With the annual UQES pub crawl just around the corner, this year in collaboration with the UQLS, you may be wondering: what is bitcoin? Is it a tangible object I can hold? Is it a gift bestowed upon man by the gods who are in turn leading us to our own salvation? Could it be society’s way of screeching into the void that yes, we know money is arbitrary and intrinsically worthless; this is just our way of embracing our philosophically circular thought model, perhaps as a way of reaching enlightenment?
I’m here to say firstly, no, and secondly, bitcoin may be one of the biggest tragedies mankind has ever produced, and here are just a few of the many reasons why you should think so too:
Is blockchain cool technology? Sure! Is it an efficient allocation of resources, at least in the context of bitcoin? Hell no. Analysts have found that all the bitcoin miners combined use more electricity than small countries like New Zealand. “Mining” bitcoin is a competitive process which rewards the winning miner with bitcoins to fund further ventures. Since miners work off each other’s successful results in competition, transactions are theoretically fast and decentralised for users at the expense of massive amounts of electricity required to run the computing process.
Bitcoin Mining isn’t as cool as it sounds
How do we mine? We get huge machines which we drill deep into the Earth to extract essential minerals which we use to build monolithic buildings and create electricity which we use to make our houses that little bit too cold so we can wear a jumper and be warm in the blistering heat because we live in the future. How do we mine bitcoin? We run a few computers which string together some code to secure transactions. You tell me which is more impressive.
Literally worthless and the biggest lie the world has ever told
Unlike bonds, shares, and other financial instruments which hold fundamental value usually through some sort of cash flow, bitcoin is intrinsically worthless. The only reason bitcoin has skyrocketed in value is because you, your cousin, and your cousin’s favourite dog thought it was “nifty”, driving up demand comparative to supply. Now look what you’ve done. You’ve made “nothing” be worth almost $20000. Are you proud of yourself?
The bitcoin market is a safe-haven for dodgy black-market dealings
If mobsters created a currency you could use, would you? Australian researchers have found that as much as half of all bitcoin transactions are illegal, whilst most legal users buy and hold it as an asset. So, I guess you could say that if you’re buying bitcoin, you’re directly contributing to the monetisation of illicit activity… But that’s just my two-cents.
Doesn’t even do what it’s meant to do
The biggest lie you’ll ever hear is that bitcoin is a currency. Wanna buy a coffee? That’ll be $60. You read right; although miners receive bitcoin as a reward for completing chains, they also charge additional transaction fees which have so far peaked at USD$55! Hope you hipsters enjoy that coffee.
Now all my mates are “bitcoin entrepreneurs”
Since it hit the big-time, the only conversation I can hold with half the people I know is about bitcoin. “Have you ever heard of bitcoin?”, they ask. “Mate, this is going up and up, you gotta hop on!”, they exclaim. “I’m never gonna die!”, they cry out. “Bro, can you shout me a beer? I lost all my money in… the crash”, they wail. And just like that, they join the 90% of “entrepreneurs” who fail in their ventures. Poor sods.
Unlike bitcoin, the UQES and UQLS pub crawl has some intrinsic value – alcohol and economics students (because what are law students if not empty husks of their former selves?) So, what are you waiting for? Go buy a ticket, have a few cheeky bevvies, then get angry at everyone about bitcoin without any fear of repercussions! You know that’s what I’ll be doing!