Maybe Bitcoin €™s devotees are right, and it €™s the currency of the future. Or perhaps it €™s a ridiculous joke €”a speculative, hilarious enterprise taken to its most insane conclusion. Given that the founder is nowhere to be found, it feels like a hoax, a parody of the global economy. That the technology used to implement it has, so far, shown itself to be impeccable and completely functional, and that it €™s actually being exchanged, just makes it a better joke. The truth is, it doesn €™t much matter if it €™s a joke or not. It works.
What’s interesting here is the steady move away from money as a palpable object to money as trust: first (relatively speaking) we based our economy on gold; next it was all about the paper money; finally(?) it’s become all about trust.
I suppose you could argue it’s always been about trust: money is purely notional, after all.
We once relied on the Federal government to maintain stores of gold, the price of which determining the amount of currency issued. But the price of gold itself was always subjective.
When we untied that apron string and started issuing currency based merely on the ‘faith and full backing of the United States government’ we simply cut out the golden middleman; U.S. currency was valid because we said it was.
Bitcoin is valid tender simply because it exists.
Much in the same way labor and barter for same is valid.
This will be fun to watch. 1