Bitcoin, blockchain and crypto: are they a hyped bubble set to burst or a liberating and solidary money system ready to challenge centralised state power and capitalist control?
Truls Lie
Editor-in-chief, Modern Times Review
Published date: August 23, 2018

Only a year after the financial crisis in 2008 the crypto-currency bitcoin was created as an alternative to a questionable financial economy. The founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, wrote both code and protocol based on new blockchain technology. Only now, ten years later, we sense a possible economic breakthrough for cryptocurrency – crypto for short.

Hype or opportunity?

For many people crypto may create alternative, non-capitalist and more solidary forms of economy. Many feel a need to liberate themselves from capitalism, where it is getting too powerful or oppressive, and by using cryptocurrency they gain hope for more reciprocal relations and autonomous communities. Others see cryptocurrencies as pure sabotage – undermining and stealing from bigger companies, banks and governmental institutions.

It seems fair to ask if the intrusion of cryptocurrencies on the world market changes or even deranges society – being a truly «disruptive technology». And is it really as liberating as «crypto anarchists», free-thinkers and liberalists wants us to believe? Some people regard the new economy to be as important as the appearance of the internet, while others disregard it as hype – an unfounded sensation – «same shit, new wrapping».

Yet the market is enormous: Today there are 4-5 billion people who don’t possess a bank account, and for many of these a cheap smartphone with cryptocurrencies can probably serve as a «digital wallet». People in developing countries who don’t belong to the typical upper middle class, will be able to effectively receive and pay with money that isn’t traceable by the tax collectors of corrupt governments, while also avoiding banking and credit card fees. Governments around the world will probably do their utmost to prevent or regulate the use of such new technologies – at the risk of being confronted with a billion opponents rejecting control measures.

Banking system in a crisis?

Since its humble beginning, the value of a bitcoin has risen from 1 to about 6000 US dollars. Even if the currency dropped this year, its value would remain seven times that of its price one year ago. The fact that trust in bitcoin is on the rise also means that the dollar might be trusted less. Are we at risk of experiencing another financial crisis like the one in 2008? Without a doubt. The debt situation we have now is worse than that of 2008 before the eruption of the …

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