By today, everybody knows, or had heard the stories, Bitcoin came out of nowhere in particular, coded by a super-villain, a working-class hero, an incognito, bona fide James Bond-esque character with an exotic sounding surname and ever since, the conversation surrounding cryptocurrency revolves around whether or not it is a scam, fraud, Ponzi scheme or, in fact, an unavoidable fact of the steady progression of humanity toward a technological singularity.
Humankind has a symbiotic relationship with its technologies, culturally, biologically, socially, and financially. We shape our lives around the way we transport, travel, communicate and exchange goods. The advent of personal computers gave birth to the internet, and in a short time, our entire lives had been transformed in such a way that it may only be comparable to the industrial revolution or the discovery of fire by prehistoric man. Now that Bitcoin price is sliding over $6,000, with weekly price surges of 25%, retreating by 20% and then resurface, the conversation is tilting to a new direction.
The recent bounce to the $6,000 threshold occurred on Friday, October 20th, initially, at a single exchange, Hong Kong’s BitFinex, where speculating investors buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Neo. In San Francisco-based Coinbase, Bitcoin had officially reached similar levels just as the US markets began to close.
It seems an undeniable fact nowadays that Bitcoin is no longer an exotic artifact, the sole interest of marginal techno-geeks. Major institutions are recognizing it, commenting it, and even investing in their brokerage desks to handle its shifting values against the US Dollar, Euro, Yen, Swiss Franc, Renminbi and other FIAT. This leads us to notice a curious phenomenon outside the realm of financial opportunity and more culturally significant. Bitcoin and other digital currencies are becoming a must-have item. Bling to proudly show off to friends, family, and colleagues. The swag of a new meta-generation of proto-geeks from the 80s, 30-something adults, and born-into-tech millennials. If you own Bitcoin, you must be “of this era,” a man, woman or transgender of the time, a pioneer as well as a rebel, and most importantly, rather cool.
It doesn’t matter at all that in reality you may have laughed at your IT guy 10 years back when he was blathering on in the office about how frigging awesome Bitcoin is. Back then the only way to see what was happening with Bitcoin was in dungeon-like IRC forums, where no-one could hear you scream or see you snore.
Leaving old status symbols like Patek Philippe and Rolex for the older crowds, the new millennials are setting the trend of boasting a mesh of FitBit, Apple watch toting, casual dress and now, in increasing numbers, having some of their money in Crypto. Bitcoin is money’s equivalent to a Hermes bag, a Louis Vuitton fashionable accessory. Not everyone can afford a luxury item off since it is a rather frivolous purchase for most of this world’s inhabitants. On a global average, people earn less than $2,000 a month. However, Bitcoin is not just a frivolity; it is now mainstream, functional, mostly secure, asset. You can use it to purchase in a growing number of e-commerce platforms as well as land-based businesses. Transfer funds are arguably easier, safer and demonstrably quicker. All the while, being the coolest thing since the Deadpool movie came out.
To sum it off, Bitcoin is a far-reaching phenomenon, holding a secret life beyond the speculator’s market. We may not know where it may yet lead us, but evidentially the promise of change is greater than the sum of apparent effects we get to hear and read about in financial magazines.
In a recent article by Business Insider, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee commented that Bitcoin could turn out to be a “true substitute for gold” cannibalizing some of the $7.5 trillion markets. He also estimated the cryptocurrency to be worth $20,300 by the year 2022, not very far off as far as years go by. At least for those of us with a bit of wear and tear in our investments resume. If these estimations are correct, investing in Bitcoin while it is at “only” $6,000 is going to pay off for a lot of people, and those that do risk a portion of their money for the sake of future rewards may now be assured that they are also world trend-setters.
They got swag. They may yet get future bling.