There is a set of words that are on every U.S. form of currency, either paper or coin. Do you know what they are?
I'll give you a moment to think on that trivia question and I'll add a random image here to fill up space so you don't see the answer below.
On every U.S. currency, paper or coin, are the words, "In God we trust."
I'd like to focus on one of those words in particular: trust.
With all the banks going under or their stocks going down or people having the money-jitters, that word comes to mind: trust.
Modern money is based on trust. Commodity-backed money, where you could trade your paper in for gold (or salt or seashells or whiskey or whatever) is no more. Now, paper fiat is backed by...trust. We trust that it has value. And, as long as we all trust that it has value, indeed it does.
However, when trust gets shaky, it gets scary. That's when things topple.
To the moon
Picture the classic, "We're mooning!" cryptocurrency chart. (1) It shoots skyward, there's euphoria, then (2) there's the slightest shiver of a sell at the top. Suddenly, everyone thinks, "This is it. It's about to crash." Trust wavers, and, sure enough, (3) things crash down. Finally, (4) things flatline for a while, then maybe, it slowly grows back in a more healthy manner. Maybe. If you've been around crypto for any amount of time, you've seen this over and over.
The frightening thing now is that this may be playing out in the banking sector. In 2008, we went through this type of thing. Then, the fear had to do with loosely-lent loans. Now, the fear is that bonds are becoming worthless thanks to rising interest rates which is thanks to rising inflation.
This post by @apshamilton really helped me understand things: https://peakd.com/hive-167922/@apshamilton/why-did-svb-collapse-first-implications-for-btc-gold-and-hbd.
In my mind, this comes back to irresponsible and rampant spending and the U.S. government has led the charge. Looking at U.S. history, going back to the first major panic (in 1819), there is a trend. Every time, I mean every time, the root cause is over-speculation in something. Land, gold, railroads, stocks, houses, or now, in paper money. Over-spending (such as simply running up the debt or quantitative easing) is effectively speculating that the economy can absorb the extra money without decreasing value too much (i.e., causing too much inflation). It's simply not sustainable long term, though policymakers don't mind. Then, when "the chickens come home to roost" and interest rates must be raised to slow the economy down/slow inflation, well, here we are.
Take a quick gander at the M2 money supply in the U.S. M2 is the money supply that's liquid and "near liquid", that is, savings. Savings are pretty close to liquid, just a bank transfer or withdrawal and they're in people's hands, ready for money spending. Since January 2020, the spike is obvious.
All of this comes full circle back to Satoshi Nakamoto's quote that he encrypted into the Genesis Block:
The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks
See Satoshi's message on chain: https://www.blockchain.com/explorer/blocks/btc/000000000019d6689c085ae165831e934ff763ae46a2a6c172b3f1b60a8ce26f
Bitcoin, like gold, cannot be watered down by policymakers' decisions like increasing the money supply. Personally, I feel that Bitcoin is even more solid than gold in this regard. Although there is definitely a finite amount of gold on Earth, who is to say that a massive gold discovery still won't happen in the future? Or, that a new and efficient mining technique won't be developed? Or, that golden asteroid won't hit us? Unless Bitcoin miners decide to completely change the rules (and there's a disincentive for them to do so), there won't be any more Bitcoin. We can trust that.
Options past and future
In 2008, I was actually in favor of just letting the banks die off. Rip off the bandage and allow the sunlight to heal. My thinking: allow the free market to correct itself. My wife suggested that allowing the banks (and the economy?) to totally crash would only hurt everyone, including us, who had absolutely nothing to do with any of the mess. Evidently, the U.S. government agreed with my wife, the banks were "too big to fail," and they were bailed out.
Now, if things get really bad bank-wise and money-wise, I again lean toward letting things fail and allowing for things to reset naturally. It will hurt, but it will be the healthy way to heal. Like a broken bone that's healing back in a disfigured manner, it needs to be re-broken and reset to heal back in a healthy manner. I wish we'd done that in 2008.
Do yourself a favor and read all of Satoshi's words at https://nefties.com/kicking
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