You say Bitcoin has no intrinsic value? Twenty-two reasons to think again!

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You say Bitcoin has no intrinsic value? Twenty-two reasons to think again!

Intrinsic Value Defined:

(BitcoinMagazine) Let’s agree what the term “Intrinsic Value” means. For this article
we will use the common Wikipedia entry for the intrinsic theory of
value. This is found at:

An intrinsic
theory of value (also called theory of objective value) is any theory
of value in economics which holds that the value of an object, good or
service, is intrinsic or contained in the item itself. Most such
theories look to the process of producing an item, and the costs
involved in that process, as a measure of the item’s intrinsic value.

What are some properties contained in the bitcoin itself?  What are
the properties that make it valuable?  Some pundits like Warren Buffett
seem to remain stuck in the belief that only things you can touch, feel,
and see can be intrinsically valuable.
So now let’s talk about the properties that are found in bitcoin that
are unique or ground-breaking. These properties did not exist before
bitcoin. Some people would rightly point out that many of these
properties can be duplicated. There is, however, one extremely important
factor that separates bitcoin from any other digital coins on the
horizon: the protective shell created by the network that prevents it
from being hacked or commandeered

Bitcoin intrinsic value properties:

  1. It transcends nations, politics, religions, cultures and regulations.
    These vary from country to country in ways that may seem bizarre to
    populations out of its own borders. While one may believe that
    governments always have their best interests at heart, it may be wise to
    see that knife cuts both ways. Some drugs are banned in certain states
    or countries that are allowed in others. Bibles are banned from purchase
    is some countries. Religion, custom, dogma, superstitions prevent
    various purchases based on man-made borders that continually shift over
    time. These policies tend to be created by limited segments of
    populations that can be self-serving.  If one happens to be included in
    the “correct” political party, race, religion, items can be purchased or
    outlawed. It’s all opinion.
The US government bans online gambling.
Is this a moral decision? Many of the same governments think it morally
acceptable to hold their own state-lotteries. The lotteries hold
significantly worse odds and tends to target those in the community that
are the least educated and most susceptible to poverty, alcohol abuse,
and have a generally poor understanding of mathematical probability.
Many have gone on to say that lotteries are simply “a tax on people bad
at math”. Many argue that this is a double standard of governments
which prevents them from taking the moral high ground.
2.    It requires no trust. (in
the short term). It can’t be counterfeit. There is a record of who owns
it (by wallet id) and its validity is publicly known. It requires no
central clearing house. With any other currency, one must trust the
government from which it is issued will continue to maintain its value
by not “overprinting” to pay for its own mismanagement. You can send it
globally without having to trust anybody. This is not true with any
state issued country, bank, credit card company, or anybody else.
Volatility and long-term trust is still building, but when one transacts
in bitcoin, nobody gets in-between sender and receiver unless agreed
beforehand. It’s permission-less.
3.    It can be transparent.
By making wallet IDs public, one can track the flow of money through
other transparent wallets. You cannot do that with any other currency.
You can use this feature to do things like monitor your children’s use.
This can make obsolete entire industries that are built solely on the
fact that money can be hidden, disguised, cheated, etc. These can also
happen to bitcoin, but pressure can be applied by the people to make it
transparent and accountable when needed. Auditors may insist on it for
compliance.  The list of possibilities of this intrinsically valuable
feature can scarcely be imagined.
4.    It can be programmable.
Plans for product layers on top of bitcoin to further its use to become
spendable based on contracts that can be programmed to complete with
built in variables, or be valid to purchase only certain items.  Insist
your college bound kid buys books and not beer for example. Or based on
GPS in a cell phone,  you could send your kids off shopping and it could
be programmed to be spendable only in certain stores.
5.    It can require multi-signatures.
Wallets containing the currency can be set to only unlock with more
than one signing key. This will leave hackers and thieves frustrated.
Try doing that with your grandpa’s money. It is an intrinsic piece of
bitcoin technology.
6.   It can be spent over the internet without a bank account, credit report, identification, and pre-permissions.
Prepaid credit cards can do some of these functions, but only to
locations and countries that accept credit cards. This list of locations
in countries outside of the US is actually decreasing with the amount
of fraud in the networks. Technically, the only item limiting of bitcoin
is the merchant’s acceptance of it. Given the natural law of least
resistance, these limitations could erode as more merchants around the
world realize the potential savings. The network effect will continue to
work its magic.
7.    It can store irrevocable and time stamped records of transactions.
 Absolute clarity of events and their corresponding order is available
in the block chain. Proof of ownership and purchase can be established
without a third party. The trusted and reliable distributed ledger
cannot reasonably be altered (barring a massive scale network attack
which becomes less likely as the network grows).
8.    It allows you to keep your identity from being stolen.  Bitcoin
is nobody’s debt. Paying with bitcoin isn’t a “promise to pay”. It is
payment in full. This could potentially reduces fraud related expenses
on massive scale. There
is no need for a merchant to get bank information or any other kind of
personal information that can be later used in identity theft.
9.    It allows movement across borders.
It can defeat government issued capital controls. The same governments
try to hold their own citizens “hostage” monetarily by outlawing
movement of money outside its own borders. Ask any citizen from any
country ravaged by hyperinflation if this is important. Could it be
possible that it might ever become important
in the USA? If you can foresee the day people will be clamoring to get
out of the US dollar, where do you think they are going to go? Ask
10.     The same wallet can be used anywhere in the world with a connection to the internet.
As the money exists on the global ledger, all you need is the key. This
can be memorized, or written on any piece of paper – even confined
inside a microdot
the size of the period that ends this sentence. Some old time gold bugs
say you can’t bribe the border guards with bitcoin like you can gold. In
the future, border guards will have cellphones and internet access too.
We aren’t living in the 1960s Vietnam or before any longer.
11.    It can move independently of banking rules, laws, and restrictions.
The people in the USA may think this unimportant in their bubble view
of the world, but is this also true of the 150 or so currencies and countries with terrible track records?
Which other currency enjoys this property? Will enough of the world
outside of the US believe it to be so? Is it hard to imagine the
properties of bitcoin being intrinsically valued by populations
subjected to terrible economic policies?  It only takes a billion people
in India fed up with corruption to want an escape mechanism out of the
control of the system. At that point, they won’t give a hoot about what
some American pundit said on “bubble vision” about intrinsic value.
12.    It can be used to resist corruption.
If the citizens stand up united and demand a transparent government,
they can use bitcoin to follow the money in the same way governments use
powers at their disposal for surveillance on their own populations. In
today’s world money corrupts. In tomorrow’s maybe it will become
vice-versa. Let’s see if 86% of the world agrees that any tool that makes less opportunity for corruption is valuable.
13.    It can be made to settle contracts without other parties.
You can program it to settle contracts based on certain events such as
date, proof of ownership, death, or a host of other factors that can be
validated programmatically without a third party to validate if the
conditions were met. It can be used as a record keeping asset tag, and
proof of ownership. Ownership of the private key to the bitcoin is by
definition, the owner. In addition, it can be the source record of
ownership for property title, copyrights, and intellectual property that
transcends borders and locally interpreted laws.  In effect, the
records become the de-facto “single source of truth”. The currency
itself is globally accessible proof of ownership. Can these functions
and properties be reasonably argued to be valuable beyond the currency
14.    There are no age requirements.
Paying for items in a global world requires bank accounts. Bank
accounts are legal properties that can only be established with those of
legal age (18 in most locations). There is no minimum age requirement
to pay for items globally using bitcoin. How many people under 18 have
cell phones, AND need to spend money with no credit card. Smart
businesses have started to recognize this intrinsically valuable
15.    It is more difficult to be used as surveillance.
The main attributes of money are often quoted these days, but one
attribute is rarely mentioned. Money has become surveillance. As people
continue to learn of the horrors of the NSA and other government efforts
to spy on every aspect of their lives, it only takes one person drunk
with power to make all the well-intention sounding policies reverse into
shocking horror. One government required Jews to register themselves
for easy identification, which was then used to “dispose” of them.
Now one’s religion, race, gender,
national origin, political party, age, place of work, address, and much
more can be determined by how and where one spends their money. To those
who think they have nothing to worry about because they are not doing
anything wrong, might ask themselves, what did the Jews have to fear
during the time they were self-registering?  They also were not
(generally) doing anything wrong. That’s only one example in a history
littered with them. Is the ability to obscure one’s spending habits
intrinsically valuable? Is it possible to imagine how much of the
population of the world would think it is?
16.   Bitcoin as money bandwidth.
If one were to transfer value between large companies or nations, much
of the world has discovered bitcoin to be a very efficient payment
network to do this. If bitcoin was thought of as envelopes to be stuffed
with dollars or other currencies for transport, only the size of the
envelope itself that contains the dollars inside would be the limiting
factor. To increase the ability and usefulness of this feature, the
envelopes represented in bitcoin price will have to inflate enormously
to take on that load. The Federal Reserve and former Vice Presidents have caught on.  So has smart Venture Capitalist firms that have a knack for being one step ahead of everybody else.
17.    It can be the basis of a new eco system. Right now entire new ecosystems
are being built up around the new currency (in use, if not government
recognition).  Gold towns sprang up into eco-systems but crashed when
the gold veins ran dry. We know exactly how deep the bitcoin well can go
and the rate at which it will be found. What other modern day
ecosystems are being built because of the intrinsic values of a
18.    It can upend centuries-old money monopolies.  The strangleholds on monetary policy continue to be held by relatively few extremely wealthy families
for centuries.  Bitcoin has the possibility to change the paradigm
completely. These banks will likely find ways to maintain their power
and wealth and there is nothing preventing them from moving into digital
currencies to maintain it.  However, which other currency has the
possibility to change the dynamic? Many in the world will likely place
much value in the paradigm shift that is possible. When was the last
time a monetary unit threatened to rewrite the rules from the ground up?
19.    Democratization of money. An explosive report
from a whistleblower from the World Bank reports that all networked
banking infrastructure throughout the entire world can be traced back to
12 people who make decisions at the privately controlled US Federal
Reserve bank.  Consensus driven, public records, and democratization of
money made possible by bitcoin, might change the rules.
20.    Gives the unbanked population access to banking features they might not otherwise enjoy. As the much smaller digital currency M-Pesa proved,
the poverty riddled villages with no access to banking were able to
lift themselves out of poverty with simple abilities to pay suppliers
and start businesses. With the cross border scale and usability of
bitcoin, imagine the same results x 1,000. Are there any national
currencies up to this task?
21.    It can be extremely hard to steal.
Muggers of the future will be at a loss for what to do with the bitcoin
they can’t take from your wallet or purse.  That money will be no good
to them without the private keys to spend it. There likely will no
longer be credit cards there was well. Could robbery itself become
obsolete? Hackers will soon have a difficult time stealing money from
multi-signature wallets.
22.    It represents economic freedom.
Because of all of the reasons stated above, it might as well be called
the currency of freedom. Dictators will hate it. Totalitarian
governments will hate it in proportion equal to the amount of corruption the government enjoys.
The worst countries for freedom believe that  money exist primarily to
serve the country and personal ownership of it is just an illusion they
can confiscate at will. Banks technically own it as soon it’s deposited.
Through court order, government taxation, or inflation, they always get
it back. Bitcoin offers some protection. We become our own bank.
Many people will likely debate this list.
 Others might be open to the suggestion that if just ONE of these
factors is agreeable to most reasonable people, the description used by
Wikipedia might also be applied to bitcoin.  A year from now, there
might be another list compiled that is just as long as this one – of
things that can’t possibly be imagined today.

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