May 15, 2020

The Future of Money

You may have heard of Bitcoin, it spiked around 2017 when it crashed and hit almost $20,000 a coin. Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency, a currency that is completely digital, and has no physical value. It is decentralized, which means there is no central bank or single owner who controls it. Users send and receive Bitcoin through the Bitcoin network, without any need for intermediaries, such as a bank. This makes the payments instant, so no banks have to approve it.

Bitcoin is also a blockchain, which is defined as "a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography" (Wikipedia)

There are many versions of cryptocurrency, some are just meant for the monetary value, while some are meant for instant transactions. Take Stellar for example, they use their cryptocurrency, Lumens, for exchanging money and storing money. I personally have Lumens, and recently it has valued up to $100.

To get any kind of cryptocurrency, there are a few main ways of receiving it. The main way is to buy them. It is usually not a good idea as they are expensive usually. The second most popular way is to mine them. How cryptocurrency mining works is that your computer is sent a complex equation that it has to solve. Once it solves it, it gets rewarded with some cryptocurrency. This then repeats. This method also is not worth it, unless you know what you're doing, as cryptocurrency mining takes up a lot of energy. The way I got mine were being lucky, and receiving some in a drop. Keybase, a cryptography company, who was recently bought by Zoom. Keybase teamed up with Stellar to do a few drops of Stellar Lumens, which I got.

How will we use digital money in the future? Cryptocurrency could be a new currency that everyone can use. Some very few stores are accepting bitcoin as a currency. Virtual storefronts can even implement cryptocurrency using services such as BitPay. There are also services such as that have started up their own Credit Card service that uses your Cryptocurrencies.

There are a few success and failure stories with Bitcoin. Take Erik Finman for example, in 2011 he received a $1,000 gift from his grandmother. Instead of buying a phone or video games, he put it all into Bitcoin. A few years later, Bitcoin was valued at $1,200 a piece. He sold it all and started an online education company. He soon sold it for 300 Bitcoins, and since the Bitcoin crash, he's now a millionaire and not going to college (DigitalSurge). Sadly, there are some failure stories too with Bitcoin. Derek Rose, a journalist, took out his entire $70,000 retirement account and put it all into cryptocurrencies. Things were going great for him, he was making hundreds of thousands of dollars each day. He eventually reached $7 Million in Cryptocurrencies, but he got too risky and lost it all (Inc.).

All in all, Cryptocurrencies can be a good, but risky investment. They offer a high payout with potentially low cost.