Monday, December 11, 2017

Bitcoin and blockchain

Don't plan to learn anything from reading this.  The media and the market commentators have locked on to the bitcoin phenonenon in recent weeks in a way that is interesting but not especially enlightening.  It is unclear whether many of those talking have any complete understanding of this cryptocurrency and any impact on the bigger picture for financial markets.  Out of character, many acknowledge that they don't.

As a medium of exchange and store of value it is a digitized asset.  The purpose of this comment is to speculate on what this means for governments.  Central banks exercise their governmental functions to regulate and manage financial markets.  They create the facade of control and stability.  By their existence they suggest that currencies are backed by the "full faith and credit" of the governments that issue it.

Cryptocurrencies have value solely based on supply and demand.  The blockchain mechanism, not yet fully understood here, is supposedly an ingenious method that assures this.  So the question that arises --- If governments are not proxies for measurements of value, how significantly is their power and control diminished.  The territory being entered seems here to be another "brave new world".  It is a new and alarming market fascination.

If a crytocurrency unravels, what will stop a crescendo of follow on events.  This is an uncertainty that markets could face.  Shiver me timbers!

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