Cryptocurrency is one of those ‘buzzwords’ that is used — and misused — almost to the point of parody. But, at its heart, it’s simple: it’s a form of currency. Each individual coin is kept in a digital ledger that’s end-to-end encrypted to protect both the buyer (the owner of the cryptocurrency) and the seller (the person selling goods or services in exchange for the “crypto,” as it’s most frequently called).
In this regard, crypto is much safer than cash because the strong cryptography protects illegal coin transfers (so it can’t be stolen) and prevents “counterfeiting” (in other words, the creation of additional “coins” is very heavily controlled).
Unlike the dollar or the Euro, crypto is very decentralized. Anyone and everyone can get it, and anyone and everyone can use it across country borders. If the crypto trends continue at this pace, then, it will help create the first truly global economy.
But anytime there’s a transfer of power from one leader to the next — as the United States will experience come January 2021, when President-elect Joe Biden assumes office — there’s concern amongst investors about the future of any sort of currency, be it the dollar, the Euro, the yen, or the crypto coins.
In an effort to fully understand what crypto owners — and sideline enthusiasts — can expect with this new Democratic president, AFN spoke to Bettinna (one name like Madonna), Founder, Futurist & UX Expert in crypto/blockchain at Bettymedia, a Design Experience Agency.
Cryptocurrency & The Biden Administration: Understanding Facts & Dispelling Myths
This interview has been edited for clarity.
AFN: Do you feel that the Biden administration will signal an end to cryptocurrency? Some self-proclaimed “experts” are predicting impending doom with this incoming administration.
Bettina: Unless the Biden administration closes down Al Gore’s internet worldwide, it will never happen. Crypto is here to stay. To understand this, one must understand how cryptocurrency works. It’s a digital currency — it’s not physical or tangible like funny fiat, what I now call the dollar bill or physical coin.
Crypto transactions are dependent upon mutual trust between all parties involved and are exchanged without any intermediaries over the internet. In this sense, it’s a true peer-to-peer transaction. All the transactions are then stored and accounted for on a computerized ledger, called the blockchain, and it is all protected with cryptography, which is another way of saying “codes.” All anyone needs is a crypto wallet to access — and this “wallet” stores your private/public keys to access your crypto and send transactions. It can be physical like a hardware wallet that you can buy to store the keys, or download a digital wallet app, or on your computer, and/or you can store your keys on a piece of paper by writing it down.
I always hated the term “crypto wallets,” because it confuses new users. But because the terminologies in the crypto space are not user-friendly, government policies are nonsensical. Put simply, far too many people do not get cryptocurrency, and that includes members of the government.
The Biden administration can signal all they want, but they would have to close down the Internet altogether for no one to access crypto. It’s all codes — and the codes will still be there whether the administration likes it or not.
AFN: Cryptocurrency is a digital currency, which would suggest that it would thrive in a post-COVID world. Some experts, however, are saying the opposite — why would they feel that way?
Bettina: Once this pandemic happened, I knew people would start to educate themselves on it more than ever thanks to that laughable “stimulus package” the first time around. If they are out of work, and money is not coming in, the best ways to (legally) make money is in the stock market or in crypto Their money is guaranteed to be appreciated if they invest it in those worlds, but if you have no bank, you can’t get into the stock market to invest. Over 55+ million people in the U.S. are unbanked or underbanked — that’s 22-25% of people, according to the Federal Reserve. Globally, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked.
For those people, cryptocurrency is inclusive, and an attractive alternative to “exclusive” banks. Anyone in the world can access crypto if they have a mobile phone. Even Bitcoin vending machines are popping up in small mom and pops stores. Once you’re in the world, you can control, spend, invest your money however you want.
The “experts”, who claim the opposite don’t truly understand crypto. The existing system has hurt many people financially. It all makes sense crypto will attract many people.
Can people lose money in crypto? Yes, but people are losing money right now in the existing financial system and if they currently have money in the bank, their “funny fiat” is depreciating and losing value quickly.
If the U.S. government had just led the way and taken a calculated risk to create an eWallet with biometric two-factor authentication, where people can download, and the U.S. government can send $1200 to everyone, and the PPP loans to businesses, it would be so easy and effective. But that didn’t happen because the existing financial institutions were in control. However, it only led many going into CashApp, Robinhood, and other apps to get into crypto. It’s why you see the volume is getting higher.
What Will Crypto Look Like Under The Biden Administration?
AFN: Where do you feel that crypto made a “wrong turn”? In other words, looking back on the history of cryptocurrency — especially recently — what could they have done differently to have a better outcome?
Bettina: The best cryptocurrency use case is Bitcoin, but so many are trying to replace it, and are failing. The altcoins you hear on the news — the shady exchanges, exchanges that are acting like banks, and speculative traders — make crypto space look bad. We really messed up when we allowed them to get the shine. The focus really shouldn’t be on them. The way the media is portraying crypto today is similar to how they portray the Internet in the 1990s, especially in the dot-com fallout.
There are people with amazing projects that it makes sense to have blockchain integration and tokenize it. But Bitcoin was created to give people access, to give back control of their own money, and make their own financial decisions, wherever, however, and to whomever they want to send money to anywhere in the world — without any intermediary, bank, or government to tell them what to do with their own money.
AFN: Finally, is there anything cryptocurrency can do to “save itself” from the Biden administration?
Bettina: There is nothing to save. Cryptocurrency can’t be controlled. If you mean by the STABLE Act in Congress, that claims it’s to protect the vulnerable and low-income communities — it’s only protecting the status quo once again.
There will always be speculative coins or tokens. The stock market has penny stocks, but no one is calling to shut them down — and they’re nothing if not speculative. The most predatory financial system in low-income communities is payday loans. Is there legislation to stop them from being so predatory?
I don’t see this STABLE Act passing, to begin with, but if it does pass, it will continue to lead more people into Bitcoin and decentralized alternatives. The existing system has led many to further distrust the financial institutions and the government. People will be curious about the taboo of crypto and educate themselves and voila––they’ll be enlightened.
Cryptocurrency is here to stay.