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Crypto Now A Must-Have To Live In A Covid World

May 13, 2020
Devin Milford


Crypto Now A Must-Have To Live In A Covid World

The world is going on the third month since it became apparent the coronavirus COVID-19 would be a serious, if not once-in-a-generation society-changing crisis. There is no need to repeat what we all know, and more importantly, the sense of dread that we feel, the sense that tomorrow does not bring a return to the old days but rather an adventure into the unknown, uncertain and quite risky future where individual rights, creature comforts and the opportunities borne from years or decades of self-discipline may be wiped away in the stroke of a prime minister’s or governor’s pen.

Generational perspective matters. Although the death rate keeps climbing, albeit not at catastrophic rates, the overall numbers are sobering and particularly for all but the oldest generation who remember living through — if not fighting — years-long wars, revolutions and genocides. It is a historical irony for the ages that the generation most able to provide the perspective of living through the genuine hardships of wartime privation is the generation most susceptible to COVID-19 and, sadly, the failures of many of our health-care systems which now have revealed that health insurance is not by any means the same thing as health care.

Historical perspective matters. The younger generations (and younger here means born anytime after 1960) have seen and come to expect rising standards of living, the likes of which humanity had never experienced before the latter half of the 20th Century and particularly in the last three decades when Cold War barriers fell and ushered in major changes. These changes were, by and large, considered positive: an unprecedented wave of economic expansion, technological innovation, and globalization including greater access to higher education and movement across national borders (especially international travel and tourism), plus a growing societal acceptance of the importance of human rights including an awareness of environmental concerns and the plight of the less advantaged.

The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting government reactions are reversing many of these advances, undoing the progress accomplished over decades in merely a matter of weeks. So what can — what shall — the cryptocurrency community do now to prepare, in the Age of Uncertainty?

The Proper Role of Cryptocurrencies and Decentralized, Consensus Based Blockchains

Let me be blunt. The coronavirus crisis is validating the value of consensus-based blockchains, and in a big way.

While most commodities have gotten blasted downward over the last three months, and for reasons including but not limited to coronavirus (e.g., the oil markets were getting ravaged in February), it is very notable that bitcoin and ethereum, the top-two “best in class” cryptos around, are near or equal to their pre-coronavirus price levels. If you view crypto as merely “another investment,” and even if you view it as a highly-risky investment, you have got to admit that crypto has weathered the coronavirus storm far better than just about anything else.

We have also seen major economic powers unveil their currency inflation schemes, also known as printing presses. This article will not quibble with the emotions behind wanting to prop up economically-decimated populations and industries, particularly when the governments doing the propping privately (if not publicly) acknowledge that it is both their shutdowns of “non-essential” industries and, prior to that, their negligence in observing the pandemic play out in China and later in Italy and nonetheless failing to take the proper prophylatic measures such as border closings and so on and eschewing the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yet it must be observed that what amounts to the creation of “more” money, fiat currencies, is likely to result in an unpredictable debasement of the real purchasing power of those fiat currencies.

There are the naysayers skeptical of the value of bitcoin, but the facts presented by historical market prices are at follows: Since 1 March 2020, the bitcoin price expressed in the world’s preeminent reserve currency, the American dollar, has remained flat if not slightly up, while the price of ether is nominally down just a few ticks. There are two permissible inferences: either these two best-in-class cryptocurrencies have enduring value borne of innovation, or their denominator represented by the American dollar has so rapidly devalued that the crypto assets have appreciated relative to the debased “Dead Presidents” fiat currency.

But if the skeptical view must grudgingly admit a flat crypto performance during an epochal, existential crisis, what of the “best” case scenario?
This is where we must start to explore the immediate and likely permanent changes between the concept of paper money, and the world population.

The Mentality Needs To Change

Some callously indifferent and self-styled capitalists have long extolled “survival of the fittest” as a snideful reproach to the less successful. But the lesson lost in their meanness should not be neglected. The ability to adapt, to change at a moment’s notice, is a gift. The self-discipline to be open to new ways of living, of doing business and of supporting one’s family is a marker of the emotional intelligence needed to successfully evolve. It’s better to be a winner than a loser in the new world order that’s unfolding. Let the rest of humanity pine for the lost days for which they are nostalgic. Let us prepare today for the tomorrow that comes, for this is how we can be better prepared than the competition.

Losers whine. Winners work.
Losers look backwards. Winners look today towards tomorrow.
Losers think about how things were. Winners predict and plan for how to survive and success tomorrow and next year.
Be a winner.

The Proof of Concept Wins Out: Crypto Value Affirmed

One must admit it is, at the very least, a reasonable possibility that electronic forms of commerce will become at least accepted, if not preferred and in some cases, required to the exclusion of all other media. This is a huge leap forward for crypto since 2013. The world population will demand contact-less commerce. And it will get it.

But this is not enough. The coronavirus crisis has revealed the weakness, the fatal flaw, in most institutions. Their mediocrity.

When populations realize these institutions have failed to protect them — and in some cases, have been so feckless as to invite suspicions of gross incompetence bordering on sabotage — the remaining trust in those institutions will evaporate.

In the Third World, savvy survival instincts are baked into many cultures. There is little trust in institutions and suspicion is not just prudent but often the default position. These are the places where, with access to electronic communication like smartphones, bitcoin has been adopted rapidly as both a store of value (against laughably worthless fiat currencies) and a medium of exchange in the absence of trustworthy banks or other intermediaries.

And now, as the wealth accumulated over generations in the developed, industrialized nations of the North and West is threatened with dissipation in a matter of months, the First World may learn something from the Third World: Trust is the road to serfdom.

The trusted institutions of yesterday may soon become the dinosaurs of an age which saw global institutions all fail, and in so doing, bring down entire economies while also paving the way to hundreds of thousands — almost certainly to end up as millions — of avoidable deaths from a disease for which there is yet neither a cure nor a dependable treatment.

As human civilization moves away from dependence on the trust black holes represented by these disgraced legacy institutions, there will be an appreciation for, and new acceptance of, the primacy of objective truth.

The Jacobin revolutions of late 18th Century France used to extoll “science” as their revolutionary lodestar.

Those seeking freedom from institutional tyranny in the 21st Century should extoll “math” as their lodestar. It will be the objective truth of math, represented by algorithmic consensus, that induces rapid and widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies in virtually all human interactions, commercial and otherwise.

In the new world order, the “rule of man” may be disgraced. The rule of law — of which one law is the rule of math — will gain a new respect, appreciation … and adoption.