Complaining that you can't go into CVS and buy something with Bitcoin right now is like complaining that all you can do with the Internet is send "electronic mail", which nobody reads, in 1990, or like complaining that Facebook is nothing but a glorified campus directory in 2006.
The truth is, you can't buy things with Bitcoin at CVS because the technology isn't there yet. Right now, Bitcoin is suitable to be digital gold, but with a much higher possibility of return because it's a new asset.
In a couple of years, the addition of the lightning network on top of the Bitcoin network will enable you to buy things at CVS.
Right now, buying Bitcoin is like making an angel investment.
That's awfully optimistic. Occasionally I drop in on Bitcoin forums/subreddits to amuse myself, and what I've seen for the last year+ is a deadlocked stalemate with the Segwit/BU/LN/no change people all screaming at each other with no progress made whatsoever. Amazingly, Bitcoin has ended up in a place where there's actually less innovation velocity than the world of fiat currency, because it's impossible to form the needed consensus on moving it forward.
My prediction for the future of Bitcoin is that it won't die per se, but it will continue spinning its wheels forever with arguments like this.
Bitcoin is crypto gold. It has been valued by markets as cryptogold for 5+ years. Nobody wants to turn it into crypto money now, because that would destroy the valuation for its scarcity and clunkiness.
The alogirthms for cryptomoney are going to be different, and the fact nobody has written a compelling implementation yet (ie, can handle preposterous transaction volume, huge networks, maintain consistent inflation to incentivize maximum velocity so it can work as a money (unlike btc), and avoids costing billions in proof of work mining to maintain) hasn't taken off yet.
There's absolutely no reason why digital gold can't be extremely liquid. There's no reason why increasing the valuation of bitcoin itself is going to do away with the digital gold market (raise your hand if you hold gold and would be super upset if it went up 100x).
The complaints about stagnation and the fact that the community is having political difficulties etc is true. But I also remember some years ago when twitter couldn't even keep its servers running and everyone was writing it off as a technology that couldn't scale.
Even if the naysayers are right and and Bitcoin never becomes anything but digital gold and a way to send money between different countries, then the market cap still has like 50x to go.
Finally, I'll only accept arguments that Bitcoin can't become the next digital currency from people who thoroughly understand the lightning network. If you actually understand how Bitcoin is structured, there's no way it could ever scale to the point where every transaction is written to the block chain.
That's why we are creating the lightning network, which is essentially a VISA prepaid credit card system on top of Bitcoin. You can contribute a certain amount to your lightning account and then make unlimited purchases, instantly and it practically zero cost all month and then settle with one transaction to the blockchain. All of this is secure and trustless.
The only thing standing between the lightning network and what we have now is a fix for malleable transactions which is held up because of a political dispute.
The nature of the dispute is unimportant, mostly due to the fact that the rebels have tried to do a hard fork attack over the last month and have failed, proving Bitcoin to be decentralized enough (and it will get more decentralized as it gets larger). The opposition, at this point, can't win and can only delay. At some point, incentives will ensure that they have to go along with the fix, and then it's Bitcoin 10,000.
I'm invested in Bitcoin for the long-term and have no interest in pumping and dumping. To date, I haven't sold any Bitcoin, and I have high six figures worth.
I'm more bullish on Bitcoin than I have been on anything, and I would openly welcome any legitimate arguments that convinced me otherwise, but I haven't heard anything yet that can't easily be explained by a misunderstanding of the underlying technology.
I think this part right here is the root of your problem. There was a good quote from Neal Stephenson's most recent book:
“ ... I have to warn you that this is the word—‘politics’—that nerds use whenever they feel impatient about the human realities of any organization.”
Trying to handwave away your opponent's position as "a political dispute" will never get you anywhere. They're all saying the same thing about your position! "If everyone just agreed with me, there'd be no dispute" That's why Bitcoin is in a stalemate, with everybody accusing everybody else of having ulterior motives while they alone are the only noble people whose opinions are purely apolitical.
Thinking that you can create a system where decisions are made purely on their technical merits, and "politics" can be kept out, is the hopeless nerd fantasy that we really have to get over.
The fact that we are at a stalemate right now because of politics is entirely true, and also entirely uninteresting to me. It doesn't matter which side is technically right or wrong, the underlying dispute is ephemeral and eventually something will have to be done, and will. Right now, the incentives are not such to force something to be done, but eventually the incentives will align.
Furthermore, even if I'm incorrect and Bitcoin grinds to a development halt completely, then it's still perfectly suitable to be digital gold and I'll be happy to make my 20-50x return on it based on that.
I don't know who these people you're referring to are who are claiming that Bitcoin is some autonomous system that always makes decisions based on technical merits, but it's not me.
Of course, I have an opinion on the current controversy, and I do think my side is technically right, but that's irrelevant. I also think my side is being political.
Furthermore, their transaction costs are currently at a minimum an order of magnitude more than what a Bitcoin transaction costs, running to 2-3 orders of magnitudes. It's a replacement for the SWIFT network, which is all great but not really directly competing with Bitcoin.
Pedantry: US Gold eagle coins are actually legal tender US currency with a $50 face value.
So while it would be exceedingly foolish to treat an ounce of gold like a $50 coin, you could.
Where this becomes slightly interesting is the $10k limit on foreign currency declarations in international travel ... since these are $50 coins of US legal tender, you should be able to travel with 199 of them (worth about $200k) without declaring anything.
Not that I'd be willing to research the point with my own money.
Something else on the same technology is a different story though.
I'm still puzzled as to how banks think they're going to do this.
Why is this necessarily a problem? I think the hard forks in both BTC and ETH have shown that there is an inherent "appeals" process no matter what. Seems like you can separate the appeals process from the underlying settlement and record keeping technology. New blockchain providers just need to represent what the ultimate appeals process is for each implementation (instead of hashing power, could easily be any of a dozen other ideas, including recourse to the existing judicial system which has what I'd call a net-neutral set of advantages and disadvantages).
The controversy is over which fork gets to be called Bitcoin.
You may be right, but judging from the clumsy and pretentious analogy about email that you think proves them wrong, you also are missing a lot of points.