Digital Currency - Whatever money is, it moves opposite of assets

Digital Currency - Whatever money is, it moves opposite of assets

Money is becoming digital thanks to technology accessibility and the easiness of not carrying anything but your smart phone. You can order your meals, monitor your kid at daycare, pay bills and get your master’s degree simultaneously from your phone.

We are trying to replace a 3,000 years old survival method with an intangible yet traceable digital platform of payment and transaction. Concepts such as money or bank notes still reside in the collective unconsciousness in the shape of coins and bills. People are not letting tangible money go that easily, it has been with us since the Hammurabi Code was written (more or less).

Take de American Dollar for example, during the last years $100 dollar bills have been under a cautious study by U.S. Treasury Department. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago published a document that estimates that as much as an 80% percent of the $12 billion bills circulate around the world.

The dollar has become more than just a tangible asset and is the preferred payment mechanism because of the “anonymity and lack of transaction record they offer, and the relative ease with which they can be transported and moved.” Transactions might be kept private, cash protects our fiscal sovereignty and it’s the one visceral connection to everyone’s economic means: Their money.

Plenty of law-abiding people still depend on cash, by 2015 two billion adults still depend on cash, and have no interest or access to banking services. But is it really legislation trying to conserve bank notes or bills circulating around the world, or a slick move to slowly digitize every single access to goods and services?

The financial industry has been trying eliminate tangible money for 30 years now, 35 percent of transactions or more in certain countries are conducted in cash. Physical manifestation of money remains critical  to a transaction that has value, worth and awareness.

Among the financial industries’ efforts are credit and debit cards, gift cards, online transactions (from paying for candy to buying a boat), PayPal and Venmo, optimization of digital money exchange and transfer of assets, and most recently the ability to perform almost all financial and transaction related activities from your smart phone are lighting all the candles in the tangible money market.

While all this resources are at the reach of almost anybody with a smartphone or a bank account, banks did not count on the sudden rise of a new economy: cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset in itself, it does not need to be backed up by a bank or financial entity. Strong cryptography secures financial transactions, controls the creation of additional units, and verifies the transfers or assets. Think about the best things you can get from cash in a single digital “token”. Also, cryptocurrencies uses decentralized control as opposed to centralized digital currency and central banking systems.

Cryptocurrency uses it’s own alt coins or tokens, each digital token or coin has a specific value which rises and/or falls every now and then. All the transactions are secured through a technology called ‘blockchain’ (banks are starting to use it in other ways) and supervised by a community of “miners”. Though it lacks a formal regulation  changes depending on the country,  it doesn’t need tangible dollar bills to represent it’s fiat value.

Next week, we will explore the validity and future of “bitcoin” and what the consequences will be for tangible and digital money (and baks of course).

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