Is Bitcoin Money?
Is Bitcoin Money? by Jim Rickards – Daily Reckoning
At various times in history, feathers have been money. Shells have been money. Dollars and euros are money. Gold and silver are certainly money. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can also be money.
People say some forms of money, such as Bitcoin or U.S. dollars, are not backed by anything.
But that’s not true.
They are backed by one thing: confidence.
If you and I have confidence that something is money and we agree that it’s money, then it’s money. I can call something money, but if nobody else in the world wants it, then it’s not money. The same applies to gold, dollars and cryptocurrencies.
Governments have an edge here, because they make you pay taxes in their money. Put another way, governments essentially create an artificial use case for their own forms of paper money by threatening people with punishment if they do not pay taxes denominated in the government’s own fiat currency.
And the dollar has a monopoly as legal tender for the payment of U.S. taxes. According to John Maynard Keynes and many other economists, it is that ability of state power to coerce tax payments in a specified currency that gives a currency its intrinsic value. This theory of money boils down to saying we value dollars only because we must use them to pay our taxes — otherwise, we go to jail.
So-called cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have two main features in common. The first is that they are not issued or regulated by any central bank or single regulatory authority. They are created in accordance with certain computer algorithms and are issued and transferred through a distributed processing network using open source code.
Any particular computer server hosting a cryptocurrency ledger or register could be destroyed, but the existence of the currency would continue to reside on other servers all over the world and could quickly be replicated. It is impossible to destroy a cryptocurrency by attacking any single node or group of nodes.