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In fact, the world has been evolving toward technological and digital solutions for some time now. And we're aware that it makes our lives better and more productive.
The most recent global financial crisis became the breeding ground for something new altogether: digital money, i.e. Bitcoin.
Bitcoin came onto the scene and has been embraced by the public at large for two main reasons:
1. It was the culmination on a long process of digitalization that the public has grown familiar with.
2. The public has had enough of the wholesale abuse of the current fiat-based financial system
So what is Bitcoin and how will it affect our lives going forward?
Probably the main trait that distinguishes Bitcoin from fiat money is the fact that Bitcoin is wholly decentralized. Whereas fiat money is disseminated and administered by a government, there isn't anyone in charge of Bitcoin. Instead, Bitcoin is administered by its network, i.e. countless computers called nodes, a number of which that have been tasked with ensuring Bitcoin runs according to script.
The benefit of Bitcoin being decentralized, that is, not requiring a middleman, is that it's devoid of human bias. Abuse, fraud, corruption, none of this is possible with Bitcoin, because all transactions ever made are checked, validated and recorded in its consttantly updated database, the Blockchain.
Now, if anyone were intending to somehow swindle the system, he or she, or they, would have to deceive each and every computer in the Bitcoin network, something that is considered next to impossible.
But there's another way Bitcoin differs from regular currencies. Bitcoin is actually finite, by virtue of its underlying code. This means that the number of Bitcoins in circulation is capped, destined to never be more that this maximum. In actual fact, there will never be more Bitcoin available to users than the maximum number as per Bitcoin's code, 21 million. And this maximum will only be reached in the year 2140.
Right now, there are about 15 million Bitcoin in use. The remainder will be released between now and 2140. This makes Bitcoin disinflationary, as opposed to most, if not all currencies, which tend to continuously increase in number, due to central banks running their money printers nonstop in an attempt to lessen their debt burden.
Of course, less debt burden for central banks means less money for the people these central banks are meant to serve. After all, helicopter-money inflation robs the public at large of about 2-5% annually. Savings, capital, pensions, each of these is being hollowed out year after year as a result of the relentless printing of money.
No such worries with Bitcoin.
The other big advantage of Bitcoin is that it applies the world over. This means that if you're going overseas, so long as you are in possession of Bitcoin, you won't be bleeding money converting your cash to the currency for the country you're going. Since you won't need to convert any money, you won't be paying any conversion fee. Money in the pocket.
Savings are even bigger in cases you need to transfer money overseas. Whereas with fiat money, you can either do a telegraphic transfer or a remittance, both of which will cost up to 10% and take up to a week to be completed, sending Bitcoin to anywhere in the world usually costs a negligible amount and typically takes mere seconds to arrive at the recipient. Even an account transfer by internet banking is relatively costly and still takes up to a week. Sending and receiving Bitcoin is faster and cheaper than any other means of sending funds.
Clearly, Bitcoin is the superior way to own money. Of course, banks, Western Union, Visa, Master Card and governments may not quite like it, but this is why they call it disruption. Bitcoin is a major disruptor. It will take years, but Bitcoin will eventually displace the status quo.
Now, until that time arrives, there will be some bumps along the way of course. An example is Bitcoin's high volatility. Given its nascence, there's not much that can be done about this, other than ride it out. The volatility can be regarded as a rite of passage, the price to pay for Bitcoin's tremendous growth rate whilst it's in its sunrise period. However, with increased liquidity and ever fewer surprises in store as Bitcoin matures, Bitcoin's volatility will ease.
Speaking of surprises, government intervention (read: regulation) may be good for a few surprises yet. We've just had China ban ICO and then announce the suspension of exchanges in China and the market responded as expected. It's fair to say there will be more developments along these lines, whether out of left field or with a suitable lead-up. But all of these will continue to solidify Bitcoin's foundation.
The take-home here is that ultimately, this is what Bitcoin needs to become accepted more broadly. Regulation is good. It will take out a very big unknown from the space, resulting in greater acceptance all-around, simply because there will be a lot less uncertainty hovering over Bitcoin. Once the shoe has dropped, doubt on Bitcoin's future, at least with regards to legality, will no longer be weighing down Bitcoin.
Clearly, the Bitcoin genie is well and truly out of the bottle. Bitcoin is not about to go away, especially given that it's likely to be the lynchpin of Singapore's trajectory to full Smart Nation eminence. The trick, meanwhile, is to give Bitcoin a place desserving of its potential, not more, not less.
Perhaps placing a modest bet would be the most prudent course of action at this point: committing a sum of money that won't cause any sleepless nights if it were to disappear. If, on the other hand, Bitcoin does come to flourish, this modest sum may have been all the leverage you needed to morph your conservative investment into a nice little nest egg. Such is the benefit of the asymmetrical play that Bitcoin is.
Want a little more information on Bitcoin in general and Bitcoin in Singapore specifically? Click Singapore Bitcoin.
I am not an investment advisor and above article is for purely informational purposes and is not to be taken as investment advice. Investors are advised to personally undertake adequate due diligence, or to consult a financial advisor in order to determine what assets - if any - are appropriate to invest in.
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