Cryptocurrency has had some of bad press recently with the turbulence in the markets and the attention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, among others.
Those of you who have been #hodling for “when lambo, when moon?” may be a little disillusioned right now, but there’s plenty to love about crypto.
1. Number one for us is the feeling that we’ve gone from science fiction to science fact. I mean, how else would you be buying cocktails at a distant spaceport or hiring a space yacht to travel between the stars? Eight years ago the first real-life transaction took place when a pizza was famously bought for 10,000 Bitcoin. We’re definitely going to be using cryptocurrency in day to day life in the near future.
2. One of the really amazing benefits has got to be the social impact that cryptocurrency and wider blockchain technology are already starting to have. There are plenty of people in the world who don’t have access to the banking system that we take for granted. We tend to focus on our first world problems, and forget that cryptocurrency and blockchain have the potential to change lives, stimulate economies, and make the world a better place for everyone.
3. Cryptocurrency works fast thanks to its peer-to-peer basis. We know there’s a lot of talk around speed and block sizes and Lightning network and off chain transactions, but any grumbling is a problem of perception. If you make transactions through your bank, even using an apparently ‘instant’ method like a contactless card or making a transfer online, it can typically take three days to process the payment. Because there’s no intermediary in cryptocurrency, wallet to wallet transactions are immediate even if it feels as if they’re taking a bit longer. Getting rid of the intermediary also benefits people in developing economies because they don’t have to rely on potentially corrupt central processing.
4. Cryptocurrencies are programmable. That means that they can behave differently from normal money. You could hard wire terms and conditions into a sale, or you could exchange payments of time, or expertise, or goods and services instead of a pure monetary value. This makes the growing list of tradeable tokens really exciting: the future is not just about digital dollar bills.
5. Cryptocurrencies are on the cutting edge of innovation. If you’re investing on the ground in crypto (this is NOT advice and remember that the value of investments can go down as well as up) then you’re enabling software developers and entrepreneurs to test the boundaries and change our way of doing things. The rapid innovation that we’re seeing in the application of blockchain technology has to a large part been financed by the growing cryptomarkets. Sure, there is still plenty of snake oil out there, and we still have a long way to go, but give yourself a pat on the back for your part in changing the world.