It seems that Bitcoin’s death was extremely exaggerated, as the cryptocurrency is back and more popular than ever.
Like all societal problems based on profit, Bitcoin just won’t go away. After a short nap, where its death was mourned, it has returned, hitting a record high in January, where each invisible coin was valued at $42,000. Even JP Morgan (another of those financial problems) proclaimed that it could rise to $146,000 and realistically fight with gold on the market.
Billionaire (and part-time referee boxer) Mark Cuban proclaimed it was bigger than Jesus, telling Forbes that the cryptocurrency was ″more religion than solution to any problem.”
So, why does it endure? Well, experts believe that the Bitcoin culture has something to do with it.
“When you buy bitcoin, you’re actually buying into a whole scene…and it’s a scene that can be a part of your identity,” so says Finn Breton, who authored the book ‘Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency.’
CNBC blames social media, with author and assistant professor Lana Swartz believing that “…suddenly, there’s like a new way to see, finance and to have an identity of yourself as an actor in the financial space.”
Swartz takes it further, stating that while the riches Bitcoin promises is only one part of the thrill. The other is the habitual checking our futures numerous times a day, which aligns with these furious times, as we’re conditioned to seek instant gratification and micro-dosing ourselves with dopamine throughout the day. Therefore, being drawn to high-risk high-reward investments like bitcoin “makes perfect sense,” Swartz says.
It’s certainly come a long way. As Jack Rogers noted in The Conversation in 2018, “A mysterious, anonymous entity known as Satoshi Nakamoto posted a white paper on October 31st, 2008, entitled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’. It was the first time that the concept of Bitcoin entered the world. But outside of the cypherpunk mailing lists – those promoting the use of privacy-enhancing technology – this event was hardly noticed. Ten years on, who hasn’t at least heard of the cryptocurrency?
“On just nine pages, the white paper explained how the Bitcoin system would work. Many attempts at electronic cash had already been made going right back to computer scientist David Chaum’s “Digicash” developed in the 1980s. Using an intricate dance of cryptography, Digicash enabled people to pay each other online anonymously, yet prevented users from sending the same money to two different people at the same time (the so-called “double spending problem”).
“For a while, Digicash caught on. Even the likes of Deutsche Bank adopted it, and a growing list of merchants started accepting it. Compared to the credit-based systems of Visa, Mastercard and later Paypal, at least some people could see the benefits of a currency that allowed micropayments with extremely low transaction fees. Anyone with libertarian tendencies loved the idea of using a currency outside the control of any authority.
“But Visa and Mastercard upped their game and won the battle for payment dominance. It seemed the struggle was over, but some cypherpunks refused to give up. Adam Back created “Hashcash” in 1997, which together with Wei Dai’s “b-money” (both cited in Nakamoto’s white paper) and Nick Szabo’s “Bitgold” were the last significant efforts to create an online cash system before Bitcoin. The idea fizzled out following the dotcom bust of 2000-2002. It was only brought back to life by Nakamoto in 2008.”
Clearly, if there’s someone to blame, it’s a man who doesn’t actually exist, who created something we can’t see that promises riches we can’t have. It’s fitting as much as it is absolutely moronic, and perhaps we should just get used to it.