongside the U.S. Dollar has not gone well.
Over the horizon, still, the authority of cryptocurrency and blockchain sustains the potential to change not only world finance but world politics. The FinTech space is so important because coders, Internet users, digital revolutionaries, and entrepreneurs consistently find space to hone the way that humans do things. In the end, money is a societal principle, and once the public gets easy with cryptocurrency’s usability, functionality, and security, adoption will come after. But that may be time-taking, and it may need remarkable patience on behalf of the average investor.
In the meantime, it is sagacious to assume that cryptocurrency is a high-risk investment. You should even consider it as a binary investment. While a cryptocurrency like bitcoin may become the most precious asset in human history, its value may also – for some reason that may be hard to foresee, given the large number of variables involved – drop to zero. At the moment, it is improbable to know. But all in all, the future of cryptocurrency is not too bleak.