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Still Trying To See Why You Need Crypto?

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I was reading the Wall Street Journal and was going through the article on the Coinbase listing.  Coinbase is a crypto company worth $91.5B.  For venture investors, it’s a massive payday.

In the comments on the article, one gentleman asked, “Still trying to work out why I need crypto. I’m old school, but using my card and paying with a tap doesn’t seem too much of an impost on my life. So what’s the big deal? Scratching my head over crypto.”

For 99% of the people asking why you need crypto is a great question.  In everyday life, you don’t.  That is, as long as you limit the scope of crypto to using it for a payment medium when you buy goods or services.  The other problem of course is the entities you are interacting with probably don’t take it.  So, it’s hard to use.

Coinbase built their business on speculation.  Basically, there are a lot of different cryptos out there designed to do a lot of different things. None of them are really operational yet at scale.  Their profits come from people trading the crypto back and forth.  But instead of stocks or bonds of entities that actually do something, it’s cryptocurrency tokens where nothing backs them and the only business is a promise of something cool at scale in the future.

That probably rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

However, crypto will be huge in the lives of people coming into the world today.  Because it isn’t just a medium of exchange, it’s malleable and flexible.  It’s software.

There are certainly some crypto things out there that seem very fraudulent.  But, then you look at tokens like Filecoin or Helium and there is something there.  Filecoin promises distributed cloud infrastructure.  Dumb idea right?  Ask that to the folks that are being censored by the existing dominant oligopolies in cloud infrastructure.  If Filecoin was a viable competitor today that wouldn’t have to happen.

What happens currently when you get a delivery?  The delivery person pings his device which pings a cell network telling all the parties that delivery happened.  What if instead of being forced to use cell technology and being beholden to the cell companies there was a viable competitor like Helium out there?

Both of these uses for crypto work without anyone really knowing how they work.  You don’t need to own the crypto yourself for it to be useful to you.

Blockchain is the back-end technology that powers cryptocurrency.  There are lots of uses for that.  But, it’s not just for finance.  What about supply chains?  Crypto and blockchain could smooth out the bullwhip effect of supply chains and cause the price of goods and services to drop since they will be more efficient.  That could increase competition.  Of course, lock in to one crypto blockchain could also increase monopoly too.  We actually don’t know yet what will happen.

Seeing China embrace crypto should give anyone the creeps too.  Recently they digitized currency.  That means they can track all the purchases one makes with it.  It also means they can deny the usage of the currency or stop you from making purchases or they can simply evaporate it from your wallet.

The one downside to crypto is the tracking.  Even when it is anonymous.  It can be an invasion of privacy.

There are lots of upsides to using it most dealing with making transactions more efficient and reducing friction in transactions.  One example I have cited before is in the art world.  Knowing the actual provenance of a piece of art can be difficult.  With crypto the mystery can be solved.  That concept lends itself to land titles as well.  No need to do a title search on a purchase.

There are benefits to tokenizing some stock equities too.  Mostly because of clearing them.  The clearing process is arcane in stocks.  That gives stocks the potential to be over-leveraged or over shorted.  Settlement and knowing who holds the equity and where it is should be more efficient with crypto/blockchain technology.

I have made some crypto purchases over the years.  I have invested in some crypto companies.  I have done some mining of crypto.

Once you get past the overthrow of the government crazies that embraced crypto early, you can find some really great use cases.

The post Still Trying To See Why You Need Crypto? first appeared on Points and Figures.


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