Max Keiser made some interesting remarks during the Plan B Forum at Lugano this week. He believes that, eventually, everything will be priced in bitcoin. That may seem idyllic, although dealing with hyperinflationary prices isn’t a walk in the park either.
Can Everything Be Priced In Bitcoin?
Most BTC enthusiasts would love to walk into a store and see prices in Satoshi rather than US Dollars, Euros, or other fiat currencies. Such a scenario is not impossible, even if merchants aren’t up to the task just yet. However, Bitcoin is not considered a currency by most people and store owners, and having goods priced in bitcoin is more complicated. Therefore, a total abandonment of the fiat currency system would require a significant attitude-oriented overhaul first and foremost.
Despite its popularity as an investment, retailers have yet to warm to bitcoin. While some retailers accept it as payment, many others do not. Even those that accept it tend to charge a hefty markup. For customers to pay using cryptocurrency, they must first convert their money into another currency through a third-party service. Not all retailers want to deal with the hassle of accounting for bitcoin transactions.
The upside of using bitcoin is that it is cheaper than credit cards. It’s also more convenient than dealing with cash and storing it. Even so, the value of BTC tends to fluctuate every second. That makes it tricky to have everything priced in bitcoin, as these values may only sometimes be accurate. Consumers want to avoid unwelcome surprises when heading toward the checkout and seeing their BTC bill increase. A decrease would be welcome, but not for the retailers. Finding an equilibrium will be essential.
As Max Keiser points out, it would require abandoning the fiat system. No more worries over converting USD or EUR to BTC and vice versa. Bitcoin needs to become the de facto currency globally for that to happen. Countries like El Salvador and the Central African Republic pave the way. However, the Western world is likely to wait to follow suit. For such a change to occur, it may require a total collapse of the Euro and USD.
Making Bitcoin Easier to Spend And Adopt
If everything were priced in bitcoin, it would be easier to spend BTC. That remains one of the key hurdles to broader adoption. Even with initiatives like the Bolt Card, finding retailers accepting bitcoin takes time and effort. Not because of needing more convenient solutions to do so, though. The overall mindset is ill-prepared for dealing with anything that provides financial freedom to retailers and consumers.
Changing that mindset will require broader educational efforts. Moreover, as inflation wreaks havoc globally, demand for alternative solutions should increase. People know BTC exists, but they still favor other solutions shackling them. Even though bitcoin is a volatile asset, so are the many fiat currencies globally. The big difference is how BTC can go up in value and purchasing power, whereas fiat only goes down. In the latter case, it is an inescapable cycle few people are willing to admit exists.
It’s a shame that we’re not seeing more retailers accept bitcoin, even if it is cheaper than credit cards. It would be great to see more people involved with this exciting new technology! Unfortunately, that also means it will be a while until everything is priced in bitcoin, even if Max Keiser firmly believes that is a matter of time.
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