This has been bugging me for a while so thank you for endulging my rambling. TL;DR at the end.
I'd like for everyone to just think about what we're trying to do here. Don't forget what the ultimate goal is. Anyone remember? Is it to make a profit? No, that's a secondary goal. The primary goal is to develop widespread adoption of cryptocurrency as an alternative to fiat currency. Anyone remember this lofty goal or did we all forget this while chasing 30% daily price swings. We're trying to complete with USD, GBP, EUR, and CNY, remember? This is EUR vs. USD.
You'll note that this is all data (or click on "All" button on the bottom), going back to 1993 through today. What do you notice? You'll notice an open of $1.22 to €1. After a few months
, it fell about 10%, then rose up 24% over the next two years
only to drop about 40% over seven years
and then almost doubling over eight years
only to drop about a third in the last ten years
to where it is today - almost where we were 25 years ago (approximately). This is BTC vs. USD.
You'll note that this is all data going back to 2011. During the last seven years
it has... oh my God are you kidding me?! This is LTC vs. USD.
Let's not forget what we're talking about. We're talking about currency. For currency to be used, it needs to be relatively stable. Now compare the charts above. Let's say we created a new country called Cryptonia. Which of these would you like to use as currency? EUR? BTC? LTC? My money is on EUR. Why? Because it's relatively stable.
Now let's fast forward a bit and pretend that Cryptonia has adopted Litecoin as its official currency. Our largest trading partner is the US. How would transactions between merchants work in this scenario, taking into account the last few days. I'll use the following prices:
- 1/16: $227
- 1/17: $163
- 1/18: $194
Let's run through a transaction:
- Cryptonian citizen C1 is selling a widget at 1 Litecoin to an American citizen A1
- A1 pays $227 and C1 gets that converted to 1LTC
- C1 is also selling another widget to A2 on the same day for 1LTC and has 2LTC total
- A1 decides that they don't want the item and would like to return it. C1 issues refund of 1LTC. A1 gets $163. A1 loses $64 or 28.2% on the return.
- C1 now has 1LTC
- A2 is decides to do nothing.
- A2 decides to sell the widget to C2 for 1LTC
- C2 says the price is fair since it was 1LTC a few days ago and buys it
- A2 gets $194, a 19% profit from two days ago
- A1 is pissed
- C1 is happy since they made one sale
- A2 is happy since they made a 19% profit
- C2 is happy since they have a widget at a fair price
This works both ways as far as you can do the math in USD vs. LTC to see how this screws over at least one party due to the wild price swings. Note: fiat currency does the same thing with one key difference explained later on.
Don't forget that this is all within 3 days. Now sure, obviously the last few days isn't something that happens every day ... but doesn't it? Look at the examples of EUR:USD. Any sharp spikes or drops have taken months to execute - enough time for relative prices
to adjust. Look at cryptocurrency prices - the swings (from a percentage basis) are wild on a regular basis. In short, cryptocurrency isn't acting like currency. It's acting like an asset and not just an asset but a highly speculative one. The IRS is right to treat it like an asset because if it looks like an asset, and it acts like an asset, then it is an asset.
Where do I believe this should go? I believe cryptocurrency market needs to mature. I believe these drastic price swings need to stop. When will this happen? I believe it'll happen when the cryptocurrency market reaches a happy plateau where the market cap has reached a point where the buyers and sellers mostly eliminate one another and the relatively large price swings - from a percent point of view - are as boring as Mr. Stein
. EUR vs. USD went up 0.03% today. 0.03%. In LTC-speek, that's going up $0.58 for the whole day. Oh and it was a wild ride too. Why it went all the way down to $1.21697 and all the way up to 1.22645. I know, I know - tie me down because I'm out of control.
Is this the only problem? No. Cryptocurrency has another problem and that's the sheer number of types of coins available. How many coins are available? 1,448
. Nearly 1,500 coins all competing with each other for market share. We have Bitcoin at about $200b all the way to something like Digital Money Bits (DMB, an appropriate acronym). What is it? Who cares, it's worth $3,832. Not $3.832 billion or million but literally $3,832 with a volume of $35,509 today and hey, just this June, its market cap reached an all time high of $62,000! You missed the recent run-up though and boy did you miss it. On January 1st, its market cap was worth almost five hundred dollars! Yep, about two Litecoins! But look at it now - it went from $500 market cap to $3,832 in less than three weeks. Clearly this one is shooting to the moon.
This is a problem. Decentralization has an unfortunate side effect of - duh - nobody being in charge. There's no real clearance for these and some people with a little bit of money can literally copy and paste
a whitepaper and have this chart
and have a serious valuation of almost $17b from $140 million in literally 30 days. This doesn't act like a currency either.
This is a problem.
Don't forget, this isn't like the dot-com era. We're not launching IPO's and .com companies that have different ideas. Amazon isn't like Ebay, or Google, or Yahoo, or Facebook or anything else. They all have different ideas for different segments of the population. We are in the cryptocurrency market. The world today has 180 fiat currencies
. Cryptocurrency market is approaching 1,500. We need to trim the fat and the outright forgeries. Market cap isn't enough to weed them out. There needs to be something, a stabilizing force, that should act as a clearinghouse for launch of new cryptocurrencies. The market has failed to destroy shitcoins. Heck, it rewarded them based on lies, paid endorsements, FOMO, and FUD for other coins. This doesn't help the cryptocurrency market. It helps a few people get really wealthy really quickly and you are left holding the bag, so to speak. Should coins only be allowed to be introduced when its network reaches a certain hash rate? Isn't that the only objective point of value we have - number of mathematical calculations and power used in those calculations? You can't fake that.
What's another problem with cryptocurrency? It's what it represents. The governments don't see crypto as a positive force. After all, it directly competes with their own currencies. Can the governments shut this down? No - this is the Internet, after all. But they can kill it in other ways. I don't know how many people here remember but my first brush with Bitcoin was the ransomware viruses which wanted $300 in Bitcoin to unlock files. Bitcoin was seen as something tied to illegal activities. If governments - and let's say the US, South Korea, and China in particular - ban Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in particular then what they'll really do is make transactions illegal. What's the on-ramp and off-ramp to/from crypto? The banks which are already regulated. Now let's say you're in the US, your bank account is tied to your Coinbase account and you have some cryptocurrency. US issues a regulation which states that trading cryptocurrency is now illegal. It issues orders to all US banks to shut down related accounts. The following things will happen: cryptocurrency prices will tank and everyone is going to scramble taking money out which would likely overload the system, causing massive delays.
But let's say you're left holding your crypto and it's been a month. What can you do with it? Not much. Crypto isn't accepted in enough places yet. You can continue holding, hoping the price and ability to extract will come back one day. After all, you can't get your money back. Your bank closed your related account. You can open another one at any new bank but they'll either ban you from connecting your account to Coinbase or they'll confiscate any money coming from Coinbase and charge you with a crime. Now have the governments banned crypto? No - you can use and trade crypto all you want since it can't be traced. But have they effectively? Yes. Ironically, it's the banks that'll save us and I think that's why Ripple blew up. After all, if you have a cryptocurrency that sucks the bank's [censored] and plays along, you can get:
- somewhat decentralized
- tied to various governments, i.e. no ban, little competition
- and use the banks money for lobbying to make sure the governments don't ban it
I think that's why something like Ripple blew up - because it doesn't care much about regular people, it wants to be the speedy highway for bank<->bank transfers.
What's a solution to this problem? More regulation and playing nice with the governments. Crypto isn't going mainstream if you shut out all governments. It needs to be connected. This means working with regulators to make sure that KYC laws
are followed, that people report and pay money on any gains, and that - to a point - there's some supervision and tracing of transactions in a way that if you're robbed, you can get your money back. This will create a new job field
, which - considering our current growth - will create a whole slew of high-paying white-collar jobs. Considering the high-level of transactions, banks would start this, followed by private companies, governments, and law-enforcement agencies. A good way to start this is what CBOE and CME have started to do - legitimize the currency. This is a foot in the door to the real holy grail: FOREX markets. When it's legitimized and not in serious competition with governments, it'll be embraced and its availability - along with instant transfers and low fees - will be widely supported by serious platforms.
Until these problems are fixed, the cryptocurrency market will remain what it is today: a speculative asset and not a currency. During the time it's taken me to write this post, Litecoin has gone up 2.6%. Euro remains at 0.03% gain.
Thanks for reading! TL;DR
- We're supposed to be creating a new type of currency - cryptocurrency - as opposed to chasing profits. To do this, we need to have stable charts and not wild price swings.
- We need to dump most coins on the market and focus on serious ideas that have potential. Market cap has failed to reign in fraud with large, multi-billion dollar shitcoins flooding in. Network hash rate and power usage is a measure we can use to determine objective worth.
- We're competing with governments and until we find a way to work with them, the governments can choke the life out of the entire cryptocurrency markets. This should start with KYC implementations and interoperability with the markets such as FOREX.