There is a marvelous article in the ‘Washington Post’ (yes, I know it’s owned by Bezos, the man that owns Amazon, so is not my usual read either) but it provides the best summary of Bitcoin that I’ve yet encountered.
I’ve quoted the introduction to whet the appetite:
Bitcoin changes prices too quickly to be a currency and processes transactions too slowly to be a payments system, but it is juuust right for teaching libertarians everything they don’t know about economics.
Not that they’re paying attention.
If you listen to bitcoin’s biggest backers, it’s supposed to be our gleaming future, one where we can make money just by holding it, move it anywhere in the world for free, and no longer have to depend on banks or governments to do the right thing. If you look at what bitcoin actually does, though, it’s more like digitized nostalgia for a pre-modern past where money was discovered rather than printed, economics was a simple subject where markets never failed, and you never had to trust anyone you didn’t know. It works, then, the way libertarians think things should—which is to say not at all.
The author then concludes (if you don’t feel inclined to read it – in which case you’ve missed the humour and precision):
Bitcoin is a revolutionary technology built on reactionary economics. That first part has blinded people to the second — how could something so clever be so useless? — but it’s true.
In fact, if this sort of payment system is the future then that future is likely to be hashgraph rather than the blockchain.
But it seems to me that Iota may eventually turn out to be the best….