- The critical value of scarcity
- Understanding the utility of the blockchain
- Will (can?) governments ban cryptocurrencies?
- A coming geometric explosion in the price of cryptocurrency?
In Part 1, we surveyed the exciting but confusing speculative boom phase of cryptocurrencies. Here in Part 2, we will contextualize this mad swirl by running it through two filters: scarcity and utility.
What’s Scarce? Scarcity Creates Value
Regardless of one’s economic ideology or system, scarcity creates value and abundance destroys value. When we say supply and demand, we’re really talking about scarcity and abundance and the rise or fall of demand for the commodity, good or service.
In classical economic theory, scarcity is met with substitution: ground beef too expensive due to relative scarcity? Buy ground turkey instead.
But this model has weaknesses. There aren’t always substitutes, or the substitutes are more expensive or problematic than what is now scarce.
As a general rule, profits flow to any scarcity of goods and services with high utility value. We value what’s scarce and useful, and place little value on what’s abundant and of limited utility.
Currency has three basic functions: a store of value (it will retain its purchasing power over time), means of exchange (we can use it to trade goods and services, pay debts, etc.) and as an accounting mechanism to track assets, debts, income, expenses and exchanges/trades.
We assume all currency has this function, but only currency that is easily divisible and easily tradable enables easy accounting. If a notched stick is a unit of currency, and one stick buys a pig, what do I use for purchases smaller than a pig?
In today’s world, a currency must be….