The first dollar I have ever made came through a common story for many; a lemonade stand. Selling this for the equivalent of fifteen measly cents, I started to feel like the hours of preparation was absolutely not worth it. Sweat building in the hot Indian sun with concrete all around, I closed shop incredibly quickly. Yet I enjoyed the feeling that I had done something that someone else valued enough to give me some money. I had gone through a million emotions at once, but I was left with a lesson: A single dollar can represent all emotion; a dollar in debt could lead to panic and fear, while a dollar in your pocket can leave you with security. This emotion that I had was shared with every person, and it is often how scores are kept to see how close security is for them. Money is how our world works, and our strength as individuals often correlates with the strength of the dollar. Yet this core function of our society is being destroyed, chipped away bit by bit.

How has money failed us?

Photo by JP Valery on Unsplash

The value of money has gone down severely. For the past 20 years the purchasing power of the dollar has gone down by over 50%. As time goes on, every dollar saved, every dollar invested, and every dollar kept away loses its power. This inflation is just a massive overproduction of money, where more and more bills are printed. With more money printed with no backing of value, the value of the bill goes down. With a lower value of money, those who save their extra money are punished, and those who have debts are rewarded. The value of the money owed continues to go down as time passes. This is a vicious cycle where money will always be spent: As producers try to save money, time will not be on their side, and therefore are forced to spend their own money, and new producers are influenced. The entire system is interconnected, and if there is any alteration to that system it will collapse.

A Zimbabwean billionare, source lilyonthedustbin

This fragile system, combined with massive debt, both public and private, has led to the worst recessions in the world:

  • Throughout the 1920s, Germany had a combination of war debts and a ruined, backwards economy, bringing the worst case of hyperinflation in Europe’s history.
  • Zimbabwe had massive agricultural land distribution, inevitably leading to hyperinflation and a failed economy.
  • Venezuela, in which the country nationalized the oil fields and placed too much of their economy on the benefits that oil could provide, turning the most prosperous country in South America into a collapsed state.

Quantitative Easing

Photo by abyss on Unsplash

For recessions that won’t completely destroy the economy, central banks insert what is called Quantitative Easing. This act is injecting money into the economy as a hope to stimulate it

Monopoly

Monopoly money, John Morgan from Walnut Creek, CA, USA
Monopoly money, John Morgan from Walnut Creek, CA, USA

In the game Monopoly, there is a little known rule regarding money. When physical money starts to run out, the Bank can simply make more money. The Bank can “never go broke”. The Central Bank for the production of the US Dollar works in the same way. There is nothing directly backing the US Dollar, and it can be printed ad infinitum. The value of the dollar could be absolute zero, and there is nothing limiting the Federal Reserve from freezing the economy. There is no true alternative. Paper money is never truly valued at the rate that other goods are valued through supply and demand. Production of The Central Bank for every country in the world is not beneficial to the state nor the people, as it is a quasi-independent agency that has no limits. The value of the paper slip is created through this agency, and absolutely nothing else. We are at the mercy of the Central Bank, and although we hope to trust the currency produced we cannot fully ensure our security.

Is there an alternative?

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

With problems in spades, alternatives to paper money have tried to rise throughout time. Our current alternative is cryptocurrency, which utilizes computers to its fullest.

Crypto compared to US Dollar:

  • Value: There are only a limited number of ‘coins’, meaning that supply and demand are king to what determines its value
  • Choice: Multiple coins, so one person there are alternatives in the crypto world itself with other coins
  • System Security: It runs through a ledger and person to person transactions, which makes hacking one part of the system near impossible, as a majority has to be controlled by one entity for any decisions to be made to take over the system.
  • Future: Cryptocurrency is also market friendly to many people, as it is something that can connect to the technologies of tomorrow: The Internet of Things can utilize the new currency well through safe and secure transactions, and AI can be combined incredibly well with cryptocurrency as well. Crypto, by all measures, seems to be a system that can overthrow paper, yet it has not done so yet.

What is stopping it?

Personal Security: Cryptocurrency has many problems involving spyware and security; you may not be able to control a coin ledger, but you can easily control a computer and mine coins remotely.

Technology: You need to have some knowledge of computers and computer security to use it safely, which is a skill that many people do not have. Education is also a concern, as many people do not know how cryptocurrency functions nor do they know how it could benefit them.

Public concern for security is the biggest hurdle that cryptocurrency has to solve to reach the mass market. All of these concerns pose legitimate threats to cryptocurrency as a whole, but none cannot be solved reasonably well.

Final remarks:

The issue of money is an incredibly complex one, but there are better solutions to the types of money that we have now. There is no solution that won’t have problems when implemented, but currently the solution that can offer the most to all is cryptocurrency.

I’m Aniket, and I’m interested in how we can make humans fundamentally better through better disease prevention and innovation.

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