What started out as a revolutionary way for us all to be in control of our money, has started to become more of a tool for investors, traders, and people looking to make a buck.
The idea behind a Cryptocurrency is great, something that I wholeheartedly support and believe in. Since the inception of Bitcoin back in 2009, the focus and end game was to change the financial exchange between two people by cutting out the middleman (banks). Bitcoin started out as a digital currency with a goal to revolutionize the financial system. As the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have increased dramatically and become more volatile than ever, we need to ask ourselves whether that moment has changed the course of Bitcoin; from a beloved currency of the digital age to just a digital stock.
Now, this isn’t to just point fingers at Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies to say it’s bad, or useless. Rather, let’s focus on its purpose instead of its value.
This has become a game about profit
After a quick scour of internet forums, blogs, and social media; the talk seems to be mostly about whether the price is going up or down, what people are buying with their profits after cashing out, and how panic-stricken they are after this recent Crypto-Market correction. The average mindset is more about how “it’s a crypto coin so you can make money with it” as Mike Brown from Inverse.com reported in an article about Ripple (XRP), rather than the idea of having coins in your wallet for shopping. There’s nothing wrong with investing, making a profit, or trying to make some extra money off of new innovations. The retail revolution of Cryptocurrencies seems to have been set back a little because of the investment opportunity. Many holders of various Cryptocurrencies will agree (at least to themselves), they’re holding for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, rather than being able to buy their groceries in a few years. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not against that as there isn’t really much use for cryptocurrencies at the moment aside from sweaty palm gamble, however, I’m 99.9% confident this won’t be the case in the future. But there’s always the possibility that we could lose sight of the initial goal turning cryptocurrencies into just a digital stock of the future.
Over the past several years there have been many different tokens, coins, and wonderful innovations developed based on Bitcoins open source framework such as; Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Monero, Lisk, ZCash, and the list goes on… literally, the list goes on for days. Many of these developments are fantastic and the underlying principle behind them is to change the way we use money. To little surprise after taking a dabble to see what many people are saying about them, most of the results consist of people talking about how high the price can get, or whether now is a good time to buy. Occasionally there’s the odd gem about how a new vendor as accepted a new token as a form of payment, while on the contrary there are also companies like Steam who’ve announced they have removed Bitcoin as a form of payment due to its volatility and high fees.
Let’s go back to Ripple (XRP) for a moment; one of, if not the most hated developments to arise out of Blockchain Technology. And aggressively stated by many Crypto-Enthusiasts how it’s not a Cryptocurrency. Which is very true as it’s more of a Bank Note than a currency, not the point though. Rather than being an independent currency, somewhat of a digital hipster like the others, Ripple is working towards bridging the gap between Digital Currencies and how we currently use money today. This might not be the way people wanted the bridge to happen, but it’s rather fascinating to see how so many people are displeased with the efforts. When I heard about Ripple; along with probably 12 other people in the world really like the effort of what it’s trying to do. When I had a look to see how people felt online, it was a cozy balance between people arguing about whether it will become $1000 USD, and how it’s not cool enough to hang out with the other cryptocurrencies.
So, what can you buy with Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrencies? Well, I’m going to be a little bias here, and say that you can buy other Cryptocurrencies, or you can send them to other people which they can then exchange for their paper money to go spend or put in their bank. Aside from the odd online retailer who accepts them, you can pretty much just buy other Cryptocurrencies.
Just let me buy a pizza with my Litecoin…