10 Reasons Why Bitcoin WILL Go to Zero: A Pessimist’s View
The Davos Conference threw up a wide variety of Bitcoin price predictions this week, ranging from the hopeful to the apocalyptic. A recent article on CCN suggested 10 Reasons Why Bitcoin Will Never Go to Zero, and while I don’t necessarily disagree with the points made, I thought I’d take upon the role of devil’s advocate and offer a pessimistic counterbalance.
I am operating on the assumption that Bitcoin (and blockchain in general) doesn’t need to hit a dollar value of zero to be deemed a failure – it only has to fail at gaining mass adoption. That may be a high standard to set, but frankly, it’s the only standard I’m interested in.
1. People Don’t Want Decentralization
We all talk about decentralization and freedom as though it were obvious that these things are what people desire. Throughout all of human history people have organised themselves into hierarchies, with a centralized governing figure at the very top; be it God, the King or the latest President.
A lot of the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency movement is about personal freedom, personal responsibility, emancipation from centralized power – but I ask: just what makes you think that’s what people want?
Extending this point…
2. Linux Ain’t Beating Windows Anytime Soon
What if there was an operating system that was free, open-source, and even developed by a decentralized, non-hierarchical group of contributors? What if there was a operating system out there that didn’t constantly siphon data from your every move on the internet? One that wasn’t beholden to the whims of a mega-corporation which has a track record of using its devices to spy on people in their own homes?
Such an operating system does exist – and nobody uses it.
Windows and MacOS run on 95% of the world’s computers combined. Linux users represent 2%.
The self-reliance that comes with using Linux is for all intents and purposes simply too much for the average Joe or Jane. Similar to Linux, Blockchain and Bitcoin may well continue to be used by specialists in the future, but to assume anything else at this point is a stretch.
3. How Many People Use the Tor Browser?
Another example of the gap between what we think people want, and what people actually want. The issue of personal data collection and internet privacy is brought up in conversation every day, yet even with a free, anonymous alternative to Chrome and Internet Explorer available for one and all, still only a few million people use the Tor Browser.
4. World War 3
A vast majority of Bitcoin mining takes place in China, and if World War 3 were ever to break out you can be damn sure that Bitcoin would suddenly become a war asset – to be fought over and pulled apart by world powers.
As suggested in my recent ponderance of Bitcoin’s role in the U.S and China’s ‘New World Order’, any potential war with the Chinese would inevitably spell the end for the Bitcoin blockchain.
All of BTC’s decentralized features count for very little when a powerful cartel can simply come in use Bitcoin’s democratic structure to their advantage. Many view Bitcoin as a shell of its former self given the reduction in block size, and implementation of SegWit and LN – both compromises on the whitepaper’s original goals.
Even back in 2014, an early Bitcoin miner by the name of Stefan Molyneux gave an eerily accurate prediction of how the financial elite would choose not to destroy Bitcoin completely – but rather commandeer it under their own auspices, and slowly dismantle it over time.
If you haven’t already heard about the sources of Blockstream’s funding and don’t wish to be made any more cynical – don’t google it.
6. Bad Reputation
Much like the aforementioned Tor Browser, Bitcoin currently suffers from a bad reputation. The classic line that BTC is used by criminals may be a laughable criticism (after all, how did criminals buy stuff prior to the early 2010’s?) – but that doesn’t mean it’s not important in shaping people’s perceptions.
Emotions often completely trump our more rational functions, and to this very day I live beside neighbours who still refuse to touch the internet due to some vague, rumoured fear of hackers, viruses and criminals.
Imagine an internet ruled by 64-character addresses, where every move you make could prove financially fatal, and you’ve got one more reason why Bitcoin will never make it.
Exchanges have a lot to answer for when it comes to Bitcoin’s bad reputation, and for as long as they exist the chances of mass adoption are slim. Coin hacks, personal data breaches, and a flagrant disregard of cryptocurrency’s supposed anonymity (KYC process anyone?) are just some of the problems stemming from centralized exchanges.
And perversely enough, given my assertion that people don’t like responsibility, any future promise of a decentralized exchange (DEX) would ultimately prove just as messy.
8. People Don’t Vote!
“It could be used for voting…” they often say of blockchain, as did Dr. Ben Goertzel on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan podcast.
Ok, but for that to happen we’ll have to address the fact that almost half of the U.S still doesn’t turnout for presidential elections. As it stands, walking to your local school or community hall and ticking a box is too much for 45% of the citizenry. And you’re going to ask them to set up nodes?
9. The Slow Creep of Regulation and Taxation
The ruling powers don’t need to destroy something to render it toothless, they only need to absorb it.
We find ourselves just a few years into the crypto movement, and already we can find horrific examples of arbitrary taxation on cryptocurrency trades – something that wouldn’t be possible were it not for the eager compliance of the aforementioned exchanges.
10. Political Differences
The individuality which being the master of your own private key demands is at absolute odds with the growing political trend of passing off responsibility onto a higher power.
Depending on which wing of the political spectrum gets voted into power next, we may see more pressure applied to Bitcoin and crypto in the very near future. We may think of Bitcoin as apolitical, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.