Cryptocurrencies, everything you want to know

Money is such a ubiquitous tool that it is easy to forget that it is a technology.

Cryptocurrencies, everything you want to know

Money is such a ubiquitous tool that it is easy to forget that it is a technology. Its origin is forged, like that of many technological advances, in trials, errors, successes and finally consolidation. Thus, what were originally exchanges of goods and favors, evolved into exchanges based on the value of a third reference commodity, which was almost a currency, in Mesopotamia, for example, the shekel, 160 grains of barley.

That is why gold, silver, and bronze, which are imperishable and easy to carry, were used. To reduce transaction costs and prevent fraud in weights and weights, coins were created, standardized metal units with seals to certify their weight and quality, and fluted edges to prevent them from being filed. That is why the pound, the weight or the frame are also units of weight. In order for coins to emerge, it was necessary to know that a number can be an independent abstraction and does not necessarily have to be tied to an object, which is not obvious if you live in a world without schools. It was also necessary to create a collective system of trust: a credible governmental authority and to know that everyone values ​​currencies.

Hence, the concept of money continued to evolve. If we jump 2,500 years ahead, today we are facing a new monetary advance, the cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are a type of digital currency that does not require a central authority to certify its existence and ownership. This has been a novelty because previously digital money required a notary, the central bank, to certify where it is and whose it is. This ability to operate independently is a bugle for those who are wary of central banks for obscure or ideological reasons.

Not requiring a notary for payments is possible thanks to blockchain technology, which has other potentially revolutionary applications. The blockchain allows you to automate and anonymously certify decisions agreed upon by the parties. We think of the blockchain as an eagle that lays several eggs and that cryptocurrencies are an egg that has hatched.

And then we have bitcoin, which is a kind of cryptocurrency. The big difference between the euro and bitcoin is that bitcoin has no legal tender and is not accepted for paying taxes or utilities, and there are a limited number of bitcoins. These differences have spawned different schools of thought. For example, there are those who believe that bitcoin is revolutionary because it offers many technical advantages and will be widely used and valued. Others, like this columnist, believe that blockchain and cryptocurrency have great potential, but that bitcoin has a limited utility value and a very high financial value by lust, so many people buy because many people buy. Time will tell who the pianist was. What is clear is that all this goes further: our grandchildren will not know what it is to pay with a ticket.

All this infers something paradoxical in a specious world that is believed to be suspicious, suspicious and cynical. Advancing in the creation of coins that are not seen, are in the cloud, have no regulatory and judicial oversight, are exchanged between anonymous interlocutors and work with algorithms that most do not understand required levels of confidence inconceivable three thousand years ago. Let's see if it turns out that modernity and trust are a binomial.