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Objectivism & the illusion of currency?

Posted by $ AJAshinoff 1 month, 3 weeks ago to Philosophy
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cryptocurrency is literally NOTHING, a promise based on the integrity of a mathematical algorithm.

By definition Crypto means"
noun, plural cryp·tos.
a person who secretly supports or adheres to a group, party, or belief.
adjective
secret or hidden; not publicly admitted:

Objectivism is the idea that human knowledge and values are objective: they exist and are determined by the nature of reality, to be discovered by one's mind, and are not created by the thoughts one has.
Peikoff, Leonard (1991). Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

A=A
Value for Value

So how is it a philosophy based on the tangible and observable can embrace such a vacuous idea for currency? Money being the physical representation of a persons labor, his/her sole property to do with what he or she wish's for his/her sole benefit. How does one give his "value" away for nothing or at best potential from nothing?

Granted the dollar isn't worth much if anything these days. Even so, if worse comes to worst you can wipe your ass with a dollar bill, you can smelt and reshape coins for whatever purpose you have. You can compost paper money to help grow food? Knock $10 worth of smelted quarters into some weak nails or a spoon?

What do can you do with cryptocurrency when it is 'considered' pass'e by the masses? When governments feel too threatened by another competing illusion of wealth (value) and filters out all the supporting protocols for the "currency" 1's & 0's from routers and servers around the globe of those "artists" they don't prefer (or who care not to share)?

What happens when you alone no longer are permitted access to your digital funds or your fund's algorithm gets rendered obsolete by the next version of super computer and your $10k cypto stockpile is worth absolutely nothing?

I get being frustrated with things are they are.But a recent conversation has me wondering if the whole **cking world has gone insane.


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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    The reason that many will give regarding an Objectivist's support for cryptocurrency is that the exchange of value is not based on a government's affirmation of such value, but the real reason may be that it is a "sign of the dollar". It is a way for people who are not centrally localized to exchange value for value in a way that has some degree of privacy.

    Do you really want Joe Biden et al. monitoring all transactions over $600? They already monitor transactions over $10000.
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    • Posted by $ blarman 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      Actually, when testifying in front on Congress, Janet Yellen argued that the IRS already has the right to monitor transactions as low as $10. Just insane. Especially when she went on to try to excuse such behavior as simply "enforcement" of existing tax laws. Nevermind that the biggest tax cheats aren't the people spending $600 on a new TV at Wal-Mart, but the Democrats themselves. One need look no further than to remember Timothy Geitner, the freaking Secretary of the Treasury who owed millions in back taxes. Or how about Al Sharpton who owes millions. Or how about members of Congress like Sheila Jackson Lee?

      The utter hypocrisy and lies make me want to scream...
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  • Posted by JuliBMe 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Value is set by the amount of whatever currency exists that people are willing to pay. The currency itself has no value until the fad of the day takes people by storm and gives it value.

    Gold and silver by different degrees, however, have always been coveted by people and always will be.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Cryptocurrencies are only the latest evolution of the Ponzi scheme, relying on the "greater fool" principle (there's always someone dumber than you are to buy your worthless stuff). The telling factor is when the creator of the scheme suddenly disappears before others get wise to the crime, and the creator of Bitcoin has vanished, just when China made cryptocurrency illegal as a medium of exchange.

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only objectivist to recognize immense fraud when I see it. It's a sad sign of how far our society has gone down the magic "something for nothing" rabbit hole. One encouraging thing is that unlike the Albanian Ponzi real estate bomb, or Iceland diving into the subprime mortgage fiasco, it appears no nation has bought into the cryptocurrency fantasy, which could have a huge impact on international finance when the whole illusion vanishes.

    Preppers seem to be the only people remaining sane, recognizing what an asylum the world is becoming. Goods of real value, as in foodstuffs, ammunition, precious metals, stockpiles of expendable goods (the toilet paper hoarders aren't the crazy ones), crafting skills to barter with are the treasury of last resort if SHTF.
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  • Posted by term2 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Real Money is supposed to be store of value and a means to exchange value.
    Many things have been used as "real money" in the past, the most recent ones precious metals. They last a long time, but are difficult to carry around in a modern economy.
    The idea of paper receipts issued by banks backed by gold was used for a long time, and worked pretty well actually. BUT, when the government took over the issuane of these receipts, they printed more receipts than there was gold to back them up. Then they took away the gold backing altogether. That is where we are today. We have a convenient way to trade using the "dollars", but we lose value continually if we keep them. They arent a store of value at all.

    Crypto is a joke based on nothing at all but people;s. Its even worse than the dollars we now use. I think we have better odds here in vegas than crypto gives us. It can go up or down by large amounts based on who knows what.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I am missing the issue here.

    Crypto currency does not have its own value, and neither does the dollar or any other currency today. They are all simply a means of liquid exchange (vs trade).

    Crypto currency conversion is presently set by the market, completely independently of the central banks. To me, this makes crypto currency completely superior to other currency in that it is not encumbered by government manipulation, a fiscal disease.

    The only thing that can damage this purity and virtue is another intrusive government control in support of more central power, and less individual power.

    Crypto is weird, but crypto supports everything Ayn stood for.
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    • Posted by $ 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      To an extent I agree but ultimately. Disagree. As I mentioned to CG, even without value you still can value, practical use, is paper money or coin. Crypto, there is nothing of value once public (communal) perception decides the 1's & 0's are just vapor and move on to the next craze. Further, computing being what it is today, the algorithm's of crypto curency, the foundation of crypto's supposed worth, will be moot as those algorithms are quickly cracked by super computers.

      What about government filtering out crypto protocols, preventing you from even seeing, let alone getting what you put into it?

      With decades in IT I can assure you that nothing online is entirely secure, nor will it ever be. For every guy like me there are 100k people on the planet who have nothing better to do than smoke cigarettes, drink coffee, eat pizza, and hack other people's system on monitor 1 while watching porn on monitor 2.

      Oddly enough this quote by Franklin is also applicable in this context as well.

      "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
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      • Posted by $ Thoritsu 1 month, 2 weeks ago
        Soooooo. Being able to use bright coins as fishing lures while supporting the central bank is more better?

        Not following. Central bank = bad. Bitcoin undermines central bank. Therefore Bitcoin = good.

        BTW hacking Bitcoin is not easy with supercomputers, but will be super easy with quantum computers.
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        • Posted by $ 1 month, 2 weeks ago
          One knock I've had from day one here was my belief in God. The argument when it comes to belief is that A does not equal A. Why? Because God can't be proven or disproven by objectivist standards.

          Agreed on the computer part. I was working on what we have and are improving on, but it yet to come will make short work out of these algorithms, and millions will lose billions, perhaps trillions of actual money.

          BTW, I'm all for riding the wave investment-wise, provided you know when to jump ship before it crashes.
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        • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
          Actually, I do not really even like the writing of things on computer much. It can so easily disappear, as opposed to things written on paper or in books.
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          • Posted by $ Thoritsu 1 month, 2 weeks ago
            Understandable, but a little late. Like money, computers are not going away are very powerful, and getting more powerful. TVs, toasters, microwaves, LED lights, this computer, and everything else has them. The Confederacy had paper money, that is more worthless than Bitcoin.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      Crypto is not something solid that can be handled, like gold,or even paper. It seems to me that it is some kind of pretense. So why is a "private" pretense much better than a government pretense?
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      • Posted by $ Thoritsu 1 month, 2 weeks ago
        Let me get this straight. You can’t touch it; therefore, it is a pretense. This part of your argument is a fallacy. I bet you have never touched anything in your 401k either. Is it similarly a pretense?
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        • Posted by $ 1 month, 2 weeks ago
          A 401K provides a contractual note to your funds, that you can hold, and is often times backed by the FDIC. Even if paper and coiin are near worthless they are still tangible.

          its one thing to use the web to watch your funds, the actual money you put somewhere, and another thing entire to call a thing with absolutely no substance money.

          Someone write a match algorithm which they claim cannot be violated, corrupted, hacked and then sell shares, for actual money, based on that confidence to millions people.

          Lather-rise-repeat a thousand times and we have a global cybercurrency alternative financial system. This will end up making Bernie Madoff and the $65 billion he swindled look like a rookie. The most amusing aspect is who goes to jail when the bottom falls out? No one. A super computer can't be charged. It's almost funny.

          It's the ultimate con-game.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I have a long response because this is an interesting topic. I think blockchain will change the world, but I'm not sure exactly how.

    “Money being the physical representation of a persons labor, his/her sole property to do with what he or she wish's for his/her sole benefit. How does one give his "value" away for nothing or at best potential from nothing?”

    The nature of money is a medium of exchange to allow trading value without mutual coincidence of wants. It doesn’t necessarily have value itself. If it did, it would complicate things because a) things of value should be enjoyed or deployed to create more value not set aside to exchange other things of value and b) items of value are finite but human work and ingenuity can create unlimited value.

    We could use gold, which has intrinsic uses, but the value in gold is mostly in the reasonable expectation that someone else will take it in trade. Only a small part of its value is from properties like its usefulness in electrical contacts or jewelry. Cryptocurrency is similar except, as you point out, it has zero value. ALL its value comes from the expectation that someone else will accept it in trade.

    With gold or other things that have some intrinsic value, you have to carry them around or get a note from a trusted authority that maintains a ledger showing you have gold in a vault and tracking when you transfer to the gold to someone else’s ownership. Blockchain solves that age-old problem of needing a trusted authority to maintain the ledger.

    When I use fiat money, I must accept that it depreciates at low, predictable rate, assuming the central bank does its job well. So I can’t hold it for long. I have to get it invested in something of value, like real estate or a business. If I just want to store value with low risk, I use a high-grade low-yield bond fund that keeps up with inflation, which requires fees to experts managing the fund.

    I actually think this system is really good, but crypto could be better. With crypto-coins of finite supply, like Bitcoin, there’s a finite amount of money chasing an increasing amount of value in the economy. So while I’m holding Bitcoin, it could actually go up in value without me paying a bond fund manager. I could just hold the hash that unlocks my crypto recorded in the public ledger while I’m waiting to use it on some investment or to buy something to enjoy. I don’t need a bank authority to document I have it or guards to keep it safe. Its the second best place imaginable to keep your treasures safe from parasites, rust, and thieves.

    Caveat: I am not sure Bitcoin will be adopted as the primary medium of exchange. Buying coins on the chance that they may be adopted as media of exchange is speculation, not investing.

    Blockchain in General: The fact that blockchain solves the ancient problem of maintaining a reliable ledger without a trusted authority makes me think it will have a huge effect on the world. I suspect blockchain-based coins will be used widely as a medium of exchange (like USDs) or store of value (like gold).
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    • Posted by $ 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      " Blockchain solves that age-old problem of needing a trusted authority to maintain the ledger."

      So instead you choose a faceless, placeless entity which can cut you off at any time at their discretion?

      again, can DO things with the paper of money and metal of coin. What can you do when the site goes offline and everything you shoveled into crypto current goes away? I doubt you want to try wiping your ass with your router.

      Also again, what happens when the next super computer cracks these algorithms and renders their "integrity" moot, meaning their value is even considered nil (not that it ever wasn't).

      I do understand the nature of value and the idea of desire which makes gold and other metals take on worth.
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      • Posted by term2 1 month, 2 weeks ago
        I suppose that the currencies of today just make one treat them as trading devices, and not stores of value. Make money now, spend the money now, and invest only in your ability to make money tomorrow
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 2 weeks ago
        "placeless entity which can cut you off at any time at their discretion?"
        That's what blockchain eliminates. As long as there are copies of the ledger out there, you cannot destroy it.

        "can DO things with the paper of money and metal of coin.[...] I doubt you want to try wiping your ass with your router."
        I think paper money and metal coins are great, but this is a dubious benefit of them.

        "what happens when the next super computer cracks these algorithms and renders their "integrity" moot,"
        It will be a huge problem for ALL transactions. I agree the more we use encryption for, the bigger the problem it will be if it gets cracked. We will have to invent some better encryption at that point.

        If I had a small case to bury something to be opened in 100 years with the goal of it having maximum value, I would chose gold bars. If I could manage the wealth during that time, it would be in a portfolio of businesses and real estate that provide value for people. But if I were burying it, it would be gold. It certainly would not be a crypto hash. Media of exchange come and go. A house costs a few gold bars. High-end transportation for several years costs one gold bar. It's been that way for centuries.
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        • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month, 2 weeks ago
          I like your balanced response, recognizing there are more concrete mediums of exchange, even though you have faith in the credibility of blockchain. The caution I would pose as the vulnerability of encryption is quantum computers, which the intelligence agencies now believe will ultimately eliminate the idea of "uncrackable" encryption.

          Ultimately, I'm afraid the devotees of cryptocurrency will become a joke, like the folks who used to say "Hang onto them Confederate dollars, boys, 'cause the South's gonna rise again!" The difference is that the Confederate dollar is now worth far more as a collectible physical item than it ever was as currency, while the cryptocoin will be worth exactly nothing.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      Actually, I do not think that governments should be either printing or coining money. Money should be printed and coined by private enterprise, which enterprises would be subject to criminal penalties if found guilty of fraud (misrepresentation in weight, for instance.) In the case of paying for legitimate functions of govern-
      ment (military, for instance) maybe the government should print some scrip, redeemable in local coin/currency.
      Perhaps it would be good, in that case, to have some kind of exchange, where the different currencies would be weighed and measured on scales,
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      • Posted by mccannon01 1 month, 2 weeks ago
        Isn't the Federal Reserve a state sanctioned private entity?
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        • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
          If it's "state-sanctioned", how can it be a private entity?
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          • Posted by mccannon01 1 month, 2 weeks ago
            Hi, LibertBelle. What I mean by state sanctioned is a business given special approval and/or protection by some government law or edict (the state). To get the full story on the Federal Reserve read the book "The Creature From Jekyll Island". The Federal Reserve is actually a private bank formed in ca 1913 and given special protections and permissions by congress. More modern examples are the special government protections given to private companies like Pfizer and Facebook to do what they do without worrying about redress in the courts if they screw up.
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  • Posted by gj289fia 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    El Salvador recently adopted cryptocurrency as legal tender, so far the only nation to do so.
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    • Posted by $ 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      McAfee openly admitted to hacking into Honduras government using the software he provided. My point is ANYTHING electronic online is subject to extreme risk by those who either control or know better how to use the resource. El Salvador's time will come when whoever decides those things decides.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I never thought I would want any "cryptocurrency".
    Actually, I generally prefer to deal in cash, even when checks are obtainable. Even when I have to send money through the mail, I generally buy a money order. I am getting sick of the garbage which is being invented in the modern world. But I don't want to die before I get my debts paid off.
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  • Posted by LarryHeart 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    What we call a dollar is a debt note (IOU) from the federal government to the Banks (Federal Reserve) and represents nothing but a promise by the Federal government to tax the people and repay the value of the loan (bond) that the dollar represents. However the government reneges on it's promise of what seemed to be 100 cents at first by taking out more loans (printing more debt - Federal Reserve Notes we call a dollar) to pay for expenses way above the ability of the government to tax it's people for decades into the future. What that does is dilute the promise (value) of each Federal reserve note we call a dollar since the total note amounts in circulation are much more than what the Government can pay from your taxes. Let's say government takes in a million in taxes but has printed two million notes. Each note then is worth 50 cents not 100. The government has now reduced the value of the Fed reserve note Dollar to less than one cent compared to 1918 when it began as a promise for 100 cents. Inflation of prices is actually the equalizing of prices to the actual promised value of the Dollar note.

    Cryptocurrency or coins made from mined metals are based on a fixed amount of labor put in to mine either digital or actual coinage It is not based on taxes but rather a fixed value and amount of the underlying metal or digital coins. No worse than trading someone else's IOU that you have to pay from taxes. . .
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  • Posted by mgarbizo1 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I think currency is a lot like our history books, influenced and therefore, subjected to the whims of those in power and in control. Objectively, if paper money were to no longer be a trusted medium of exchange for goods/service, then sure, it can then be used to wipe your ass and light a fire to keep you warm, but is that really what you want to fall back on when push comes to shove and the US currency is no longer an accepted form of exchange, like say Venezuela's currency has become? You've defined crypto without really considering the follies of currency as it is today, like fiat currency, which is exactly why our dollars earned today are worth much less tomorrow. As Circuit Guy correctly stated, the only way to win is to exchange it for investment purposes as opposed to speculative purposes. I really think you have to come to the conclusion that values change everyday (sometimes for good and other times for bad, like now), and so do our different media of exchange. Human ingenuity is infinitely capable of producing the next big idea that sends us in a flurry to want to own or be a part of, call it the human condition if you will
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      Some years ago, I would sometimes come into possession of "silver certificates". These were old paper money, and were supposedly redeemable for a certain weight of silver. But an employer of mine told me that the government had repudiated that, and that therefore they could no longer be turned into the government in exchange for the silver. I still kept them as curiosities until I got so low on cash that I had to use them as regular money.
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  • Posted by mcsandberg 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Even worse, it does not do what its claimed to do. Since every transaction is recorded, whenever your ID is compromised, your purchasing history can be found.

    Good old cash is what protects your privacy
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  • Posted by 25n56il4 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I am certain of one thing. Those people in the House of Reps and half of the Senate probably have Mercury in the water they drink. They sure are doing some crazy things. I'm not a psychiatrist but I know crazy when I see it or hear it.
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  • Posted by Kittyhawk 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I really like the idea of "goldbacks": an alternative paper money with actual gold imbedded in it. https://goldback.com/
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      Do you mean "yellowbacks"? My father told me about them, a long time ago, when I was young and worked as a carhop. Later, on the job, I talked about them. On another work night, my boss showed me one. It was a yellow dollar bill.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      I wonder how long they last. Normal paper money wears out much faster than coins.
      They make 1/10oz gold coins, worth $180 USD. I have not seen them, but I don't see why they couldn't make 1/10oz silver coins, worth $2.30. For smaller denominations, they could use 1oz copper.
      Whatever is used, it needs to be resistant to counterfeiting.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 1 month, 2 weeks ago
        Yes, they were called dimes with .0723 troy ounces of silver (worth about 1.80 today.) The problem is that creating them requires real metal and that would cut profits for the banking cartel.
        Ditto for copper coins.
        A pre-1982 penny consists of 95% copper and 5% zinc. 4  It contains about 2.95 grams of copper, and there are 453.59 grams in a pound. Today copper spot price is $4.69/lb.
        A pre-1982 'penny' is worth about 3 cents for its copper. Bankers would probably make the new copper coin with that content a half dollar.
        An ounce of copper has spot price of about 29 cents. That would probably be the cartel's new 5 dollar eagle.
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        • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 month, 2 weeks ago
          I remember when quarters did not have that copper strip in them they have now. It think they started putting it in when I was about 8 or 9 years old. So the currency gets debased.
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          • Posted by freedomforall 1 month, 2 weeks ago
            Those quarters are now the content of what silver dealers call 'silver bags". A 'silver bag' contains circulated U.S. coins minted prior to 1965 (silver quarters and dimes) with $1000 face value, e.g., 4,000 silver quarters. It will contain about 715 troy ounces of pure silver(and weigs about 54 lb.) Today's pricing is roughly $19,000.
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    This is My observation on Crypto Currency lately.

    The coins value rises and falls according to usage, interest and the value of the services it represents.
    Example: Etherium is a block chain network called the Ether and it's not just for the currencys, it's for all services rendered by each of these companies that create ways to make the Ethernet faster, more secure, autonomous and the future of all communication out of the eyes of the government and Deep States...just like the way the Internet was supposed to be.
    There are companies that create more than internet stuff but choose to spur investment in crypto coins instead of stocks on a corrupt exchange.

    These technologies will change forever the nature of the internet and vanquish the corrupt tech industry and social medias we are dealing with now.

    However, I am not in favor of a crypto dollar. We still need a physical currency because of the vulnerabilities of our electrical grid and communications grid in the coming years...there is nothing that can be done to stop what's coming as of yet...and I think the Fed and UN knows this.
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  • Posted by BradA 1 month, 1 week ago
    ALL currency is nothing but an abstraction of productive value. This includes those colored pieces of paper denominated in dollars. They provide a convenient short hand for representing one's production of something that is valued by others. But the actual currency has no intrinsic value*. It's only value is in a shared perception of that abstraction.
    When you accept $100 from someone for something you created, you have an internal notion of what it took you to make it. When you go to exchange this abstraction for an item that someone else has made, you do a calculation of whether your underlying effort is a reasonable trade for the new thing.
    In the case of dollars there is a relatively long history of the shared perception of its value. Cryptocurrencies, not so much. People may continue to value them or they might go the way of the tulips. Time will tell.
    *some currencies are supposedly backed by things like gold or other precious metals. But even that is based on a shared perception of its value. Because, apart from its subjective beauty and resistance to corrosion, it's not terribly useful.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Most of the comments here critical of crytpocurrency are a variant of "government or thieves could steal or vandalize cryptocurrency. That's true of anything of value.

    We're asking too much of crypto or anything if we expect it to be impervious to theft.

    I think many fans of crypto also ask too much of it. They say they want it to be a medium of exchange and a long-term store of value. I think it's great for a medium of exchange, but a long-term store of value is tricky. Value is providing for people's desires, e.g. a business the provides food, apartments, clothes, etc. It seems like crypto zealots want crypto to store value better than actually owning businesses that create value. That's asking a lot of crypto. Real value always comes from people serving one another in mutually agreed trades. Money is a way to do that without barter. If you want to store value, and deploy it to create more value, you have to actually own means of production, not just own a fancy medium of exchange.
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