Over the weekend, a Dutch columnist caused quite a stir by telling their readers to sell their Bitcoin. She said this must be done because they were inherently dangerous and there was no financial institution to back it up.
Despite the ominous statement, many were wondering whether the article was written as a piece of satire as the cons given by the columnist are the exact reasons why Bitcoin is so popular.
Similarly, most of the “FUD” in recent weeks has come from those individuals who have a vested interest in keeping Bitcoin at Bay. In this case, the incentives are less clear.
Same old Spiel
The column in question came from the chief economist at Holland’s AD.nl website. In it, she states that many of the usual criticisms that people have with Bitcoin.
She rails about the dangers of tax avoidance and money laundering for example. While these may have been concerns in the past, blockchain analysis and audits have proved quite effective in recent years.
She also mentioned another overplayed criticism in recent months, and that is the amount of energy consumption that Bitcion mining is responsible for. She harks back to her inner environmentalist to mention the “heavily environmentally harmful computer power”.
This misses the point on numerous levels. Firstly, if she was to take a look at how much energy central banks and other financial institutions use, she would find that it is considerably more than Bitcoin miners.
Secondly, there is a great deal of value for the user in having a decentralised, secure, immutable store of value in Bitcoin. They are willing to sacrifice the energy power for this.
She goes on by saying that ICO’s are “hot air”. While this may be an overstatement, there are many in the crypto community who have legitimate concerns about them.
Hence, if she is trolling, she has done it in such a subtle way that many in the community have fallen for it. For example, in reply to her twitter post, a user made the following comment:
"Centrale banken hebben ook minder invloed op het stabiel houden van de economie." Yep, en dat is exact waarom je wel bitcoin zou moeten kopen, om een einde te maken aan de tirannie van de centrale banken.
— CryptoConscient (@CryptoConscient) December 3, 2017
Which, rougly translated is “This is why you don’t want people to buy Bitcoin, so that we can’t end the tyranny of the central bank”.
Yet, one cannot blame the readers for reacting with the usual frustration and anger. There have been similar hit pieces recently by numerous uninformed writers and “professionals”.
Keep Calm and Carry On
While opinions like this one are designed to fear monger, Bitcoin users have seen it all before. Since the birth of the cryptocurrency only 8 years ago, they have had to endure similar “fake news”.
Newspapers and columnists are after sensational headlines and nothing can quite grab attention like some story of a criminal using Bitcoin to launder millions.
While these stories may scare a small number of new adopters, the more knowledgeable users know to pay it no mind. Bitcoin does undermine centralised authorities and that is why they trust in it.