Recently Bitcoin Evolution Review started investing in bitcoins and I’ve heard a lot of talks about inflation and deflation but not lots of people actually know and think about what inflation and deflation are. But let’s focus on inflation.
We always needed a method to trade value and the most practical way to take action is to link it with money. In past times it worked quite well as the money that was issued was linked to gold. So every central bank had to have enough gold to pay back all of the money it issued. However, during the past century this changed and gold isn’t what’s giving value to money but promises. As you can guess it’s very easy to abuse to such power and certainly the major central banks are not renouncing to do so. Because of this they’re printing money, so basically they’re “creating wealth” out of nothing without really having it. This technique not merely exposes us to risks of economic collapse but it results also with the de-valuation of money. Therefore, because money will probably be worth less, whoever is selling something has to raise the price of goods to reflect their real value, this is called inflation. But what’s behind the amount of money printing? Why are central banks doing this? Well the answer they would give you is that by de-valuing their currency they are helping the exports.
In fairness, inside our global economy this is true. However, that is not the only reason. By issuing fresh money we can afford to cover back the debts we’d, basically we make new debts to pay the old ones. But that’s not only it, by de-valuing our currencies we have been de-facto de-valuing our debts. That’s why our countries love inflation. In inflationary environments it’s better to grow because debts are cheap. But what are the consequences of all this? It’s hard to store wealth. So if you keep the money (you worked hard to get) in your bank account you’re actually losing wealth because your money is de-valuing pretty quickly.
Because each central bank has an inflation target at around 2% we can well say that keeping money costs all of us at least 2% per year. This discourages savers and spur consumes. This is one way our economies are working, predicated on inflation and debts.
What about deflation? Well this is exactly the opposite of inflation and it is the biggest nightmare for our central banks, let’s see why. Basically, we’ve deflation when overall the prices of goods fall. This would be caused by an increase of value of money. Firstly, it would hurt spending as consumers will be incentivised to save lots of money because their value increase overtime. Alternatively merchants will be under constant pressure. They will have to sell their goods quick otherwise they will lose money because the price they will charge because of their services will drop over time. But when there is something we learned in these years is that central banks and governments do not care much about consumers or merchants, what they care the most is DEBT!!. In a deflationary environment debt can be a real burden as it will only get bigger as time passes. Because our economies derive from debt you can imagine what will function as consequences of deflation.
So to summarize, inflation is growth friendly but is founded on debt. Which means future generations can pay our debts. Deflation alternatively makes growth harder nonetheless it implies that future generations won’t have much debt to pay (in such context it could be possible to afford slow growth).
OK so how all this fits with bitcoins?
Well, bitcoins are made to be an alternative for the money and to be both a store of value and a mean for trading goods. They’re limited in number and we’ll never have more than 21 million bitcoins around. Therefore they’re designed to be deflationary. We now have all seen what the results of deflation are. However, in a bitcoin-based future it could still be easy for businesses to thrive. The ideal solution will be to switch from a debt-based economy to a share-based economy. In fact, because contracting debts in bitcoins will be very expensive business can still have the capital they need by issuing shares of these company. This could be a fascinating alternative as it will offer many investment opportunities and the wealth generated will undoubtedly be distributed more evenly among people. However, just for clarity, I must say that area of the costs of borrowing capital will be reduced under bitcoins because the fees will be extremely low and there will not be intermediaries between transactions (banks rip people off, both borrowers and lenders). This might buffer some of the negative sides of deflation. Nevertheless, bitcoins will face many problems unfortunately, as governments still need fiat money to cover back the huge debts that people inherited from the past generations.