Vantagepoint: Is Our Money Broken?

History is replete with examples of instances when a kingdom faced with massive expenses would force the king to call in all of the coins in the kingdom to determine the value of the kingdoms monetary supply.  During these tabulations, the king would clip the edges of all of the coins so that he could pay the kingdom’s debts and return the clipped coins to its citizens.

The citizens of the kingdom horrified that their currency had been stolen from them feared to say anything at the risk of death. Merchants in the kingdom observed that prices for goods and services increased sharply after the coin clippings because the money was worthless.

This is how currency was originally debased in olden times. Today, our monetary authorities unfortunately are not much different. They no longer go to the trouble of clipping coins. Instead, they simply turn on the printing press and create money out of thin air. This monetary alchemy, the process of creating currency from nothing has been center stage for the last 107 years since the Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913. Since that time the U.S. Dollar has lost almost 99% of its purchasing power.  This reality is forcing consumers to look for alternative sources of money.

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The simplest way to understand this is to answer the following question:

How would you most like to be paid?  You can choose any ONE thing which will act as money for you.

As you contemplate answering that question, you will quickly realize that every civilization has had to confront this problem. What makes good money possible?

Money is essentially a tool for trading human time. History clearly shows us that the corruption of monetary systems leads to social unrest and decay. The challenge of all civilizations is to create a standard of money that is incorruptible and the temptation to manipulate money has always proven to be too strong for mankind to resist. Political interests gravitate towards positions where they try to sway how money can and will be used in society.

Money can become corrupted when it is too easy to produce. When this occurs the value of money comes into question and other forms of money arise.

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When you study the evolution of money you quickly recognize that historically there has been a good that was very valued by people. This good was considered to be MONEY.  If this MONEY was difficult to trade with because of storage, portability or divisibility what people did is they created pieces of paper which represented the actual commodity.  Then they simply traded the pieces of paper instead of the actual good.  Unfortunately, this is the only technological innovation that has occurred with regards to money until Bitcoin was invented.

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The “hack” to this paper monetary system was that bankers, where the commodity was stored, quickly noticed that people very rarely requested the actual commodity which the pieces of paper represented.  So, these monetary authorities simply printed more slips of paper because they had their own printing press to enrich themselves with all the things those new pieces of paper could acquire.

The challenge for anyone who observes the financial markets is to determine for themselves how easy it is for monetary authorities to create money today and the effect that will have on your own personal wealth.  Good money needs to be durable and scarce. If money does not have these properties it has no store of value and can often become worthless.  A money that possesses no store of value is an ongoing source of wealth inequality in a society.

Here is why it matters.

On August 15, 1971 when President Nixon removed Gold convertibility from the US dollar an ounce of Gold cost $35.  After almost 50 years we can see the results of how monetary policy had affected any choice made with that $35.

Gold in 1971 was priced at $35 an ounce. Today that same ounce of Gold is worth over $1900. This represents a gain of $5,328%.

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Based simply upon these facts, what type of money do you want to store your time, energy and wealth in?

While I would like to give central bankers the benefit of the doubt, it is very difficult to ignore that under their stewardship the value of the U.S. Dollar has lost almost 99% of its purchasing power. 

Bitcoin.  There’s a New Sheriff in Town!

Bitcoin is the first cryptographic currency that is decentralized, borderless, and impossible to counterfeit.  At its essence, Bitcoin is digital scarcity.  Since all other digital products can be easily reproduced and “counterfeited”, Bitcoin does for money, what the internet did for information.

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Against the backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis, an anonymous programmer by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto was putting the finishing touches on a cryptographic currency protocol called Bitcoin.  On the very first block of the Bitcoin blockchain he wrote: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

Since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has taken the financial world by storm. In 2010, one bitcoin was worth $0.003, and in April 2021, Bitcoin hit its all-time high of almost $65,000. It has been the best performing asset of all time.

But Bitcoin’s story is about more than just price – it is also deeply rooted in an ideology that believes in that government should never be able to counterfeit or confiscate your wealth for any reason. This idea in and of itself is the fuel that drives people to study and commit to really understanding bitcoin before they fall down the “bitcoin rabbit hole.”

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