A Response to “Bogus” David Kramer
Yesterday a blog post appeared on lewrockwell.com entitled: Bitcoin: Just another Bogus Medium of Exchange (and you’ll have to visit the original for his links as I haven’t made sure they work in this post)
Here is my response I e-mailed to the Author, David Kramer:
I will indeed take you up on the challenge of reading Rothbard. After hearing about bitcoin I did begin to dabble a little into Mises’ monetary theory and found Gary North’s small online book (found on LRC) helpful in explaining some of his main points in Theory of Money and Credit [link]. I also intend to read Hayek’s Denationalization of Money.
I want to make sure you denounce bitcoin in a way that is consistent with Austrian roots. Sound arguments must be be founded from consistent theories or they are not reliable. (much like the supply of money must be consistent.) Else I’m afraid your blog post is pure FUD. And how is that different from how the Establishment tries to marginalize? Let’s not be them; not stoop to their level. I don’t know much about you off hand. If you write for LRC I’m sure I’ve read and enjoyed many of your posts and articles. [I'll] learn more about you after I write this as I don’t want to be distracted or tempted to ad hominem arguments.
I want to point you to this article. When I first started reading up on bitcoin I was astonished at all the silly arguments being tossed around. And then I was really thrown by how so many people were trashing bitcoin because it wasn’t gold. Clearly these libertarian and Austrian-School inspired individuals knew something different about money that I did not. As I understood money I saw (and see) huge potential for Bitcoin and thought (also think) it has great advantages over gold. I would argue there is a place for bitcoin in a free-market. Isn’t that what we are after? A free market? Voluntary action. I thought at this point that someone has to do the research and find out if bitcoin can be good “money” as the austrians would define it. And as I’m sure you’ve experienced, when “someone” needs to do something you often find that that “someone” is yourself (because no one is around to do it BUT you). I started half-heartedly doing some research into monetary theory but got delayed and distracted. Luckily, today I read this. Now I don’t have to write the article (thank god) someone did do it for me
I’d like to engage in some discourse with you. I’d like you to lay out why Bitcoin is no good.
The fact that it’s called “virtual currency” gives you an idea about its actual value as a real medium of exchange.
Wrong. Money like anything else has subjective value. I can only sell my car for however much someone will pay for it. Monetary Value is subjective as well, it is only worth what someone will exchange for it. I’m sure you know this. A good’s worthiness to be a medium of exchange is determined according to money-attributes.
Question 1: What makes good money?
Given: Bitcoin has no non-monetary value. +1 for David Kramer
Question 2: What non-monetary value does gold have? (specifically what value did it have in the ancient world)
While many people who are touting it on Facebook are enamored with the fact that it was voluntarily created by the marketplace (i.e., is not forced down our throats by a private central bank), I’m afraid that those people are losing sight of how a real medium of exchange arises in a free market. A medium of exchange arises from something that had a material use/value in the market prior to becoming a medium of exchange, i.e., it was also a good being bartered for other goods and services. Over the centuries, the commodities gold and silver won out as the two most preferred mediums of exchange—with gold holding the number one position due to its being more scarce than silver.
Gold > Silver because it’s more scarce. Bitcoin more scarce than Gold. Bitcoin > Gold?
-1 David Kramer?
What was Bitcoin’s prior material use/value? Zero.
Only the free market can voluntarily determine how much of a real medium of exchange is needed in the marketplace over time. While the idea of attempting to get rid of the Bankster monopoly on creating money out of thin air is commendable, Bitcoin is also money created out of thin air. Bitcoin is just substituting one bogus medium of exchange for another.
There’s that word again. “real”… what is meant here? FUD
Mises said the amount of money in the marketplace produces no net good. It could be little, it could be big. The other goods will just price accordingly. In fact introduction of new money causes problems I’m sure you’re well aware of. In the case of the production of gold the miners who are able to spend the new money first get their gain from the loss of the last ones to spend the money. No net good. The amount of money doesn’t matter.
As I’m sure you’ve also been made aware bitcoin is not exactly created out of thin air. It must be mined. There is proof of work involved in the production of new coin. This work is also inherent in the system to control the network that verifies and facilitates the currency not only does mining create new coin it keeps all coins in existence.
UPDATE: I’ve been getting a lot of reader response trying to “explain” to me the economic virtues of Bitcoin. Some responders have even mistakenly used Austrian economics to rationalize their views. I would suggest that before you write to me about the Austrian economics view of a medium of exchange, you should read the two books by one of the two giants of Austrian economics, Murray Rothbard, on what a medium of exchange is. Here is the pdf for Rothbard’s What Has Government Done to Our Money and here is the pdf for Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed. For those of you who have not yet read any Austrian economics, please do not waste your time writing to me trying to explain the “scientific” breakthrough of the bogus Bitcoin computer program. (There already was a REAL digital currency, e-gold, that was backed by a real commodity until the Federalistas shut it down. Eventually, Bitcoin will be shut down too because of its anonymity capabilities.)