If you are stuck on the word ‘fiat’ this post can help you (everyone else too)
In a single, 14 word reply to a follower (@TheRealShifo) that asked “Yo Elon what do you think about the peeps who are angry at you because of crypto?” He gave a simple answer that is the often unmentioned, yet most important, question regarding crypto vs. fiat, government issued, currency such as the US dollar.
Looking around during the ongoing frenzy surrounding crypto and digital finance you’ll see countless ‘news” stories and blog posts comparing, or pretending to compare cryptocurrencies, especially the two biggest Bitcoin and Ethereum (as coin sometimes referred to as “Ether”) and they virtually always quote the “price” fluctuations of those coins as a certain number of dollars and cents.
Interestingly I have yet to see any of these “comparisons” use the reverse valuation method, such as, “the US dollar is currently worth .00002703 Bitcoin. Can you imagine everything using that as a standard – CNBC quoting stock prices in Bitcoin, your house is “worth” 32 Bitcoins (if you’re in California, for example).
The reason this comes off sounding strange and ridiculous is that all communication related to the US dollar, which has been a fiat currency since abandoning any “backing” (such as gold) and continuing on by decree (or fiat) of the government with no backing other than than decree, also carries a decree (tacit) not to undermine it in public.
So when Elon says:
“The true battle is between fiat & crypto. On balance, I support the latter.”
Simple and straightforward and yet intentionally shrouded in mystery
Musk is directly comparing crypto, generally, and fiat currencies around the world that “float” against each other. And by inference, doing so in terms of the difference between a fiat currency like the US Dollar and a crypto currency, like Bitcoin.
The fact that Bitcoin was created as a digital alternative to fiat money stands at the forefront of that point. The fact that it was designed precisely to counter the drawbacks and dangers of a system based on fiat paper money (or digital ledgers of those paper dollars such as your bank balance or any method to keep track of how many “imaginary” paper dollars you “have”) is exactly the real issue at hand.
It’s no secret that many attack those goals and intentions superficially and dismiss the entire discussion with a wave of the hand. They willfully use the complexity of the cryptographic solutions, at the heart of cryptocurrency, as a way to gloss over the real and substantive problems being targeted.
They prey on the ignorance of the majority to try and discount out of hand any value at all for the movement and the various products.
Opening up the door to this exact exchange and characterizing it as a “battle” in one fowl swoop clarifies and simplifies the real issues and the real reason for the existence, and according to many, including Elon Musk, the need for monetary “reform” or change via a shift toward crypto.
Opening up the door to this exact exchange and characterizing it as a “battle” in one fowl-swoop clarifies and simplifies the real issues and the real reason for the existence of, and the need for, monetary “reform” or change via a shift toward crypto.D.L.
The “price” of Bitcoin or any other crypto currency on any given day has almost nothing whatsoever to do with that debate.
Speculation abounds but not just in Crypto
The “price” is a function of, mostly, speculation and scarcity, due, in the case of Bitcoin to the mining cap, or at least a perceived scarcity. And additionally the various perceived advantages of crypto such as privacy, decentralization, use of block chain systems, etc.
But the price is like the smoke above the battlefield, not the reason for the battle or any indicator who is winning or who is on the side of might or right.
Two major questions that arise from this tweet and the potential shift toward a clearer and simpler dialogue on crypto are the following:
- Is crypto generally, and Bitcoin / Ether more specifically established and entrenched enough to withstand the coming backlash from governments that feel threatened and other status quo institutions that will do whatever it takes to discourage or even stamp out crypto usage?
- Will the very battle itself, that Elon Musk says is the current “true” battle, bring even more attention to the weaknesses and problems with the current fiat money system and thereby increase, perhaps inadvertently yet massively, the size of the battle and its stakes?
Alternative systems of trade have been tolerated in the US for some time now. How are those air miles doing? What about the chips and points for perks you got at the Indian Casino? Is it too late to outlaw all crypto without causing a revolution in the streets?
The other side of the (clipped) coin
It is truly surprising to see how little is to be found in the media about the deeper reasons for the rise of crypto. How it sometimes seems like direct criticism of fiat currency is almost taboo.
Naturally any internet search will find many “rabbit hole” sources for all kinds of information critical of the current monetary system, the same system the near total collapse of which in 2008 inspired the creation of bitcoin.
It appears that Elon Musk is emphasizing, in a subdued manner, exactly the way that the nonsense-furor over huge price gains or declines is completely missing the actual point. The “true battle”.
Many stories in the media and millions of private comments are currently following a kind of convoluted logic – first the popularity of crypto (which is linked to the unpopularity of the very messed up fiat system) artificially and massively increases prices in many crypto assets.
This “bubble”, a typical outcome of human herding behavior in financial markets, inevitably bursts or sees large setbacks. Then the coin or crypto system itself is blamed for the human stupidity and greed that caused the distortions of price, just like happened in the dot-com bubble and the 2007 housing bubble and subsequent crash.
The difference is that the crypto bubble, in an interesting way, is in reality due to a surge in skepticism toward fiat currencies, a boom in the prevalence of mistrust toward governments and a combination of fear and greed that is growing, not dissipating.
Although many have rightly criticized Elon Musk’s tweets and odd Saturday Night Live appearance, and there is a kind of mini-backlash (growing?) against all things Musk, in this case it is a healthy and wise tweet that we have shown above.
Reframing, or more aptly refocusing the discussion away from prices and speculative profits and back to the real reasons that cryptos were initially created and why it has gained such massive support is a welcome shift. That this reframing comes from the likes of Musk himself, is fitting and who better to put forth a message to simplify and clarify the nature of the real “battle” at hand.
The following video has some interesting data and arguments for, and mainly against, the fiat regime under which we have lived for most of the last century. Although, in a sense, a kind of advertisement for Gold and Silver, the overview is nevertheless accurate and does not exaggerate the dangers and issues that revolve around the fiat system.
- Lloyd Ostertag aka Elon Musk aka The DogeFather on SNL – full clip
- What Exactly are Cryptocurrencies? These books have the answers
- Elon Musk Announces BitCoin Reversal
- Elon Musk looking to fix Dogecoin System Transaction Efficiency after Bitcoin Reversal
- ‘Big Short’ Investor Dr. Michael Burry Now has a $534 million short in Tesla, Inc.
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