No longer are we relegated to a single medium of exchange, and if a certain currency is under-performing or subject to heavy manipulation, we the people now have an opportunity to choose one that better suits our needs. New forms of payment such as decentralized digital currencies also force people to examine the facts, think about where their existing money comes from, and who has benefited the most from the creation of new wealth. Prosperity has a trickle down effect, with the vast majority of it staying with the wealthy and their financial institutions.
Competition is healthy and ensures the consumer is not being held hostage by a monopoly, or being gouged by colluding institutions or businesses. With the advent of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, people can choose a currency that suits their needs, whether it be one that caters to gamers, one that is favored by businesses, or a macroeconomic monolith that will one day drive the world's economy.
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Having an alternative payment method not controlled by governments or big banks, allows us for the first time to financially boycott or bypass any, or all of those institutions. Adopters of cryptocurrency will no longer be victims of centralized authorities and their obsessive control of monetary policy, as any changes to the blockchain must be agreed upon by the network. A government can no longer apply collective economic sanctions that can cripple small business in certain countries, based on either the actions of a few bad apples or simply a battle of political clout.
Should governments adopt bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they will be held accountable because for the first time ever, their spending would be viewable in real time by the public. Because they are unable to manipulate and control decentralized digital currencies, it is no wonder they favor private blockchains over public ones.
As an investment, the industry is growing, but still very young, and with a total market cap of only $14 billion, it is still very early in the game. Because of the limited supply and its new designation as an asset class, cryptocurrency encourages us to save as we anticipate significant appreciation in value. Fiat currency is at the mercy of endless 'money printing' by government and is subject to severe devaluation over long periods of time.
Are the financially free really as free as they like to think? Very few people make contingency plans for the erosion of their life savings due to inflation, disappearing pensions and government old age security benefits, poor returns that are now the norm, and the countless other pitfalls our wealth will face. Alternative investments are starting to appear, and ones like the Cryptocurrency Investment Savings Plan for Retirement, a self directed savings vehicle, allows people to take their retirement into their own hands and keep it there.