Noah Smith makes the case for Bitcoin as a new gold. The problem recently has been that it hasn’t held value well. Perhaps there’s a future where it’s used more in transactions, once fees are decreased, giving it a resurgence in a new manner.
There are essentially three reasons Bitcoin isn’t working out as a currency — twotechnological, and one economic. Technologically, Bitcoin tends to be slow and laborious to use because it verifies transactions in small blocks. That problem isn’t particularly hard to overcome — just use bigger blocks, or use a form of temporary credit to ease the burden on the network. More ominously, Bitcoin relies on people known as miners to verify all transactions, and compensates them by creating new Bitcoins. But soon, this will stop, since the total number of Bitcoins is capped at 21 million — at that point, transaction fees will be needed to pay miners.
It’s very possible that all of these technological problems will be overcome, either by Bitcoin or by rival cryptocurrencies. Lots of smart people are working feverishly on solutions. But there’s also an economic reason why Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will never be useful as money. Things that are good financial investments don’t make good currencies, and vice versa.
via Bitcoin Is the New Gold at Bloomberg.com