Ultimately, it’s greed – not a genuine interest in a fundamentally stronger alternative to the status quo – that’s driving Bitcoin prices. So forget Bitcoin being a contender as an alternative currency. At best, it’s a speculative investment.
At the height of its popularity, Bitcoin was trumpeted as a viable alternative currency for the internet age, a monetary system engineered to prevent theft, gaming, and criminalization. Then came the malware, the black market, the legal ambiguities and The Man. Today, you can’t even use it to buy Facebook stock.
Beyond the most hardcore users, skepticism has only increased. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that the currency’s tendency to fluctuate has encouraged hoarding. Stefan Brands, a former ecash consultant and digital currency pioneer, calls bitcoin “clever” and is loath to bash it but believes it’s fundamentally structured like “a pyramid scheme” that rewards early adopters.
Although I think that Bitcoin is ingenious and fascinating in many ways, I don’t believe that it will succeed as a currency. The problem is that a Bitcoin is unlikely to ever be a good store of value (a primary function of any widely accepted currency) because the (eventually) fixed money supply will cause the purchasing power of a Bitcoin to be extremely volatile.
Bitcoins aren’t secure, as both the recent theft and this password problem show. They’re not liquid, nor a store of value, as the price collapse shows and if they’re none of those things then they’ll not be a great medium of exchange either as who would want to accept them? . . . It’s difficult to see what the currency has going for it.
Because, by design, there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoins in existence. And thanks to hoarding and attrition, we can be sure that it will eventually serve as nothing more than as a collector’s item. . . . I would like to call upon the Bitcoin community to stop referring to it as a digital currency. This is misleading and harmful.