Recently I started buying bitcoins and I’ve heard a lot of discusses inflation and deflation but not many people actually know and consider what inflation and deflation are. But let’ Bitcoin Revolution Site on inflation.
We always needed ways to trade value and the most practical way to take action is to link it with money. Before it worked quite well because the money that has been issued was associated with gold. So every central bank needed enough gold to pay back all the money it issued. However, in the past century this changed and gold is not what is 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 aren’t renouncing to do so. For this reason they are printing money, so put simply they’re “creating wealth” out of thin air without really having it. This process not only exposes us to risks of economic collapse nonetheless it results also with the de-valuation of money. Therefore, because money will probably be worth less, whoever is selling something must increase the price of goods to reflect their real value, that is called inflation. But what’s behind the money printing? Why are central banks doing so? Well the answer they might 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’s not the only real reason. By issuing fresh money we are able to afford to pay back the debts we’d, basically we make new debts to pay the old ones. But that is not only it, by de-valuing our currencies we are de-facto de-valuing our debts. That’s why our countries love inflation. In inflationary environments it’s easier to grow because debts are cheap. But what are the consequences of all this? It’s hard to store wealth. If you keep the money (you worked hard to obtain) in your money you are actually losing wealth because your money is de-valuing pretty quickly.
Because each central bank comes with an inflation target at around 2% we are able to 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 often the opposite of inflation and 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 begin with, it could hurt spending as consumers will undoubtedly be incentivised to save money because their value increase overtime. On the other hand 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 for their services will drop over time. But if 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 probably the most is DEBT!!. In a deflationary environment debt can be a real burden since it will only get bigger over time. Because our economies are based on debt you can imagine exactly what will function as consequences of deflation.
So to summarize, inflation is growth friendly but is founded on debt. Therefore the future generations can pay our debts. Deflation alternatively makes growth harder but 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 made 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 will never have more than 21 million bitcoins around. Therefore they’re designed to be deflationary. Now we have all seen what the consequences 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 the debt-based economy to a share-based economy. In fact, because contracting debts in bitcoins would be very costly business can still obtain the capital they want by issuing shares of these company. This could be a fascinating alternative as it will offer you many investment opportunities and the wealth generated will be distributed more evenly among people. However, simply for clarity, I have to say that the main costs of borrowing capital will undoubtedly be reduced under bitcoins because the fees would 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 pay back the huge debts that we inherited from the past generations.