The recent rise of cryptocurrency has baffled a lot of economists. Many predicted cryptocurrencies represented nothing more than mini-micro-economic “bubbles” that would be sure to burst and create massive losses for those “foolish enough” to invest in such currencies. The problem is, at least for the conventional economists, is that they couldn’t be more wrong.
Entire sectors of the economy now exist solely on the internet. Just look at the rise of Amazon as an example. Indeed, many predict that within 50 years, brick and mortar businesses will be as quaint and inconsequential as the local “mom and pop” grocery stores of recent history. Heck, malls are shutting down across the country because no one needs to go to the mall anymore—just buy what you need online! If you had predicted the demise of malls just a few short years ago, you’d be considered a quack or even a kook!
Now, in addition to the growth of online economies, we’ve got the growth of entire underground online economies that value privacy above all else. Just look at the rise of Bitcoin as an example. One of the things people love about Bitcoin, is there is a greater emphasis on privacy protection. In fact, many think Bitcoin offers complete anonymity, or at least greater privacy protections, than conventional currency options. For this reason, many believed Bitcoin was the currency de jure for online criminals who wanted to transfer whatever illicit goods they were dealing in without the worry of being tracked.
There’s a flip side to this, of course. Take a look at the growth of Reddit and other online communities as an example. Many “redditors” are paid by other “redditors” in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin for various services. Most “redditors” are under the age of 30. This certainly is becoming more and more the norm. And as the next generation ages, the idea of alternative cryptocurrencies will not seem fringe at all!