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Author Topic: 2013-07-17 MarketWatch - The real threat to gold is digital, like bitcoin  (Read 5181 times)
peterapa
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July 17, 2013, 04:49:04 PM
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anyone buying gold for the long-term needs to be thinking about the threat posed by digital currencies, and maybe start hedging their bets with a few bitcoins in the vault alongside the ingots.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-real-threat-to-gold-is-digital-2013-07-17
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DeathAndTaxes
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July 17, 2013, 04:57:02 PM
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Wow nice article and one I couldn't imagine seeing a year ago.  I agree with just about everything in it including the idea that Bitcoin may crash and burn but the genie is out of the bottle.  The concept of cryptocurrencies controlled by math and logic rather than sycophants and central banks is far larger than just Bitcoin.

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The key argument for owning the precious metal is that it is the main alternative to paper currencies. You can argue about whether that is necessary or not — plenty of people agree with the British economist John Maynard Keynes that it is a ”barbarous relic.” That doesn’t matter, however. The fact is some people — including a lot of central banks — believe that gold is an alternative to paper money and buy it for precisely that reason.

In the past, silver and a few other precious metals provided some competition, but by and large gold has had that market to itself. If you just wanted a reliable place to stash your cash, you had two options — deposits in banks in a currency controlled by governments, or else gold. There wasn’t anywhere else to go.

But new digital currencies such as bitcoin are explicitly designed as an alternative to paper money — and indeed largely mimic gold in their limited supply. Of course gold has been a medium of exchange for a few thousand years — and bitcoin for about five minutes. Still, as it and its rivals grow in importance, gold will have a genuine competitor

This sums it up.  Bitcoin (or more generally cryptocurrencies) are a next era of currency. Please don't this as "Bitcoin can't lose put all your money into it".  We have no idea how long it will take for this era to replace the last one, nor what form it will look like.  However barring some end of the world as we know it scenario it seems plausible that decentralized currency will eventually on a long enough timeline at least partially replace fiat currencies.

Human history has really only seen 4 eras of currency.
1) No currency era = bartered goods, generally one form of bartered goods because the "most bartered good" and acted as money
2) Commodity based currencies = issuance limited by bullion available to mint into coins (i.e. gold coins issued either privately or by sovereigns)
3) Commodity backed currencies = issuance limited to bullion reserves held by issuer (i.e. old US Notes)
4) Fiat currencies = issuance limited only the whims of the central bank  (i.e. Federal Reserve Note)
....
5) Cryptographic Currencies issuance limited to the consensus protocol (i.e. Bitcoin, et all)
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July 17, 2013, 04:59:08 PM
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Good read

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