Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Cryptocurrency might be bullshit, it might not, but it is not going anywhere and I'll explain to you why.

Right now, Mitumba in Nairobi can spin up a scrip in under an hour on his cell phone.

I liken it to the invention of a printing press. I can think of all the arguments for why the printing press wasn't that big of a deal when it happened. "Most people can't read! Who is this designed to help exactly? The only people that would be able to use it already know calligraphy, and on top of that have to learn typesetting, nobody is going to use this. All the illiterates will just go ask their bishop what the bible says. This is a solution in search of a problem"

And they'd be right, at the time. To some degree, world changing technological developments all solve a problem that only exists in the world they create. That's what makes them so foundationally transformative.

20 years ago if I wanted to create a currency, I had to press or mint metal coins, or come up with a print design that's hard to counterfeit, get a printer going, print tons of it at significant capital expenditure, then anyone I wanted to use it I'd have to face to face pull out my worthless monopoly money and try to explain to them why they should use it, probably to great amusement.

Right now, I can drop 20 bucks into ubiq or binance smart chain or whatever, then spend a few pennies of that launching a boilerplate erc20 contract, download coinomi wallet on my phone, watch the contract, and I've just created a sovereign currency. I don't even have to create a client application. Not only that, but in the same amount of time it took me to write that, I can explain to anyone how to use it if they want. Me and my family can just create some way to keep track of debts, we can create m3 money. We can settle out if we ever want to, just like you used to be able to redeem your bank notes for gold. Mitumba can create something to keep track of sorghum production in his village or whatever.

This is why this will take over the world. The ability to create financial instruments has been democratized. You might not like it, you might think it is stupid, you might have a plethora of reasons why it is a terrible idea. But the genie is out of the bottle, and over the coming decades you're going to begin to see lists on the front of lemonade stands telling you what currencies are accepted. Maybe Juan who owns the taco truck gives you a discount for paying him in bobcoin for some probably stupid reason or another. The day is coming where you'll be more likely to pay in some random cryptocurrency or other for random purchases than in a state currency, if for no other reason because the ease with which a person can create a currency is ridiculous today, so the world will be drowning in them.

You are describing bartering and credit. For centuries people have exchanged goods without a government currency being involved. They also would extend credit of those "democratized financial instruments". "I will give you wool this month, and you will owe me wheat in 3 months".

If you want to trade digital trading cards, great. If you want to pay with Euros or Pesos, or DogeCoin, instead of US Dollars, also great, go ahead. But don't pretend that minting your own coin for your family is a use case that was impossible to do with Google docs, or even with a piece of paper and pen.

You're missing my point entirely.

I can mint a token right now with minimal expenditure that cannot be counterfeited that anyone in the world can use to represent exchange of value. And everyone in the world can also do that. You could not do that with google docs. It is not the same thing as barter.

Again, and my main point: you might think that it is stupid, a terrible idea, and you might even be right, but because anyone can do it, it isn't going away. This is the world now.

I'm not saying it is stupid. If someone wants to create and use crypto coins, go ahead, that is great.

I'm saying that if you want to create a way to track what each person in a family owes each other you have been able to do that with with google docs for years. Or you could use a pen and paper to create a family ledger, if you were worried about counterfeiting or your house burning down, put it in a fire proof safe.

Sure. But that was just a simple example.

First, it is easier to ensure integrity of the ledger using cryptocurrency than it is keeping a canonical double spaced piece of notebook paper, and second, it is as easy to do it for my family as Mitumba for his village or a group of 1000 random people on some forum. Anyone can spin up a secure currency for any purpose with minimal cost and effort.

I understand now. You are saying that in the past to create your own currency you needed as much money as a grocery store or airline to create "reward points", or "airline miles". Now it costs less and is easier to create your own version of that.

Or mint chuck e cheese tokens, yes. But also, and more importantly, because it is easy they'll be everywhere.

Why will it be everywhere? Were there a lot of people wanting to have their own reward points but didn't move forward because of the time/cost to implement?

No, but it doesn't have to be for good reasons. Was there unmet demand for supercomputers to stare at while taking a shit 20 years ago?

20 years ago only big companies could do it. Now anyone can do it, so they will. There are over 15,000 cryptocurrencies of one kind or another right now. When anyone can spin one up for peanuts lots of people will.

Yes, 20 years ago there was an enormous demand for being able to watch any show you wanted at any time, in any place.

> 20 years ago if I wanted to create a currency, I had to press or mint metal coins

Furthermore, if you were in the United States and found any success in this, you would be arrested and charged under 18 USC 486: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/486

Not so with cryptocurrency, for some reason.

It's because the law specifically applies to metal coins.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact