I agree that this looks all too familiar. Your elf/orc comment definitely made me think "ring of power". But "it'll be different this time around!"
Now we have on-demand public auditability. We have the ability to spread trust around in an cryptographically enforceable way. And there are no laws compelling one cryptocurrency over another.
And it's exactly like you say: if you don't trust the new coins' central bank, yet they offer something really valuable that bitcoins don't, then only hang onto them as long as you need to, and keep your value stored in bitcoins. If they break their 1-1 backing, call shenanigans, and GTFO. If they stop redemption in violation of their constitution, dump their coins on the market ASAP. And the short sellers would no doubt always be on the prowl.
Basically, I think it boils down to this: If the political/financial establishment decided to loosen its grip tomorrow and allow a relatively distributed group of trusted organizations to act as a central bank, creating a Bitcoin clone fully backed by, say USD, then what do you think the market would choose: Bitcoin with its wild volatility, or USDcoin that introduces no practical risks, other than the underlying backing? Even if the goal is an unbacked, decentralized currency, piggybacking off the USD value metric and then gradually shedding the backing is likely a much better way to get it than what Bitcoin is being forced to go through.
I don't ever see this happening, but down the road I do see new cryptocurrency startups that offer tangible benefits over Bitcoin wanting to piggyback off the existing BTC value metric. Remember, they'd otherwise have to solve the damn hard nuts to crack of 1) initial distribution, and 2) finding a stable valuation through establishment. I don't see any other quick fix to 1 and 2.
And if something like forkcoin happens sooner than later, I'd like to see the competition happen in a synergistic way, rather than rivalrous. We're not only trying to create a new currency here with Bitcoin, but a new value metric
as well. That
seems to be the truly difficult problem! But it's made easier by competing currencies reinforcing the same value metric.
Edit: Added thought: If a precedent for introducing new cryptocurrencies this way were set, it would give people a lot of confidence that they are a safe store of value that they don't have to babysit
, and would increase overall adoption.