I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about bitcoin. Everybody should be. It’s the currency of the future, man. And it just came out. You probably don’t know about it. What’s that? You do know about it. Your aunt gave you some for your birthday? In 2014. OK, I get it. I’m late to the party. Once aunts know about stuff, you’re late to the party. So forget bitcoin. I’m all about Ethereum now. That’s definitely my other favorite cryptocurrency in my Coinbase wallet. Yeah, of course I own more than one kind of cyber-coin. Who do you think I am, your aunt? With all due respect to Maureen, I’m an investor, one who has—right this instant—$109.67 just sitting out there on the internet getting more valuable by the second. And then less valuable. No, wait—more valuable? This is fun.
I’ll admit that I’m skeptical of cryptocurrency, but then again I also thought Twitter was stupid when that first came out. Sure, I still think Twitter is stupid, but my point is that Dogecoin is worth more than a billion dollars and that one was explicitly started as a joke. So imagine how valuable the non-joke currencies might become. Why, bitcoin is now accepted at merchants all over the city, by which I mean mostly the MIT Coop. As far as I can tell, the main attraction of bitcoin and its ilk is that you can own and trade it (mostly) anonymously and prices are extremely volatile and thus exciting. Cryptocurrency is also supposed to be secure, although about $10 billion in bitcoin is still missing from a hack. And Ethereum had a transaction hacked to the tune of $50 million, which they recovered simply by going back to the point in the electronic ledger where the money was taken and untaking it (you can do that, I guess). Other than that, though, your money is safe. Oh, except for the fact that it might abruptly lose value for any reason at all or no reason whatsoever.
Like, what happens to my bitcoin if the Winklevoss twins decide to cash out? As you may have heard, our favorite lantern-jawed Harvard duplicates parlayed a chunk of their Facebook payout into bitcoin and are now sitting on more than a billion dollars’ worth. And I don’t know about you, but if the Winklevoss twins are doing something, I want in. Those guys are so ruthless, they used to be the Winklevoss triplets. So I’m down with what they’re down with, unless they’re out rowing crew. That’s just silly, Winklevosses. With all your bitcoin riches, surely you could afford a nice outboard to power your dork gondola.
While some businesses accept bitcoin payments, it’s still not the easiest way to pay for things. And as far as sending money to and fro, there are smoother ways to do that—at least in this country. So the attraction to bitcoin really seems to be bitcoin itself. Back in 2015, you could buy a coin for around $300. In December, the price topped $19,000. Either bitcoin is super inherently awesome or everyone has tulip mania over some imaginary drug-dealer money. But probably not that second thing.
Because I think it’s important to diversify my imaginary investments, I split my initial $100 Coinbase deposit between bitcoin and Ethereum. On one hand, nobody seems to accept Ethereum as payment for anything. But on the other, it costs a lot less than bitcoin, so you get more of it to not-pay for things.
From what I understand, Ethereum is a platform, not just a currency. Which means that it’s spawning other applications to take advantage of its, uh, whatever it does. For instance, Augur, is “an open-source prediction and forecasting market platform that allows anyone to forecast events and get rewarded for predicting them correctly.” I hate to disappoint Augur investors, but that concept’s been around for a while. Like when I was a kid my dad had a “prediction and forecasting market platform” called Steve, who would indeed reward him for correctly predicting events. I could tell how my father’s event forecasting was working out based on a number of key indicators, such as his attitude toward Wade Boggs. The only differences between their system and Augur is that instead of cryptocurrency, they transferred wads of cash and instead of online, transactions occurred in Steve’s apartment while I waited in the car.
Granted, I’m new to this game, but I still don’t understand why bitcoin is superior to dollar, dollar bills. Unless you’re up to nefarious activities or live in a country with a busted-ass money system, it all just seems like rank speculation. I could probably invent a currency called Boogers and declare that nostril miners can only pick one booger per day and people would go wild for it. In fact, if you want to flick some Boogs in your wallet, let me know. I accept bitcoin, Dogecoin and Ethereum. But I’d really prefer cash. ◆
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