In 2009, cryptocurrencies came to be known throughout the world when Bitcoin was created. In the few years since, cryptocurrencies have taken off. Many retailers are happy to take crypto as payment, investors are using crypto to grow their investments, and governments are looking for ways to regulate crypto and bring in tax on it. This has led people to wonder if cryptocurrencies will ultimately replace fiat currencies. We explore this question here.
Crypto Addresses These Fiat Currency Issues
To qualify as money, a currency must be a unit of account, be able to store value, and be a means of exchange. Fiat currency qualifies according to this definition. So does cryptocurrency.
Developed countries have lessened their dependence on physical currency. This has been made possible with the advent of electronic transfers and debit cards. However, a third party, in the form of banking institutions, is needed to record these transactions on an electronic ledger. This is costly and cuts into the total amount of money people have due to transaction fees. There is also the question of trust and history has many examples of third parties defrauding people of their money. These unethical behaviors and bad decisions are responsible for worldwide financial crises.
Cryptocurrency is backed by a decentralized ledger using blockchain technology and does not involve third parties. Consensus mechanisms are used to validate transactions. Information on the blockchain ledger cannot be tampered with.
Can Cryptocurrency Replace Fiat Currency?
There are no borders between transactors in cryptocurrency and it is thus almost impossible to regulate. With fiat currency, monetary policy is applied by central banks in developed countries. This is done to steer the economy through unemployment and inflation and keep prices stable. If crypto were to replace fiat currency, consumers would lose these protective mechanisms.
The concept that crypto is safe from fraud and theft is not entirely accurate. Over a billion dollars worth of crypto is stolen annually. This includes the offering of fake coins, scams, and hacking. Many insurers are reluctant to provide protection in this new market.
This may leave consumers without protection, where crypto replaces fiat currency. In less developed countries, however, crypto could be a better alternative than an unstable financial environment. Nevertheless, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns against a replacement while the price volatility of cryptocurrency is so high and until all concerns have been addressed.
This has not stopped Ukrainians fleeing the war from turning to crypto. It has given many the financial basis for survival. Countries, where their fiat is devalued, have also been turning more often to crypto.
The Future of Currency
It is already possible to do exchanges from fiat currency to crypto or vice versa. It is wise for individuals to work through a trusted service provider, such as Topper, and to void unknown companies. However, what will countries do?
It is probable, if not certain, that the use of crypto will continue to grow. Countries have several options. They can move wholly to crypto and abandon fiat currency. The use of both is another possibility. The least likely scenario is that crypto will cease to be used by some countries.
Cryptocurrency is proving itself equal to fiat money for many individuals and nations.