As our readers may know, I am a cryptocurrency evangelist and love to talk about Bitcoin and altcoins until I am blue in the face with anyone who will listen. Apart from fielding questions and concerns from Bitcoin beginners, this means that I also talk to many people who either do not fully understand cryptos or people who have absolutely no faith in them.
Recently I had two of these conversations, one with a close friend and one with a close family member. Both of these individuals remain skeptical of and cynical about Bitcoin, and both of them are heavily involved in traditional investments.
THE INVESTMENT BANK CONSULTANT
One of these two works for one of the largest investment and financial services banks in the world as a consultant. He knows finance back to front, and is an incredibly sharp person. He fails to see Bitcoin as anything more permanent than a financial fad. That is to say, he does not believe that cryptocurrencies’ tokens will have huge impacts on the global markets.
He may not be entirely off about this. We keep talking about how the market cap for Bitcoin and other altcoins is incredibly high, but they’ve only recently passed the value of some -albeit large- companies. Cryptos may just not be on the caliber needed yet to be game changing as currencies. Though, the Consultant did concede that trading may still be viable, since many businesses that he is invested in also are not fundamentally shaping the market with their overall value.
What he did find most valuable was the concept of the Blockchain. For the Consultant, a distributed public ledger could bring markets and many other aspects of financial life closer to a trustless business model. This is what he thinks can be a game changer. Though, he noted that since the technology is open source, the Blockchain can be implemented without having tokens themselves being traded -however I suspect that as long as tokens are mined/minted, people will trade them as assign them value-.
THE TRADITIONAL TRADER
The other individual in our two stories is a good friend of mine who works as a Quantitative Data Scientist, he also is very active on the stock market. He and I will text daily about various positions on the market. “Wtf is Tesla doing right now?!” “Ahh! I should’ve shorted Snapchat!” and other messages like this are typical for some of our conversations. I’ll also add in “Hey, did you see that Bitcoin passed $2,000 a coin today?!”
He always is flabbergasted by the performance of Bitcoin, and other alts. “But it’s not backed by anything, like, no institutions are buying it up or have it in reserve like USD.” Again, he is not wrong. Bitcoin is not a reserve currency like USD is. Bitcoin is also the antithesis of many values which large banking institutions -both private and government- hold. He does admit that there may be some money to be made -and lost- in the volatile nature of cryptos.
I think the heart of his thinking here is that Bitcoin, to both of them really, does not seem like a long term viable investment in Crypto Gambling. For me, this is a difference of opinion. Where they are placing more faith in current institutions -that may adopt various aspects of cryptocurrencies-, I place more faith in the disruptive power of cryptocurrencies to institutional norms.