Being objective about Bitcoin. Is it possible?
In a word: No.
But let me elaborate…
Bitcoin. When the word comes up in conversation, the reaction from anyone familiar with the topic goes one of two ways, usually.
A: It’s a world-changing paradigm-shifting technology that will revolutionise society.
B: It’s a fad, or worse, some kind of ponzi-like scheme designed to make money off other people who are dumber than the last buyer.
It’s pretty tough to be objective about the topic. The bias is unavoidable. After all, if you have money invested in Bitcoin, it’s pretty hard not to want others to adopt it. It’s in the best interest of any Bitcoin hodler for others to adopt the currency. On the flip side, if one does not hold the digital coin, it’s in their best interest for it to not take off, if only for “I told you so” rights, but sometimes for much more, such as vested interests in a traditional, centralised economic system of banking and trade.
The only way to approach being objective about Bitcoin is to be purely analytical about the numbers, and to do a little research into the topic. Even then, it might be impossible. Of course, those who deride Bitcoin will point to the recent “crash” and bearish situation as an indicator of its failure. Critics of this nature tend to focus on the last few months of Bitcoin’s existence, ignoring eight previous years of growth. In reality, the currency has grown in adoption and value at an amazing speed and is continuing a healthy long-term pace, despite the current sideways situation.
Now, the market value of Bitcoin is important, but it’s not all that is important about Bitcoin. The technology itself, how we interact economically, goes beyond Bitcoin’s value compared to fiat. Many critics of Bitcoin are not even aware of its capacity to be used beyond the realm of monetary currency – for decentralised data, for smart contracts, for the Internet of Things, and much more. This is the true potential of Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
It is also true, in general, that most critics of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, have not necessarily done a great deal of research into the topic, since they have generally dismissed its validity and therefore are not motivated to learn about it. On the other hand, those who have dug into it and taken time to learn about it are generally more convinced of its validity and potential. There are also those who have studied up on it, are aware of its potential, but perceive it as a threat to the status quo, in which case it is best to dismiss it publicly whilst attempting to curtail its growth behind the scenes. No matter which one you are, you are biased; whether it be your affinity for the technology, your disregard for it, or your derision of it.
I suppose it’s an unwinnable argument. Personally, I’ve studied up on it quite a bit. Now, I’m no expert, but it looks to me like it will be something that does change the world, similar to how the Internet did years ago. But it might take longer than Bitcoin believers want. We have been spoiled by extremely fast movement in the market and media buzz in recent months. It might be time to just let things progress gradually and maybe — in a few years — we can look back on this as the beginning of a new era in technology and economics. We just have to wait and see.