The last few days have been rather turbulent in the crypto currency universe. Plenty of people lost plenty of their wealth. My own portfolio is down to about 50% of what it was a month ago - though, to be fair, it has regained about 20% over the last 24 hours. So all I can honestly say is that this has been somewhat unnerving.
However, this reality looks somewhat different if one were to take a wider view of it. The whole crypto technology is less than 15 years old. Over that time period its economic power has grown very significantly. The 10,000 BTC that Laszlo Hanyecz paid for two pizza pies on 22 May 2010 would today be worth about 290 million USD dollars, or about 580 average houses in the US at the April 2022 prices. Real estate has been viewed as a generally solid investment vehicle but measured against the experience of the first BTC pizza purchase it is not all that impressive. If you bought an average US hose the same day Hanyecz made his historic pizza purchase you would only get a return of about 2 dollars to a dollar as opposed to about a 2-3 million to one return on the contemporaneous BTC investment. And, unlike a real estate investment. crypto sports a very low starting threshold - you can literally start with a 5 dollar investment.
Image: Average Sales Price of Houses Sold for the United States (ASPUS)
Captured 14 May 2022
Crypto has not been the most stable asset, to put it mildly. But, as the saying goes, "risk equals reward". A safe investment would typically come with a low yield, i.e., a modest reward.
Captured 13 May 2022
It also helps to consider prior highs and lows in the history of the crypto financial system. We have had mayor ups and downs before. And the fact that the incredible high of January 2018 stands at about 830 billion USD whereas the catastrophic low of today drops down to over 1.1 trillion USD tells you that the long term appears to go nowhere but up. However, fluctuations of over 20% within a day, like it happened yesterday, are certainly unnerving.
But what is also noteworthy is the qualitatively new opportunities to some of the poorest communities in the world. A street trader in Mozambique, a country where on average people earn about 500 USD a year, gets to convert currencies cheaper and faster than ever before using nothing but a smartphone, and thus gain more business. A person in a poverty-stricken corrupt nation gets to trade or invest outside of the corrupt and dysfunctional local financial system. That can open various pathways to wealth to those whose prospects were near hopeless in the past.
Crypto also undermines fiat currency. As we can see now, especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic crisis, fiat currency, issued by governments and distributed to the population but a lot more to corporations connected to governments sponsors the so-called crony capitalism - large businesses thriving on handouts rather than competition. If crypto were to undermine and eventually annihilate this model this may amount to historical progress towards truly just and fair society.
As we can see, crypto holds much promise. It may not look this way at times - but no truly innovative and qualitative improvement in history was immediately seen as such across the board, nor was it ever perfectly easy and free of risk.
Making money, escaping poverty: Bitcoin and Lightning in Mozambique
Joseph Hall, Cointelegraph, 10 May 2022
Bitcoin’s Velvet Revolution: The overthrow of crony capitalism
Nik Oraevskiy, Cointelegraph, 7 May 2022
The Infamous Bitcoin Pizza Would be Worth $470 Million USD If Ordered Today
Dan Kitwood, Romulo Yanes, Cond Nast, Hypebeast, 9 February 2021
Average Sales Price of Houses Sold for the United States (ASPUS)
FRED Economic Data by St Louis FED