Money in one form or another, has been around for a very long time. Ever since tribes traded and cooperated, there has been some sort of currency involved to facilitate the exchange of goods. At its core, money is something that gets us to work together whether we want to or not. Money has no value in and of itself. It only has value because we give it value. In turn, it becomes a physical expression of this.
As time goes on, it changes, and eventually, it becomes what we see it as today. An expression of value backed and controlled by nation-states. A long time ago, control over "money" left the hands of individuals and became the symbolization of kings and kingdoms.
Bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies, in general, will change this if we let it. It will give the ordinary individual more control over their finances than ever before and in turn, more agency over their lives. Andreas Antonopoulos author of The Internet of Money sums this up nicely.
"There are almost 200 currencies of the world, but there's only one international currency. There are almost 200 currencies controlled by central banks and governments, but there is only one mathematical currency today, and that is bitcoin. We are going to build more of them. Cryptographic currencies are going to be a mainstay of our financial future. They are going to be a part of the future of this planet because they have been invented. It's as simple as that. You cannot un-invent this technology. You cannot turn this omelette back into eggs." - Andreas M. Antonopoulos, The Internet of Money
It is a revolutionary technology, and we are watching it grow and play a more prominent and more significant role in society with each passing day.
Money and Cooperation
Money is what helps us work together and build something great than what we could on our own. However, it is entirely controlled by central banks and governments. It has become inefficient and looked after by special powers. In the 21st century, it has become not just an expression of value but a weapon.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, accomplish the same expression of value but without the drawbacks of the highly regulated currencies, we see today.
"Bitcoin represents a fundamental transformation of money. An invention that changes the oldest technology we have in civilization. That changes it radically and disruptively by changing the fundamental architecture into one where every participant is equal. Where a transaction has no state or context other than obeying the consensus rules of the network that no one controls. Where your money is yours. You control it absolutely through the application of digital signatures, and no one can censor it, no one can seize it, no one can freeze it. No one can tell you what to do or what not to do with your money. It is a system of money that is simultaneously, absolutely transnational and borderless. We've never had a system of money like that."-Andreas M. Antonopoulos, The Internet of Money
This is the future we are looking at, and it is something quite exciting. Essentially we are looking at the coming of an age where we will not have cash, we will have electronic money, and this money will mostly have the same excellent properties as cash without the inefficiencies.
The only difference is that it won't have to change hands physically. It can be sent from anywhere in the world with an internet connection to anywhere else that also has an internet connection.
This will bring about a new era where the individual will have more freedom and control over their money than ever before.
In the future, everyone with a smartphone and an internet connection will have access to banking and financial transactions without the need for ID. The blockchains ability to create unique and anonymous IDs and facilitate secure transactions. Bitcoin and blockchain's ability to verify users safely and anonymously is unparalleled. There really isn't anything like it out there.
"At the end of the day, Bitcoin is programmable money. When you have programmable money, the possibilities are truly endless. We can take many of the basic concepts of the current system that depend on legal contracts, and we can convert these into algorithmic contracts, into mathematical transactions that can be enforced on the bitcoin network. As I've said, there is no third party, there is no counterparty. If I choose to send value from one part of the network to another, it is peer-to-peer with no one in between. If I invent a new form of money, I can deploy it to the entire world and invite others to come and join me. Bitcoin is not just money for the internet. Yes, it's perfect money for the internet. It's instant, it's safe, it's free. Yes, it is money for the internet, but it's so much more. Bitcoin is the internet of money. Currency is only the first application. If you grasp that, you can look beyond the price, you can look beyond the volatility, you can look beyond the fad. At its core, bitcoin is a revolutionary technology that will change the world forever." - Andreas M. Antonopoulos, The Internet of Money
This innovation will most likely give us more control and freedom than we have ever had before when it comes to our money. It will also fundamentally change how we do business and how we view borders when it comes to financial transactions.