Bitcoin Opinion: A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

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this is not financial advisement, simply my opinion and thoughts. Most of my personal savings are in some form of cryptocurrency so please take whatever I say with a grain of salt. After all, the more people who join crypto, the more it will increase in value

Before I bombard you with weird ideas and, most definitely, crazy concepts of all sorts, let me give you a clear picture about myself. I work in IT, more specifically with ERP systems. I’m not really the best at what I do, but I’m confident enough to know what I’m doing (most times). I’m also the founder of a web platform called Bityond, which goal is to match people to jobs by skills, experience and characteristics. It will soon undergo an ICO, which I and the team are preparing at the moment to transition Bityond from a centralized organization into a distributed network model. I also write opinion articles on cryptocurrency, advise ICO projects like Arxum and I’m currently developing smart-contracts for different projects.

“Right, so you’re a kind of an expert is that it?”

 

Very few people are cryptocurrency experts in the world (Andreas, Jimmy, Vitalik for example) and if you’re looking for #WHENMOON price predictions and tales on how much money you can make investing in cryptocurrencies, I must disappoint you. My goal is not to teach you how to make gazillions in cryptocurrencies, as I really don’t know how one could achieve that (rather than pure luck or an absolute understanding of the market). Instead, I’m going to speculate, not on price, but on technology.

Old friends, long gone

The day bitcoin was first mined and officially went Live, was also the day someone successfully achieved something people have been trying to accomplish for a few years: to create a digital currency detached from governments, banks, legislation and centralized control. But in order to get there, people had to first understand how money works. Before bitcoin there was digicash, a digital currency (obviously) but centrally stored. So it was prone to the same problems centralized financial institutions might suffer, like hacking or expropriation of content by  malevolus agents, due to the fact it had a single point of entry, it was centralized and it wasn’t trustless. Trust was put on these digicash servers to work as a ledger which did not work well. Why? Simply because no architecture will ever work as digital money without economic incentives implemented.

Fast forward a few years and we arrive to bitcoin. The key difference here is that the ledger, blockchain, is owned by everyone who decides to download it and it is verified by third-parties called miners, as most of you know.  Bitcoin in its core, and the way it works, offers economic incentives for these third-parties, to verify transactions and behave according to the rules. It’s the first triple entry accounting system that actually works!

Rey, these are your first steps

Did banks and financial institutions support this movement? You already know the answer, as most read and watch non-traditional media channels. But for most people cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, is the unregulated monster that is dooming the stability of the financial world and traditional fiat-currencies.

However, and thankfully, cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Maybe not forever, but hopefully will last a long time. We finally have an alternative to centralized forms of transacting money digitally. Sure, you can just give money on-hand, but if you wish to be a regular person and buy stuff online you’re doomed. The alternative? Home-banking! This is, if you actually have access to that technology. Does it make sense there is technology which allows for people to transact digitally and for it be proprietary? Meaning, it belongs to a company which can monetize it and decide whether or not you’re “worthy” enough to use it. As if this weren’t enough power concentrated in a few institutions, they can also freeze your assets if a government demands it, for example.

“That happens for the protection of the people”

Ah! The protection of the people should be any government’s top priority concern, I completely agree, which is why I ask: If I chose to put my money in something I believe in, who can decide if I need to be protected? If I am not doing something illegal, like buying drugs on the black market, then there is no reason for me not to put my money wherever I goddamn want.

This is not an opinion, this is a fact.

If I choose to put all my assets in oranges I can. If I choose to put my assets in companies shares I can. Now, why would cryptocurrencies be any different? There should be no rules on exchanging fiat-currency for cryptocurrency. No regulation authority or government should have the power to decide who can exchange money. Well they can now because the currency is produced by central banks; what if it wasn’t?

All who gain power, are afraid to lose it

Want to regulate the cryptocurrencies market? Sure, regulate companies using cryptocurrencies, institutions, etc. Do not regulate cryptocurrency itself or how people can exchange money for cryptocurrencies, otherwise you’re going to have a really bad time. There are plenty of examples of what happens when a country blocks people from using a certain currency, and trust me it does not work at all.

Anyhow, looking at how the future will look regarding this topic I see a very strange road ahead. We see some governments supporting its usage by either removing taxes completely or lowering them substantial for cryptocurrency-to-fiat gains. Others, however, are backing out either banning cryptocurrencies or by banning exchanges. I have speculated in the past how banks could block fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchanges, and while it did happen with some banks in some countries for a while, quickly stopped. Banks realized, as any business, if you do not allow your customers to buy bitcoin for example, they will move their accounts to a bank that’s a little less conservative. This is not speculation, it’s clearly stated on the bank of America 10-K (a document that works more or less like an investors report so to speak), cryptocurrencies are viewed as a threat in two different ways:

  • As I said if you do not allow exchange of fiat-to-crypto you will lose customers;
  • You cannot profit from most fees banks traditionally charge.

How about that?

Besides clearly stating “well it seems we won’t be able to continue ripping customers off as we do today”, it shows willingness to adapt. But what scares me the most is that I really don’t see banks adapting at all. I mean, banks are people on boards making decisions. If you’re threatening their existence and way of living, oh boy they will rip you apart. And that can be easily done by buying cryptocurrency and manipulating the market. It would be an elegant solution to a simple problem: if you can’t beat them, destroy them from the inside out.

Join me and together we can rule the galaxy

This last paragraph is purely speculation I admit, although I did have fun writing it. I’m sure some clever minds will figure out how to monetarize bitcoin institutional accounts soon (if they haven’t figure it out already).

Let’s move forward people. My point wasn’t to discuss if cryptocurrencies are valid or not (tip: they are!) but to think about how the world will look after they are more prominently used by everyone.

For the sake of the whole thing, we shall assume 20, 30, 40 years from now we all use cryptocurrencies. They are widely used on a day-to-day basis by people, although companies still use fiat-currency for lending and institutional commerce. As people get a wider and broader understanding of money, and how different currencies can and should be used, businesses will see an opportunity to adapt and change business models to better suit people’s needs. Corporations have already adopted decentralized business models (Google, Amazon, Microsoft) with cloud-based servers, securely stored on “server-farms” located somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  Moving forward, Governments should soon start to adopt more and more this decentralized model. It’s not easy and due to the many data protection laws and regulations (which have been put in place due to the misappropriation of users’ data, by many corporations). Despite this, I’m sure there more nations will follow the steps of countries like Estonia and Dubai. The real disruption will happen, in my view, when the entire economic, politic, financial systems and institutional organizations start to move from the centralized and decentralized models, into a distributed model.

Hit it, Chewie!

I don’t think we realize how fast things will change, nor how deep it will affect our lives.

Do you know how the internet works? Does it matter? You still use it, right? Same thing will eventually happen with cryptocurrencies, which will be the fuel behind its usage. Meaning:

when people are able to use cryptocurrency as they use the internet, we’re good.

I’m going to use the typical example of how economic incentives are badly used today, mostly via rewards. Usually, companies give rewards like free products or free credits to spend in-store, something for you to come back and spend more money, basically. That’s all pretty fine and it works well because people know no better. What if companies, instead of handing out rewards, handed out tokens to all agents who interact with them? Tokens could have direct value associated, mostly like shares (where companies pay dividends for example). Or they could be used to buy products, like a currency. Or they could be traded for other tokens or currencies. Imagine if you got rewarded for sharing data, like pictures, videos, text and virtually any type of content? What if advertisers paid you for sharing your data, hence allowing them to better advertise products to you, with more added-value for their customers? What if you could receive tokens for sharing or validating skills? What if you received tokens for sharing resources, like energy, computer storage, whatever you can think of.

Can you imagine a world where you don’t have one, but multiple sources of income because everyone is actually an investor without knowing? In a world where money has a purely digital form, where tokens can be swapped for currency, where payments happen instantly with minimal fees, who the hell can tell me I’m insane?

They would be crazy to follow us, wouldn’t they?

If you think I’m that crazy, think what choice do companies have but to change? If they do not change they will disappear. As a customer, you will get more value from a business that gives you a cryptocurrency or a crypto-asset for sharing information or using their product, so why should you go back to a business that doesn’t give you that?

Distributed networks are simple to understand. How they actually work is an entire different ordeal. But for this article’s purpose, I’m skipping that “bit”. Any company can move into a network model, even if it’s Public:

(a) If you are public owned, ask permission to your shareholders. If you decide to increase your equity the sales pitch will be easy: just look at how much money successful ICOs are receiving. Give your shareholders the same percentage as they owned (it’s all about ethics) and be amazed how your company’s value immediately increases. #justlikemagic

(b) If you’re a private owned company you can move into a distributed model at any time.

The rules are simple:

  • Create tokens that represent your company. There are different types of tokens you can create, with different purposes. Utility, voting or revenue sharing are just some options you have.
  • Distribute those tokens to your community: suppliers, customers, partners and users. Tokens must be given to any agent interacting with your company.
  • Tokens must have an economic incentive and people should be able to trade them for other tokens (or cryptocurrencies).

Let’s use a practical example, imagine I owned a spaceship junkyard called Watto’s.

Now in my business model I’ve incorporated tokens and as an economic incentive by allowing users to spend tokens as a discount on products and I also pay a revenue share to token holders every year. Tokens are given for free depending on the amount purchased and they can also be purchased from other token holders. I have set a limited supply so it’s a deflationary token meaning it will increase in value, as fewer tokens are available as time goes by. I started by giving tokens to all my suppliers so that they had an incentive to sell to me . My customers also have an incentive to drop by again as they can spend tokens if they’re short on cash (works as a discount).

As a consumer you now have more ways to increase your income. It’s not only about your full-time job anymore. Remember all your other skills and passions? Yes, you can put those into work and get rewarded for that. By giving extra economics incentives to people, companies are creating more sources of income. We could even consider a great percentage of people not having stable, full time-jobs in the future. Why should they?

Distributed ledger technology working alongside with economic incentives can help the sharing and gig economy really flourish. With minimal intermediary fees, where time can be actually translated into money due to the lack of third-party frictions, it will be easier to monetize time spend doing tasks or monetarizing the economy of assets sharing (like vehicles, houses, appliances, tools, energy, data, etc).

Do you agree with my vision for the future? Or am I being too naive?

Share your opinion and thoughts!

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With an academic background in economics and professional experience in tech, I believe cryptocurrencies to be the fuel that will drive the 21st economies. I have founded Bityond, a tech skills-matching platform. Tweet me @Febrocas