Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The Economist Likes Bitcoin, But Readers Show Continuing Ignorance

The Economist Likes Bitcoin, But Readers Show Continuing Ignorance

The Economist today ran another mostly-positive article on Bitcoin, wondering if bitcoin’s high value is here to stay. The currency could be gaining a “more substantial role,” it said. The paper’s readers, however, show Bitcoin still faces a degree of skepticism and resistance from the general public.

Also read: In the Next Financial Crisis, What Assets Should You Hold?

Generally Favorable View

Overall, The Economist’s article was balanced and measured, and contained plenty of caveats that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could crash. “If there is such a thing as a healthy bubble, this is it,” the writer said.

The article also praised initial coin offerings (ICOs) and pleaded with regulators not to “come down hard” on them. On that issue, The Economist took an even more liberal stance than this publication.

The Economist has taken a generally objective view of Bitcoin over the years. It remained fair and balanced even after penning a Bitcoin obituary of sorts in 2011, when the price crashed from $33 USD to $2.51.

The newspaper looks more favorably to other blockchain platforms, though — giving government records in Georgia and Ethereum’s many use cases as examples. The writer also remains concerned about bitcoin’s utility as a store of value, given historic price volatility.

And it wouldn’t be a mainstream media article without mentioning the word “tulipmania” a few times. However, with each year it gets harder to justify it.

Comments Show Suspicion, Ignorance Remain Among General Public

Of note on The Economist’s article, however, is the difference between editorial views and readers’ comments. It’s always hard to determine the level of education and expertise in any internet comments section, but for now we’ll assume that Economist readers are more interested in finance and economics than most people.

Daily Bitcoin news consumers and industry participants may be surprised at the levels of suspicion and ignorance that remain.

hands over ears no“There is an underlying reason why the bankers, through The Economist, is now pushing Bitcoin,” wrote one reader — claiming it’s part of a scheme to abolish cash and impose negative interest rates. Never mind that this would be impossible with Bitcoin, given users can retain full control over their own balances.

“It’s time that governments lanced this boil,” wrote another, recommending governments make it illegal for businesses to accept bitcoin. “This currency exists for one reason and for one reason alone. To facilitate crime.”

Another said the “Bitcoin bubble will burst sooner or later because there is no limit to create new kinds of cryptocurrencies.” The latter part is true, though that is more likely to affect the value of those new cryptocurrencies than bitcoin itself.

“Perfectly round red pebbles with white five point stars in a soccer ball pattern are admittedly rare. It does not make them valuable.” This comment does not account for the fact that plenty of people already consider bitcoins valuable, and that they have utility far beyond such pebbles. Or gold, or diamonds, for that matter. There’s a huge advantage in something rare that can also be sent to someone on the other side of the world in seconds — without the sender’s or receiver’s identity being revealed.

Economist Readers Reflect General Public’s Views

Many of the comments were rebutted by other readers. However the opinions reflect those that appear whenever Bitcoin gets a mention in the mainstream media.

Those who’ve watched Bitcoin for years may take their knowledge and deep understanding for granted. It’s easy to forget the billions of people out there who still know little about it. It’s also easy to forget there are plenty of people who don’t want to know about Bitcoin.

But then, old-timers have probably heard the “I told you so” line many times by now. They hear it every time there’s a crash… like that massive $30 plunge in 2011.

Do you bother to educate people on Bitcoin if they resist it? Let’s hear your thoughts.

Images via Pixabay

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