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Why is Digital Money an Asset Class?
It won’t be long before you use cryptocurrencies every day. Digital money is already ubiquitous - from online banking to credit card swipes - and cryptocurrency is simply one type of digital money. We need better digital money because the online world is growing, and the value it brings to our lives is growing with it. Cryptocurrency enables everyone on the internet to trade value and make easier payments. The best part? It’s all done without relying on third party protection or verification.
In today’s world, sending money is controlled by third parties like banks and PayPal. Big purchases, like houses and cars, are done by trusting someone else to securely record the transaction. Instant access to your money comes with extra fees because the banks take on risk. Cryptocurrency (crypto) gives you full control of your own assets - instantly, securely recorded, and verifiable without trusting anyone.
Private ownership of digital cash is empowering. Instead of investment opportunities being limited by wealth, they’re now limited by knowledge. With crypto, anyone can take on financial risk and increase the value of their assets through direct investments. In the U.S., you have to be an “accredited investor” to make early direct investments; in the world of crypto anyone can invest in almost anything.
Imagine if you were an early innovator and could have been on the ground floor of investing in roads and cars - it may have seemed like a risky proposition at the time. Cars, and the infrastructure to support them, exist everywhere you go - but that wasn’t the case when roads were starting to be built. Now the network of gas stations, mechanics, highways, etc., make roads one of the most valuable pieces of infrastructure in our modern world. Well, I’m here to tell you that the networks that run “smart contracts” are the roads of digital currency - and the first experimental cars are being driven by early adopters on those roads, at this very second.
Investing in cryptocurrency is investing in the innovation of money. Crypto is a new invention similar to the telephone or email because they all improve over time. Network effects mean that as each new person starts to use inventions like crypto and phones, and roads, they become exponentially more valuable. The more people that get phones, the more people you can call. The more people you can call, the more useful your phone becomes; so the more people that get phones, the better it is to get one too.
It’s pretty scary to invest in a brand new invention, and there’s a lot of misinformation about cryptocurrency. As the fastest growing asset class in the world, a lot of people have called cryptocurrencies an asset bubble. It’s easy to confuse the boom and bust cycles of a new technology with an asset bubble, or a ponzi scheme, but make no mistake - cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Like the internet, digital currencies are resilient to attacks. While temporary disruptions are inevitable, Bitcoin (the biggest and first crypto) has had 99.985% uptime since January 2009.
You don’t have to know what decentralized means, or smart contract, to use cryptocurrency. Tens of thousands of computer scientists are working right now to make cryptocurrencies and smart contracts easier to use and understand. Once you can go shopping and spend the digital money that you earned in an app, crypto will be as simple as airline miles or credit card points. That day is closer than you may think.
The world continues to move toward a digital future and we all need better ways to exchange value online. Before we know it, we’ll need a digital ID and e-wallet just like we need an email address. Cryptos are likely to continue increasing in value as a result of their increasing convenience, relevance, and demand. If you have any room for financial risk in your life, investing in the infrastructure of digital finance just makes sense.
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