Recently I started investing in bitcoins and I’ve heard a great deal of discusses inflation and deflation however, not lots of people actually know and consider what inflation and deflation are. But let’s start with inflation.
We always needed ways to trade value and the most practical way to take action would be to link it with money. In past times it worked quite well because the money that has been issued was associated with gold. So every central bank needed enough gold to pay back all the money it issued. However, during Bitcoin Era Site changed and gold is not what is giving value to money but promises. As you can guess it’s very an easy task to abuse to such power and certainly the major central banks are not renouncing to do so. Because of this they’re printing money, so basically they’re “creating wealth” out of thin air without really having it. This process not only exposes us to risks of economic collapse nonetheless it results also with the de-valuation of money. Therefore, because money is worth less, whoever is selling something must raise the price of goods to reflect their real value, this is called inflation. But what’s behind the amount of money printing? Why are central banks doing so? Well the answer they would offer you is that by de-valuing their currency they are helping the exports.
In fairness, inside our global economy that is true. However, that is not the only real reason. By issuing fresh money we are able to afford to cover back the debts we’d, quite simply we make new debts to cover the old ones. But that’s not only it, by de-valuing our currencies we have been de-facto de-valuing our debts. That’s why our countries love inflation. In inflationary environments it’s easier to grow because debts are cheap. But which are the consequences of most this? It’s hard to store wealth. So if you keep carefully the money (you worked hard to get) in your money you are actually losing wealth because your money is de-valuing pretty quickly.
Because each central bank has an inflation target at around 2% we can well say that keeping money costs all of us at least 2% each year. This discourages savers and spur consumes. This is one way our economies are working, predicated on inflation and debts.
What about deflation? Well this is often the opposite of inflation and it is the biggest nightmare for our central banks, let’s understand why. Basically, we’ve deflation when overall the prices of goods fall. This would be caused by an increase of value of money. To begin with, it could hurt spending as consumers will be incentivised to save lots of money because their value increase overtime. However merchants will be under constant pressure. They will need to sell their goods quick otherwise they will lose money as the price they will charge because of their services will drop as time passes. But if there is something we learned in these years is that central banks and governments usually do not care much about consumers or merchants, what they care probably the most is DEBT!!. In a deflationary environment debt can be a real burden as it will only get bigger as time passes. Because our economies derive from debt you can imagine exactly what will be the consequences of deflation.
So to conclude, inflation is growth friendly but is based on debt. Which means future generations will pay our debts. Deflation however makes growth harder but it implies that future generations won’t have much debt to cover (in such context it will be possible to afford slow growth).
OK so how all of this fits with bitcoins?
Well, bitcoins are designed to be an alternative for the money and to be both a store of value and a mean for trading goods. They are limited in number and we will never have a lot more than 21 million bitcoins around. Therefore they are designed to be deflationary. Now we have all seen what the consequences of deflation are. However, in a bitcoin-based future it would still be easy for businesses to thrive. The ideal solution will be to switch from the debt-based economy to a share-based economy. In fact, because contracting debts in bitcoins would be very costly business can still obtain the capital they want by issuing shares of their company. This could be a fascinating alternative as it will offer you many investment opportunities and the wealth generated will undoubtedly be distributed more evenly among people. However, just for clarity, I must say that section of the costs of borrowing capital will undoubtedly be reduced under bitcoins because the fees would be extremely low and there won’t be intermediaries between transactions (banks rip people off, both borrowers and lenders). This would buffer some of the negative sides of deflation. Nevertheless, bitcoins will face many problems unfortunately, as governments still need fiat money to pay back the huge debts that people inherited from the past generations.