What is the one currency that would take an extra 20 minutes, and 500 miles of fueled energy to just transact for a cup of coffee? Well surprisingly enough, that would be BitCoin. In recent years we have seen a spike in the topic of cryptocurrency, covering all sorts of issues such as what it is backed up by, its worth, and if it is even valuable to own. I believe that crypto’s only true benefits are for those who are looking for more coins, enjoy gambling, and have no real value to current day dollars.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency, which is an alternative form of payment created using encryption algorithms. The use of encryption technologies means that cryptocurrency functions both as a currency and as a virtual accounting system. To use cryptocurrencies, you need a cryptocurrency wallet, and the only thing that securitizes it is the blockchain, hence to its difficulty to inquire.
The blockchain is secured by cryptography, which is very inefficient by design. If you want this to work, you need to have a network that is redundant and slow, and hard to navigate without a third party being your middleman. Ultimately the only thing securitizing your money is the beliefs, and the people around you.
Mainly what people argue surrounding cryptocurrency is on how it gets rid of the middle man. Meaning that the government would be not at all involved with the currency. But that would not be the case when securitizing their transactions. With so many scams daily, getting rid of those checks would ultimately cause more losses.
Like we observe in El Salvador which has used bitcoin as its main currency for the past year, there is bad, and the ugly. The greatest failure of El Salvador’s Bitcoin rollout was the botched technical, logistical and communicational aspects of the initial, apparently rushed, rollout. There were widespread reports of identity theft, with many Salvadorans claiming their $30 signup bonus had been drained before they accessed the system. The specific requirements of the Bitcoin Law were also poorly communicated, particularly when it came to the requirements for merchants.
Another issue surrounding crypto currency is how unreliable the media coverage of it is. On PayPal and Cashapp you can buy and sell crypto, but what is the reason for this? Both of the company’s CEOs have betted big on its success. They are using your purchases of it to raise its value and to help their own gains.
It is estimated that mining crypto, consumes electricity at an annualized rate of 127 terawatt-hours. This is largely detrimental to our planet. Producing that energy emits some 65 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, even though 40% energy comes from renewable sources, when minging as well.
I believe that as of now crypto is not ready to be taken over largely and used as a currency. We need to advance for its security and find more environmentally friendly ways to “mine” it. It is run and promoted solely by those who are betting big on it, and the losers in the ‘dip’ are the stories that are not heard enough. More people are losing money through crypto than gaining. If things were to advance and crypto did become more popular, I can only truly see it as the next gamble of Wall Street, not the next wave of currency.
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Olivia Marceda is a junior at San Marcos High School…