How Token Hodlers Create Added Volatility

A post from late September by Primoz Kordez, an advisor at ICONOMI, on token “hodlers” create volatility:

…there will always be a certain share of token holders who act as investors, either active or passive. Even if these investors are passive in their behavior, do they really have no effect on a network at all? Interestingly, in the token economy an investor is someone who impacts the floating number of tokens that can be utilized. By having more “hodlers” or passive investors in the token ownership structure, they effectively take tokens out of circulation for use. Assuming velocity of tokens and total spending stay constant, the floating value per token must increase if more tokens are hoarded by investors.

Essentially, the number of active tokens is reduced thus making them more susceptible to large swings caused by a large buy or sell from a passive investor. If a number of tokens are suddenly dumped onto the market:

It can lead to a downward spiral in which investors’ decisions cause underutilization of tokens exchanged, leading to lower network value and causing additional investors to flee.

This problem is most costly when token utility users (as opposed to passive holder) need more tokens to meet increased utility demands. They must trade for the tokens from another coin at a poor rate and don’t benefit from a higher token value since they require tokens for real usage.

The best scenario for stable and predictive token dynamics is to have more actual users in the ownership structure, but this isn’t something that can really be controlled.

Good projects need to be owned by real users – not passive investors. Users get the most value out of the network and should be rewarded for usage. Perhaps it’s possible to reward heavy users with increased token values or additional tokens. Using Vitalik’s idea of a predetermined sink, some percent of unused tokens could be burned, thus slightly reducing the number of tokens held by non-users? (A holding tax of sorts).

Is Bitcoin money?

Bernstein report examining whether Bitcoin is money by looking at the history of money.

On the “myth of barter”

The notion of barter evolving to money was a convenient
assumption for thinkers and economists. People did not really try
to exchange chickens for wheat because there were no matching
engines back then to solve the double coincidence of needs.
Instead, people starting storing goods of common use (e.g. salt)
which everyone else finds useful and hence, commodities such
as salt, sugar became convenient alternates to currency. History
is filled with cases of salt, dried cod, sugar, hides, even nails
being used as currency. Thus, currency in simple terms is
something the society believes in to be acceptable universally.
Currency evolved to metals for long distance trading as metals
are durable, portable and divisible.

On what gives Bitcoin value:

Some of Bitcoin’s value does indeed come from its usefulness for
payments or monetary transfer.

Bitcoin is valuable in this regard only for “censorship resistance.

In fact, Bitcoin could be seen as virtual ‘bearer cash’ economy
supported by a decentralized ‘trustless’ network – a new crypto
economy with its own protocol or policy. The faith of its citizens–
software developers, miners, investors, early individual and
sovereign state adopters would drive the value of that network

They conclude:

 …for now Bitcoin has only emerged as a ‘censorship resistant’ asset class.
We will delve deeper into Bitcoin and its cryptographic cousins in
the coming editions.