My views on the cryptocurrency market are fairly well known. I’ve been in one crypto debate after another for the past six years. Most of these have been crypto versus gold, but not all. In order not to lose these debates, I had to become an expert in cryptos so I didn’t get run over if my debating opponent got technical (most didn’t).
Improvements in blockchain technology (also called distributed ledger technology, or DLT) are here to stay. They can be used for any kind of ledger including property rights, cargo vessels, commodity shipments and much more. The DLT technology is not limited to so-called “cryptocurrencies.” A small number of “tokens” or “coins” may have utility for specific applications (such as the use of stellar lumens for remittance payments and bank settlements in certain poor countries). But that’s about it.
The big-name cryptos like bitcoin, ripple and ethereum have no future as money unless the recipient has complete assurance of a fixed dollar amount. These currencies are slow, nonscalable and nonsustainable and use obscene amounts of electricity for mining.
As for crypto exchanges, I have long pointed out the number of frauds, thefts, hacks, bankruptcies and other goings-on that deprive holders of their coins. My critics said the risks came from using “hot wallets” (storage connected to the internet) instead of “cold wallets” (storage offline in flash drives or hard drives).
As this story shows, cold wallets are no solution either. The exchange QuadrigaCX recently failed. Investor coins were held in cold wallets. But the exchange owner died under mysterious circumstances and he was the only one who had the passcodes to the wallets.
$190 million of stored coins are effectively gone. Now holders with dollar balances at QuadrigaCX are fighting holders with cryptocurrency balances to see who gets paid first in bankruptcy. The most likely outcome is that no one will get anything.
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