Skip to main content

Think Crypto’s Challenges Are Unique? It’s Just History Repeating Itself

Think Crypto’s Challenges Are Unique? It’s Just History Repeating Itself
From bartering to blockchain, the world of money – and the way we transfer it – has never stood still. Indeed, even the assets we prize have changed. Although it might be nice to have some vegetables in your fridge, using it as a form of currency has probably never crossed your mind.
It’s easy to take financial systems for granted. But every advancement over the centuries has caused some major disruption and a lot of getting used to. With each new system came imperfections and pitfalls – and in some ways, this is good. Cryptocurrencies hold a lot of promise but still face teething problems and challenges. History tells us that this is to be expected, and things can be fixed with patience and a few bright sparks.
Buckle yourselves in. Together, we’re going to take a journey exploring where money transfers began, and how we got to where we are today. Surprisingly, the issues facing crypto right now have been seen throughout the centuries.

Barter

We’re going way back to start off – so imagine everything in black and white. The barter system was the one of the first known forms of trading, pioneered and relied upon by civilizations as far back as 9000 BC. Goods would be exchanged for anything from food and tea leaves to spices, weapons and even human skulls. In every sense, this system is the godfather of money as we know it today.

Cowrie shells

As you can imagine, lugging around cattle and heavy sacks of grain whenever you wanted something from someone would have been a bit of a drag. Thankfully, it only took a few thousand years for traders to get a better idea – create a small and portable replica which symbolizes the goods which are yet to come.
Around 1200 BC, merchants in China started to use cowrie shells, which were commonly found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They were later imitated in bronze and copper. Metal knives were also popular as a substitute for the items due to be delivered – but perhaps unsurprisingly, sharp edges were taken away to swerve any nasty accidents. Often, holes would feature in the middle so they could be linked together – and it’s from here the inspiration for coins was born. Fun fact for a dinner party? Cowrie shells were still commonly used as currency in parts of Africa until the early 1900s. Now that’s stamina.
Creating an asset which represents something else is something that hundreds of utility coins in the crypto world do today. Digital tokens are increasingly being used to represent assets in the physical world – bringing a whole new meaning to ownership.

Coins

Fast forward just 700 years (why aren’t all history lessons this fast?) and we finally get to something resembling money – the coins jingling in your pocket. Or not if you’re a diehard crypto nerd, or like the Queen, who doesn’t carry cash.
By the time we arrive at 500 BCE, coins have popped up in Persia, Turkey, Greece and Macedonia – and soon enough, the Roman Empire was getting in on the action. That said, its soldiers appeared to take the revolution with a grain of salt, as many of them appear to have been partly paid in, er, salt. A payment method that’s slow to take off and enjoy mainstream adoption – that rings a bell.

Paper currency

At roughly the same time, paper currency was beginning to come along in leaps and bounds, but they did cause immense amounts of price volatility. In some cases, countries created way too many of these bills – devaluing their currencies and causing rampant price inflation. The story of price volatility sounds familiar, with the price of bitcoin soaring dramatically in 2018 before crashing – sending shock waves through the entire cryptocurrency market and prompting experts to question its suitability for day-to-day use.
Returning to history, banknotes soon emerged which were tied to precious metals like gold and silver – commodities which are still regarded as safe havens today. Further inventions such as checks (16th century) and the telegraph (19th century – yes, still in black and white) helped modernize transactions and speed up transfers. Want another fun fact for that dinner party? The rollout of telegraph systems paved the way for Western Union, which launched in 1851.

Making notes notable

With money changing hands in ever larger quantities, it became important for bank notes to be trusted and recognized internationally. This resulted in nations including England and the US moving away from gold as a value standard – and instead, they established centralized institutions like the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve. Many crypto organizations, which do not rely on central banks, are now underwriting their digital currencies with precious metals – and some banks are even making a cautious foray into the world of crypto.

The modern era

Here’s where we start to leave black and white behind and live in technicolor, with the traditional financial systems we’ve all grown up with. The middle of the 20th century brought about the advent of credit cards, and the late 1960s saw the launch of ATMs. By the 1970s, banks teamed together to launch SWIFT – or to give it its longer, catchier name, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communication. This allowed financial institutions to talk to one another and facilitate transfers globally – but even today, these can still take a few business days to clear.
Transaction speeds started to rev up as we entered the new millennium thanks to eCommerce platforms such as PayPal, but indeed, these were (and are) still tied to old-fashioned banks. The huge global downturn 10 years ago, which saw several financial institutions collapse, could be regarded as the straw that broke the camel’s back – with high fees, slow speeds, a lack of transparency and the exclusion of hundreds of millions of people without a bank account leading some to realize that a new approach was needed.

The future?

Just like cowrie shells had to gain traction all those millennia ago, cryptocurrencies and blockchainare now hoping to deliver a seismic change in money transfers – and economies as we know them. Their immutable records at every stage of a transaction helps prevent fraud and money laundering – speeding up transfers while driving down costs for consumers. Sure, there are hurdles to overcome, but as we’ve seen, practically every development in the history of money has had endured struggles at one point or another.
Several platforms are working to make cryptocurrencies practical – and minimize currency losses. For example, Piixpay enables users to settle bills and transfer money to friends and family using BitcoinBitcoin CashLitecoin, or Dash – with these payments arriving to recipients in the form of euros.
Slow adoption, price volatility, underwriting currencies with gold and banks slow to embrace new technology. To understand cryptocurrency’s challenges today, it really pays to look at the problems of yesterday (and yestercentury.)
connect with us on our social media platforms @cryptocribz

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

  Pick a niche The Blockchain and Crypto space is large and full of opportunities. Most people limit the industry to just a place to trade and make quick cash little do they know that you can actually build a career and achieve much more. There's a lot of skills required in blockchain technology. Firstly, you can become a trader, a day time trader or night trade it all depends on your schedule. You can actually make 10 to 20% of your capital daily or even more depending on the volume of your capital and trading strategy. you can become an investor who spots good coins and invests in a project you believe will do well, you can hodl, meaning you can buy and hold for short or long term period.  OTC trading is actually underrated, you can become an over the counter trader by just buying and selling cryptocurrency through the P2P Platforms or escrow groups, there's a lot of money to be made here if you move volumes on a daily. You can become an expert in technical analysis and give
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT  NON FUNGIBLE TOKENS NFTs (or "non-fungible tokens") are a kind of digital asset with a unique kind of token-unlike other assets like bitcoin and dollar bills which have a particular and fixed amount that is accepted by all, NTFS have a unique price for every token. Every NFT is Unique, they can be used to authenticate ownership of digital assets like musical records, artwork, virtual real estates and pets. NFTs could be likened to a kind of certificate of authenticity for digital artefacts. They're are actually been used to sell a huge range of collectables currently including: *A tweet by Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. *Video art by Grimes *The Original "Nyan cat" meme *Virtual real Estate in a place called Decentraland  and others...   As other digital assets like Bitcoin and other cryptos has grown in popularity over the years, NFTs have also soared — growing to an estimated $338 million in 2020. Each NFT is s

Understanding Tokens And Coins

WHAT ARE COINS AND TOKENS In cryptocurrency, coins are native to their own blockchain, Which are often used as money. whilst tokens have been built on another blockchain like Ethereum or waves. Entering the cryptocurrency market can be complicated, hearing about bitcoin and a thousand other coins that exist could also be a strong bone to swallow at a time. Thus in other to have a smooth ride in the space, first identify the difference between a coin and a token. what is a coin? : Coins refer to any cryptocurrency that has an independent blockchain-like bitcoin. These cryptocurrencies are built from the scratch. Bitcoin exists as a censorship-resistant store of value, and medium of exchange that has a secure, fixed monetary policy. Making bitcoin the most liquid cryptocurrency in the market and has the highest market cap in the cryptocurrency sector. Ethereum is another example of a coin, ETH is the native coin of the Ethereum ecosystem and smart contract platform for creating general-