When did it become acceptable for people to spew uninformed rhetoric on reputable publications? It’s astounding how many lazy opinions are confidently passed on as fact.
Take this recent article by a Forbes contributor:
“Bitcoin has no intrinsic value.”
If this is meant as an opinion, he should say so, because this is the fact: Bitcoin may ironically be the first medium of exchange to ever actually have intrinsic value—a question that has never stopped us before.
The dollar is nothing more than a piece of paper we use because we’ve all agreed to accept it. It’s simply a social fact that allows us to buy things that actually have intrinsic value. It alone has none.
Before dollars, we used gold: a shiny metal that was hard to find. Alone, it carries no intrinsic value. I hear people argue that gold has ”intrinsic commercial value”—but that’s exactly the point, isn’t it?
Bitcoin combines the portability and divisibility of a dollar with the scarcity that makes gold, diamonds, and other commodities “intrinsically valuable.” Of course, scarcity alone still doesn’t make any medium intrinsically valuable—but some other qualities might.
Unlike gold or the dollar, bitcoin carries one additional feature: it’s unseizable.
Imagine how appealing this might have been to the people of Nazi Germany or any other totalitarian regime. Ask the people escaping Zimbabwe, Venezuela, or Syria how much they paid for their Bitcoin—for the power to protect the entirety of their networth from seizure with nothing but a USB card, and a password in their head.
This is precisely why the price of bitcoin spikes first and highest in countries with unstable governments. More people buy it because it insulates them from government corruption.
The frustration here isn’t even that intellectual voices abuse their authority to promote uninformed opinions. It is that we continue to perpetuate the bitcoin conversation without introducing the infinite set of possible applications 2nd and 3rd generation cryptocurrencies stand to offer. We’re zeroing in on e-mail instead of postulating the possibility of google and amazon.
Fortunately, technology has a funny way of persevering regardless of who’s on the bandwagon. One can only hope that contributors take the time to research their subject before articulating their thoughts for public consumption, if only for the reader’s sake.