The Cultivation Of Convenience
Western culture is obsessed with convenience. It has been the single most influential characteristic driving our economy ever since the Industrial Revolution. It is prevalent in our marketing for consumer goods, food, transportation, entertainment, health, and even romance. Here is a trailer for Minimalism; I recommend everyone watch this, but for this article's purposes pay attention to the first 1:12 specifically.
Right now, the promise of Bitcoin is garnering significant attention because people think it is a convenient way to get rich. There is also a general sense that something is awry. The zeitgeist of post-911, post GFC is upon us (GFC referring to 2008 Great Recession). The populace has recognized that our government is no longer operating as it should.
In response, the prospect of having a currency other than our government-backed currency is an attractive one and it is gaining traction rapidly.
However, most accepting that Bitcoin is a hedge against government-backed currency are missing the entire purpose of why cryptocurrency offers revolutionary potential. It offers the potential for us to return to a state of liberty, freedom, and most importantly, a value-based society instead of legislative-based.
Bitcoin is the earliest mover in a very influential space: decentralized money. Some may compare Bitcoin to AOL. Revolutionary at first, but in the long-term just the first step into something that is really much larger than just one company. Others may say it is the only cryptocurrency that will survive the "purge". I maintain a stance somewhere in between these arguments.
Crypto is all about decentralization. So to think that just one or two cryptos will garner the market caps of an Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. is misleading. The aforementioned companies operate with one goal in mind: centralization. Centralization of information. Particularly, our personal information.
These centralized companies have been co-opted by more nefarious parties to create a surveillance-state. What has been tested, refined, and optimized against our enemies in a war-time setting has been brought back to our country and used upon us, the people. I recommend you watch the entire Vice Report below, but specifically pay attention to the 9:00 - 10:00 mark.
Now Bitcoin is being marketed as not only a way to get out of government backed fiat, but also a way to maintain some form of privacy. Bitcoin is anonymous, according to the media. Well guess what? It is not. In fact, it is easier to track because it all happens digitally. Meaning, the surveillance state that Snowden exposed has your IP Address, your operating system, your camera, your microphones, your wallet address, your transaction history, everything. If you are still worried about privacy today, and you are looking to Bitcoin as your solution, I recommend you stick to good old cash. Cash is still more private than Bitcoin, believe it or not.
Which brings me to my point. Cryptocurrency truly has the potential to be revolutionary at a time when governments across the world are working towards outlawing physical cash (meaning the paper in your wallet), all while promoting a narrative of digital assets being CONVENIENT and cash INCONVENIENT. Yes, that’s right. More of the same from the same entities that have been in power for decades. You cannot fault them for sticking to their guns, it has worked up until this point.
At the same time a number of independent digital assets are being created (while others are undoubtedly years away from being developed) that offer privacy AND convenience. These are the assets that I recommend you acquire because I suspect that just as the narrative towards Bitcoin has shifted this year (one from only drug dealers and terrorists use it to “moon-shot" and "$100k per coin"), so too will the attitude of privacy being a priority over convenience.
All of the money entering the crypto space is simply buying Bitcoin to (1) speculate (2) buy other crypto assets or (3) hedge against government fiat. (4) Institutional investors are also entering starter positions so that they are not the odd man out should Bitcoin truly moon shot.
The narrative of government debts being unsustainable and unprecedented central bank manipulation of interest rates (and subsequently, that of bond markets) having consequences is catching on. Yet, what I believe many fail to realize is that all of this sovereign debt, market manipulation, and consumerism based culture is driven by none other than convenience. Convenience is a benign concept on its own, however it is being used just as sex is in marketing. It is used to market us anything and everything, and it's effective. Below is my favorite satirical portrayal of our obsession with convenience projected out into the future, the movie Wall-E.
As folks come to realize that a life driven by consumption and convenience is an empty shell of an existence, only then will they realize that convenience is not such a benevolent thing to pursue. The things in life worth pursuing are often the ones that are more difficult. Make no mistake, it will be difficult for some to rid their lives of the Facebooks, Googles, Amazons, and others offering unparalleled convenience. Sadly, there are accounts of people becoming addicted to these conveniences. This is an example of how perverse our obsession with convenience has become.
The thing to keep in mind is this: once the tipping point is reached (and it is rapidly approaching us my friends) then the narrative will become one of a deeper context. Instead of simply discussing superficial topics and avoiding the serious discussions, as a society, we will begin to engage in meaningful discussion. I believe that discussion will be based around privacy. Privacy over convenience. And yes, privacy and convenience, but in that order.
Once this narrative shifts into the next chapter of privacy over convenience, then I look for assets that offer privacy to surge in value. Currently, the markets provide us with limited options for privacy. My research currently includes the likes of Monero, Pivx, Cloakcoin, and Zcash in the crypto markets and it is another reason why I am extremely bullish on cybersecurity in the equity markets.
At this point in time, we are still awaiting the regulatory green-light, so everything seems to be on hold in the crypto market. Nonetheless, rest assured that the next frontier in the this revolutionary landscape will be one of privacy, and assets that reflect this line of thinking will only increase in value moving forward in the long run. This is one of the largest, structural trends I currently foresee. Determining how long it will take to play out is an entirely different conversation, and one I do not feel equipped to touch on at this time.
While many are just now stumbling onto the concept of decentralization, it seems this concept is still in its nascent stage. That is why analysts are projecting the market caps of centralized companies (FAANG's) onto these decentralized crypto companies and forecasting Bitcoin at $100K per token and specific ICO's as the new Google, the new Dropbox, the new JPMorgan, etc.
These forecasts are misguided because they are applying centralized business market caps onto decentralized business prospects, yet they are fundamentally correct in assuming capital will flow into the space because this is the future. As dynamic a market this is, my bet is that the next chapter in cryptocurrency will revolve around privacy. Privacy is what we all want (even if we are currently unaware), and we can package privacy into convenience and decentralization all at the same time.
Here is the best case scenario:
The marketplace maintains a number of companies/assets/cryptos (or whatever comes out the other side of regulation) that compete with one another, offer privacy, offer convenience, and do not require us to surrender our data and personal information, or at least limit it.
While we are still in the first phase of this technology where we are determining the legal framework, exploring the possible applications, and identifying which of the current cryptocurrencies and ICO's are legitimate, it seems that the next phase will be driven by privacy and convenience. If we simply allow the market to be driven by convenience alone, then it seems the revolutionary potential of the blockchain technology has been lost on the masses and we will have more of the same.
Stay informed my friends.
"The older I get, the more I realize the value of privacy, cultivating your circle, and only letting certain people in. You can be open, honest, and real while still understanding not everyone deserves a seat at the table of your life." — Unknown
DISCLAIMER : This content is for informational, educational and research purposes only. This post is not to be taken as personalized investment advice.