“If a digital currency isn’t actually used for any transactions, is it, you know, actually a currency?” tweeted Nobel laureate economist with the ears of American progressive politicians, Paul Krugman. He was prompted by a colleague’s recent article regarding a push by Ripple’s XRP to urge users to do more than just speculate. Mr. Krugman, it turns out, backed into one of the main arguments for bitcoin cash (BCH).
Paul Krugman Trolls Ripple, BTC
Useless. Evil. Antisocial. Worthless. Impractical. Bubble. Fraud. Those are the kinder adjectives the preeminent US court economist, with exclusive access to freer world leaders, has used to describe the cryptocurrency phenomenon. He’s also maniacally cheered bitcoin core (BTC) price haircuts, tacitly approving investors being wiped out and worse. More recently, he took to Twitter yet again to troll XRP and BTC enthusiasts, chiding, “If a digital currency isn’t actually used for any transactions, is it, you know, actually a currency?”
Mr. Krugman, interestingly enough, backed into a main argument for bitcoin cash (BCH), at least as proponents see things. He made no mention of the fourth largest decentralized currency by market capitalization, but the bitcoin cash gang maintains that for a cryptocurrency to be a currency in any meaningful sense it must be used. Otherwise, it’s just an exercise in greater fool game theory.
Mr. Krugman’s snide, smug take has to do with Nathaniel Popper’s, “Here’s Some Cryptocurrency. Now Please Use It,” published in The New York Times this week. Mr. Popper examines Ripple’s recent press barrage, shoving its XRP in front of mainstream audiences from Los Angeles (Ellen DeGeneres) to New York (Stephen Colbert), which have hosted giveaways totaling more than $30 million … and just for those two shows, mind you.
“Now comes the hard part,” Mr. Popper explained, “persuading people to use XRP for something other than speculative trading. It is an issue facing most of the still-young cryptocurrency industry. Digital tokens like bitcoin and its many imitators (like XRP) were designed to make electronic transactions of all sorts easier. But today almost no transactions are happening, other than on virtual currency exchanges where people bet on their price.”
Cash Flush, Business Light
It’s an all-out push by Ripple, including getting perpetually inebriated rapper Snoop Dogg to host after parties. They’ve even forked over $300 million to grease the wheels of getting businesses to use XRP. They’re looking to lure developers. This desperation has its own term, “cash flush, business light.”
Store of value arguments have held the day, and so most enthusiasts do hold their positions rather than use, at least as it concerns XRP and the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, BTC. Mr. Popper notes how many “people who bought the digital tokens created by these projects did so in the belief they will one day be useful for real transactions of some sort. If the projects want to keep those investors from selling, the projects have to convince them the tokens will have some long-term value.”
For XRP the campaign to get users to see it as a functional currency might be less than a philosophical harkening back to crypto’s rebellious roots. Projects like it are in grave danger of being legally relegated to securities, meaning “they will be subject to restrictions on trading and movement, making it even less likely that people will use the tokens for their intended purposes,” Mr. Popper insists, something Ripple executives are keen to avoid at all cost. They’ve gone to great pains to separate Ripple the company from the currency XRP, with an obvious irony, “Its efforts to promote XRP could demonstrate how reliant XRP is on Ripple.”
In any event, the crypto community has at least one example of a currency gaining adoption and medium of exchange use case. Seemingly daily, an innovation or re-adoption of a previous concept long abandoned by bitcoin core as it veered off into settlement layer/digital gold land is implemented, resurrected, as bitcoin cash is, you know, actually a currency.
Does Paul Krugman have a point? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via the Pixabay, Twitter.
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