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what is bitcoin useful for

There has been a lot of talk about how to price Bitcoin and we set out here to explore what the cryptocurrency's price might look like in the event it achieves further widespread adoption. First, however, it is useful to back up a step. Bitcoin and other digital currencies have been touted as alternatives to fiat money.

But what gives any type of currency value? Currency is usable if it is a store of value , or, put differently, if it can reliably be counted on to maintain its relative value over time and without depreciating.

In many societies throughout history, commodities or precious metals were used as methods of payment because they were seen as having relatively stable value. Rather than require individuals to carry around cumbersome quantities of cocoa beans, gold or other early forms of currency, however, societies eventually turned to minted currency as an alternative. Still, the reason many examples of minted currency were usable was because they were reliable stores of value, having been made out of metals with long shelf lives and little risk of depreciation.

In the modern age, minted currencies often take the form of paper money which does not have the same intrinsic value as coins made from precious metals. Perhaps even more likely, though, individuals utilize electronic currency and payment methods.

Some types of currencies rely on the fact that they are "representative," meaning that each coin or note can be directly exchanged for a specified amount of a commodity.

However, as countries left the gold standard in an effort to curb concerns about runs on federal gold supplies, many global currencies are now classified as fiat. Fiat currency is issued by a government and not backed by any commodity, but rather by the faith that individuals and governments have that parties will accept that currency. Today, most major global currencies are fiat.

Many governments and societies have found that fiat currency is the most durable and least likely to be susceptible to deterioration or loss of value over time. Aside from the question of whether it is a store of value, a successful currency must also meet qualifications related to scarcity, divisibility, utility and transferability.

Let's look at these qualities one at a time. Key to the maintenance of a currency's value is its supply. A money supply that is too large could cause prices of goods to spike, resulting in economic collapse. A money supply that is too small can also cause economic problems.

Monetarism is the macroeconomic concept which aims to address the role of the money supply in the health and growth or lack thereof in an economy. Successful currencies are divisible into smaller incremental units. In order for a single currency system to function as a medium of exchange across all types of goods and values within an economy, it must have the flexibility associated with this divisibility.

The currency must be sufficiently divisible so as to accurately reflect the value of every good or service available throughout the economy.

A currency must have utility in order to be effective. Individuals must be able to reliably trade units of the currency for goods and services. This is a primary reason why currencies developed in the first place: so that participants in a market could avoid having to barter directly for goods. Utility also requires that currencies be easily moved from one location to another.

Burdensome precious metals and commodities don't easily meet this stipulation. Currencies must be easily transferred between participants in an economy in order to be useful. In fiat currency terms, this means that units of currency must be transferable within a particular country's economy as well as between nations via exchange. To assess Bitcoin's value as a currency, we'll compare it against fiat currencies in each of the above categories.

When Bitcoin was launched in , its developer s stipulated in the protocol that the supply of tokens would be capped at 21 million.

To give some context, the current supply of bitcoin is around 18 million, the rate at which Bitcoin is released decreases by half roughly every four years, and the supply should get past 19 million in the year This assumes that the protocol will not be changed. Note that changing the protocol would require the concurrence of a majority of the computing power engaged in Bitcoin mining , meaning that it is unlikely. The approach to supply that Bitcoin has adopted is different from most fiat currencies.

The global fiat money supply is often thought of as broken into different buckets, M0, M1 , M2 , and M3. M0 refers to currency in circulation. M1 is M0 plus demand deposits like checking accounts. M2 is M1 plus savings accounts and small time deposits known as certificates of deposit in the United States. M3 is M2 plus large time deposits and money market funds.

Since M0 and M1 are readily accessible for use in commerce, we will consider these two buckets as medium of exchange, whereas M2 and M3 will be considered as money being used as a store of value.

As part of their monetary policy, most governments maintain some flexible control over the supply of currency in circulation, making adjustments depending upon economic factors.

This is not the case with Bitcoin. So far, the continued availability of more tokens to be generated has encouraged a robust mining community, though this is liable to change significantly as the limit of 21 million coins is approached. What exactly will happen at that time is difficult to say; an analogy would be to imagine the U.

Fortunately, the last Bitcoin is not scheduled to be mined until around the year Fortunately, Bitcoin is divisible up to 8 decimal points. The smallest unit, equal to 0. This allows for quadrillions of individual units of Satoshis to be distributed throughout a global economy. One of the biggest selling points of Bitcoin has been its use of blockchain technology.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger system which is decentralized and trustless, meaning that no parties participating in the Bitcoin market need to establish trust in one another in order for the system to work properly. This is possible thanks to an elaborate system of checks and verifications which is central to the maintenance of the ledger and to the mining of new Bitcoins. Best of all, the flexibility of blockchain technology means that it has utility outside of the cryptocurrency space as well.

Thanks to cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets and other tools, Bitcoin is transferable between parties. While it takes vast amounts of electricity to mine Bitcoin, maintain the blockchain and process digital transactions, individuals do not typically hold any physical representation of Bitcoin in the process. Generally, Bitcoin holds up fairly well in the above categories when compared against fiat currencies.

So what are the challenges facing Bitcoin as a currency? One of the biggest issues is Bitcoin's status as a store of value. Bitcoin's utility as a store of value is dependent on its utility as a medium of exchange. We base this in turn on the assumption that for something to be used as a store of value it needs to have some intrinsic value, and if Bitcoin does not achieve success as a medium of exchange, it will have no practical utility and thus no intrinsic value and won't be appealing as a store of value.

Like fiat currencies, Bitcoin is not backed by any physical commodity or precious metal. Throughout much of its history, the current value of Bitcoin has been driven primarily by speculative interest.

Bitcoin has exhibited characteristics of a bubble with drastic price run-ups and a craze of media attention. This is likely to decline as Bitcoin continues to see greater mainstream adoption, but the future is uncertain. Bitcoin's utility and transferability are challenged by difficulties surrounding the cryptocurrency storage and exchange spaces.

In recent years, digital currency exchanges have been plagued by hacks, thefts and fraud. Of course, thefts also occur in the fiat currency world as well. In those cases, however, regulation is much more settled, providing somewhat more straightforward means of redress. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies more broadly are still viewed as more of a "Wild West" setting when it comes to regulation. Different governments view Bitcoin in dramatically different ways, and the repercussions for Bitcoin's adoption as a global currency are significant.

This article will not make a case for what the market penetration will be, but for the sake of the evaluation, we'll pick a rather arbitrary value of 15 percent, both for bitcoin as a currency and bitcoin as a store of value. You are encouraged to form your own opinion for this projection and adjust the valuation accordingly. The predominant medium of exchange is government backed money , and for our model we will focus solely on them.

Roughly speaking, M1 which includes M0 is currently worth about 25 trillion U. M3 which includes all the other buckets minus M1 is worth about 45 trillion U.

We will include this as a store of value that is comparable to bitcoin. To this, we will also add an estimate for the worldwide value of gold held as a store of value. While some may use jewelry as a store of value, for our model we will only consider gold bullion. The U. Of this, 48 percent, or 58, metric tons, was in the form of private and official bullion stocks. Since there has in recent years been a deficit in the supply of silver and governments have been selling significant amounts of their silver bullion , we reason that most silver is being used in industry and not as a store of value, and will not include silver in our model.

Neither will we treat other precious metals or gemstones. In aggregate, our estimate for the global value of stores of value comparable to bitcoin, including savings accounts, small and large time deposits, money market funds, and gold bullion, come to If Bitcoin were to achieve 15 percent of this valuation, its market capitalization in today's money would be This is a rather simple long term model.

Perhaps the biggest question it hinges on is exactly how much adoption will Bitcoin achieve? Coming up with a value for the current price of Bitcoin would involve pricing in the risk of low adoption or failure of Bitcoin as a currency, which could include being displaced by one or more other digital currencies.

Models often consider the velocity of money, frequently arguing that since Bitcoin can support transfers that take less than an hour, the velocity of money in the future Bitcoin ecosystem will be higher than the current average velocity of money. Another view on this though would be that velocity of money is not restricted by today's payment rails in any significant way and that its main determinant is the need or willingness of people to transact.

Therefore, the projected velocity of money could be treated as roughly equal to its current value. Another angle at modeling the price of Bitcoin, and perhaps a useful one for the near-to-medium term, would be to look at specific industries or markets one thinks it could impact or disrupt and think about how much of that market could end up using Bitcoin.

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what is bitcoin useful for

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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms of Service. I've done research on bitcoin and I know what it is and how it works, kinda. I've even built a small block chain app. What I don't understand, and I haven't usefu, able to find the answer to, is if I own some bitcoin, how does that help me buy groceries at the market, usefil gas for my car? The market I go to doesn't accept bitcoin and neither do the gas stations.

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If you cut the information inside computers into smaller pieces, you will find 1s and 0s. These are called bits. You already know about coins. Bitcoins are just the plural of Bitcoin. They are coins stored in computers. They are not physical and only exist in the digital world! By the end of the guide, even total beginners will understand what Bitcoin is, how to get Bitcoin, and how to use Bitcoin. There are three types of people in this world: the producer, the consumer, and the middleman.

what is bitcoin useful for

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This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page. TPG Assistant Editor Melanie What is bitcoin useful for takes us through a quick history of the bitcoin and analyzes the future of this digital currency and whether travelers could take advantage of it in the future.

Whether or not bitcoin will stabilize in value and become widely accepted remains to be seen, but since trust in global banking systems and fear of credit card theft and fraud could continue to be hot button topics for the foreseeable future, the bitcoin and digital currency landscape is certainly worthy of exploration here on TPG.

Nakamoto whst since been identified as Dorian Nakamoto of Temple City, California, but theories about a bitcoin ghostwriter still persist. Getting set up with a digital wallet is a simple process.

As a Mac user, I chose to set up uaeful digital wallet for myself via Mac-friendly computer desktop program Hive, and it took less than 2 minutes. The home page for Hive. Once you click the yellow button, it downloads a. Once you open the zip. I chose Dropbox iis my backup, but the backup application Time Machine is presented as another option. Once inside your digital wallet, you can choose to use your real name or create a username, access your own randomly generated bitcoin address e.

At this writing, the market value of bitcoin is pretty volatile more on that belowso merchants who accept bitcoin charge for their goods and services in USD rather than BTC.

Making a purchase or paying a bill with bitcoin is similar to the process of paying a bill via online banking or charging something on PayPal. To make bitcoin transactions, both a purchaser and a merchant must have digital wallets — and the purchaser needs to have bitcoins to spend. You can buy it on an exchange. In a big blow to bitcoin, the largest exchange, Mt. Vox, just filed for bankruptcy on February 25, amidst a flurry of financial scandal. You can earn them through the exchange whah goods and services.

You can mine. Aside from needing nothing more than a smartphone and an app in order to carry it, bitcoin has a couple of key advantages over paper money and credit cards:. Travel currency without conversion or ATM fees. Increased adoption of bitcoin within the travel industry could mean a large reduction in booking fees, as well as eliminating travel wait times for foreign credit card transactions, making it easier for travel-related businesses to manage their revenue stream.

The potential avoidance of payment fraud. A problem both at home and abroad, credit cards that use swipe-strip rather than imbedded chip technology are increasingly at risk for fraud. The safer chip technology is becoming more common overseas, but North America is still way behind the curve.

Bitcoin requires neither, only a relatively see below secure, nameless and wireless connection between encrypted digital wallets. Instead of earning points and miles, you could earn bitcoins.

At present, PointsHound. With the current devaulation of so many frequent flyer programsearning bitcoins rather than miles or points could eventually be a more valuable loyalty option. Its anonymous nature makes it the currency of choice for jseful trade. In most cases, the purchase of bitcoin requires neither a real name nor a credit card, and as mentioned above, transactions are assigned bitciin codes that must be verified by miners.

While this transaction system is largely secure from hackers and fraud, it also means that anyone can buy anything from. The IRS just got its hands on it. Transactions are in fact susceptible to hackers. It might just be the new dot. Just like other currencies, the worth of bitcoin can fluctuate wildly in relation to world events and financial news.

Several factors continue to stoke consumer interest in alternative financial systems, including a post lack of trust in banking institutions and credit card data breaches like those at Target in lateso it seems that digital currencies — even if not ultimately bitcoin itself — are ussful to stay.

The cryptocurrency landscape will surely see increased regulation, as the public adoption of any one form on a large scale could threaten the control and earning potential of our current financial institutions.

However, if bitcoin or one of its contenders manages to gain a serious foothold in the global marketplace, almost every financial aspect of travel could become easierfrom booking and dining to making overseas purchases and securing local transportation. Have any of you used bitcoin to book travel or other purchases? Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser.

Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear.

This site does not include all credit card companies kseful all available credit card offers. Please uuseful our advertising policy page for more information. Skip to content. Maximize your travel. Advertiser Disclosure. Melanie Wynne. What is bitcoin? How is bitcoin obtained? Read more can be obtained in three main ways: You can buy it on an exchange.

Where can you spend bitcoin? PointsHound not only accepts bitcoin for travel booking, but can offer bitcoin in lieu of hotel points, as well The cons of bitcoin This form of currency also has some serious drawbacks and challenges: Its anonymous nature makes it the currency of choice for illicit trade.

The value of bitcoin fluctuates so wildly amidst financial speculation and global events, investing in the currency could well be the new dot. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Sign up. I would like to subscribe to The Points Guy newsletter and special email promotions. The Points Guy will not qhat or sell your email. Please enter a valid email address Please check mailing preferences. Melanie Wynne read article a contributing writer for The Points Guy.

Episode 18: The War on Cash

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Health insurance. The authenticity of each transaction is protected by digital signatures corresponding to the sending addresses, allowing all users to have full control over sending bitcoins from their own Bitcoin addresses. Retrieved 30 September The way Bitcoin works allows both individuals and businesses to be protected against fraudulent chargebacks while giving the choice to the consumer to ask for more protection when they are not willing to trust a particular merchant. What about Bitcoin and taxes? A confirmation means that there is a consensus on the network that the bitcoins you received haven't been sent to anyone else and are considered your property. Retrieved 10 June What is bitcoin useful for Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. So where are we now? Inprivate payment processors were simply pressured to enact a financial blockade against WikiLeaks; this was not the result of a court order or any new law. Bitcoin miners are processing transactions and securing the network using specialized hardware and are collecting new bitcoins in exchange.

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