Speculative Attack

Published by Pierre Rochard on July 4, 2014

Bitcoin naysayers1 wring their hands over how Bitcoin can’t go mainstream. They gleefully worry that Bitcoin will not make it across the innovation chasm:

  • It’s too complicated
  • It doesn’t have the right governance structure2
  • The security is too hard to get right
  • Existing and upcoming fiat payment systems are or will be superior
  • It’s too volatile
  • The government will ban it
  • It won’t scale

The response from the Bitcoin community is to either endlessly argue over the above points3 or to find their inner Bitcoin Jonah4 with platitudes like:

  • It’s not Bitcoin the currency that I care about, it’s Bitcoin the technology
  • It would be better if the block chain technology were used by banks and governments
  • Bitcoin should continue to be a niche system for the bit-curious, it’s just an experiment
  • Fiat and Bitcoin will live side-by-side, happily ever after
  • Bitcoin is the Myspace of ‘virtual currency’

The above sophisms are each worth their own article, if just to analyze the psycho-social archetypes of the relevant parrots.

A few of the criticisms mentioned earlier are correct, yet they are complete non sequiturs. Bitcoin will not be eagerly adopted by the mainstream, it will be forced upon them. Forced, as in “compelled by economic reality”. People will be forced to pay with bitcoins, not because of ‘the technology’, but because no one will accept their worthless fiat for payments. Contrary to popular belief, good money drives out bad. This “driving out” has started as a small fiat bleed. It will rapidly escalate into Class IV hemorrhaging due to speculative attacks on weak fiat currencies. The end result will be hyperbitcoinization, i.e. “your money is no good here”.

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