Recently I started buying bitcoins and I’ve heard a great deal of talks about inflation and deflation however, not many 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. During the past it worked quite well because the money that has been issued was associated with gold. So every central bank had to have enough gold to cover back all of the money it issued. However, in Bitcoin Era Official changed and gold is not what’s giving value to money but promises. Since you can guess it’s very an easy task to abuse to such power and certainly the major central banks are not renouncing to do so. Because of this they are printing money, so in other words they’re “creating wealth” out of nothing without really having it. This process not merely exposes us to risks of economic collapse but it results also with the de-valuation of money. Therefore, because money is 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 might offer you is that by de-valuing their currency they are helping the exports.
In fairness, inside our global economy this is true. However, that’s not the only real reason. By issuing fresh money we are able to afford to pay back the debts we’d, quite simply 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 is why our countries love inflation. In inflationary environments it’s simpler to grow because debts are cheap. But what are the consequences of most this? It’s hard to store wealth. If you keep carefully the money (you worked hard to get) in your bank account you are actually losing wealth because your money is de-valuing pretty quickly.
Because each central bank has an inflation target at around 2% we are able to well say that keeping money costs most of us at least 2% per year. This discourages savers and spur consumes. This is one way our economies are working, based on inflation and debts.
What about deflation? Well this is often the opposite of inflation in fact it is the biggest nightmare for our central banks, let’s understand why. Basically, we have deflation when overall the prices of goods fall. This might be caused by an increase of value of money. To start with, it could hurt spending as consumers will be incentivised to save money because their value increase overtime. However merchants will be under constant pressure. They’ll need to sell their goods quick otherwise they’ll lose money as the price they will charge for his or her services will drop over time. But when there is something we learned in these years is that central banks and governments usually do not care much about consumers or merchants, what they care probably the most is DEBT!!. In a deflationary environment debt will become a real burden as it will only get bigger over time. Because our economies derive from debt you can imagine what will be the consequences of deflation.
So to summarize, inflation is growth friendly but is based on debt. Therefore the future generations can pay our debts. Deflation however makes growth harder nonetheless it means that future generations won’t have much debt to pay (in such context it might be possible to cover slow growth).
OK so how all this fits with bitcoins?
Well, bitcoins are designed to be an alternative for money also 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 consequences of deflation are. However, in a bitcoin-based future it could still be possible 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 would be very expensive business can still have the capital they want by issuing shares of these company. This could be an interesting alternative as it will offer you many investment opportunities and the wealth generated will undoubtedly be distributed more evenly among people. However, simply for clarity, I must say that part of the costs of borrowing capital will be reduced under bitcoins as the fees would be extremely low and there won’t be intermediaries between transactions (banks rip people off, both borrowers and lenders). This would buffer a few of the negative sides of deflation. Nevertheless, bitcoins will face many problems unfortunately, as governments still need fiat money to pay back the huge debts that we inherited from days gone by generations.