Niche currency isn’t a new concept, in fact, it’s a very old one pre-dating the centralized fiat currencies we’ve come to know and love–and it’s a disaster. You don’t have to look very far back into history to find some concerning similarities with the cryptocurrency era either.
During a period in the early to mid 1800s the US federal government had little to no regulation regarding state banking. This led to many state banks issuing thousands of different currencies specific to their own institution which holders had to take at face value. These currencies became known as “Wildcat Currencies,” many experts believe the name comes from a bank in the state of Michigan which issued a currency with a wildcat on it.
Actually, I’m not even picking on kittehcoin, but the similarities are pretty convenient. What I am concerned about is the growing interest from corporate and government entities in creating cryptocurrencies of their own.
I shouldn’t have to explain that what’s revolutionary about Bitcoin isn’t that it’s ‘internet money,’ it’s that it is a completely decentralized, and entirely new application of the peer-to-peer protocol. It is essentially the first store of monetary value in history in which its users alone decide its future. No government to inflate it, no bank to over lend it or back it with questionable securities, it’s just you, the user!
Unfortunately the direction we’re going seems to be further away from decentralization. Coindesk just released a story on the 22nd about a company named ‘Humint’ which will be offering custom alt-coins for interested companies.
And so We’re Doomed to Repeat it…
When I saw the story I was immediately horrified, and maybe it was naive of me to expect the cryptocurrency community at large to share my sentiments. But it seems like many people within the community feel like this is the next logical step for cryptocurrency, and right after companies adopt coins of their own comes governments.
What I wonder is how is government and corporate adoption the next step for cryptocurrency–what are we stepping toward? At this point, it seems like we’re stepping back to the ‘Wildcat currencies’ of the 1800’s, because to me, cryptocurrency offers an opportunity far greater than questionably backed corporate sponsored coins. Cryptocurrency is about democratizing the way we store and transfer value.