I’ve been seeing a lot of articles on bitcoin, as many of you probably have. Apart from sensationalized news of the cryptocurrency, there are also many experts calling it a scam. What came across as most interesting to me was how many bloggers online were getting annoyed by the growth of cryptocurrencies and dissing people jumping onto the bandwagon for fear of missing out.
I think everyone has a right to their opinion. If you think it is worthwhile to play the bitcoin game, go ahead. Otherwise, you don’t have to do it. Why get annoyed by people driving prices up? Why call people names? Why keep wishing for it to crash? Regardless of whether you think it is investment or speculation, calculated participation or mere gambling, truth is, people have become rich out of it (and of course people have become poor because of it as well). It doesn’t matter what the product or idea is, because it’s the market that’s controlling the prices even if it’s just some digital data that assumingly gives you purchasing power . It doesn’t make sense to call the market “stupid.” Even if they are bidding for my fart, it’s the free market that’s determining its value.
Ripple, for one, has been getting a lot of heat from those who did their research. The blockchain created by the company is being used by several financial institutions but does not require the use of its coins, the XRP. At the same time, Ripple owns 62 billion of the 100 billion coins created, so they do have some control over the price. Ripple also isn’t exactly decentralized; its validator nodes are primarily made up of financial institutions, network operators and regulators, which goes against the core idea of cryptocurrencies although the company has a decentralization strategy that has been ongoing since 2012. Hence, some bloggers are calling people who buy into the currency “dumb” since they see no value to the coin.
But I beg to differ. When the price of XRP was $0.01, I think I can afford to lose $1 to get myself 100 XRPs. At its current price of $1.97, that would’ve made me $196. People who feel that $10 is worth the try would’ve made $1,960. While that is speculation, it isn’t that different than buying lottery. Besides, there is real use of the coin although not a mandatory use of it.
Japan has made Bitcoin legal tender and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Not only does giant electronics store Bic Camera accept Bitcoin, more and more bitcoin exchanges are coming up and very surprisingly, are advertising on TV. BitFlyer was the first bitcoin exchange commercial I saw on TV and recently, Coincheck also upped their game, not only by advertising on TV, but also by using celebrities. Not to forget, DMM also joined the game early last year. Now, it even has an idol group based on the cryptocurrency concept.
The group of 8 each play the role of a cryptocurrency, namely Bitcash, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Neo, Mona, Cardano, Nem, and Ripple, and these girls get paid in bitcoins. Their merchandise are also sold in bitcoins so fans would have to purchase bitcoins in order to buy their favorite idol’s merchandise to support them. When interviewed, some fans did indicate their openness in getting bitcoins if it is absolutely necessary. This does reveal that people still see no reason in taking the trouble and risk to get bitcoins if fiat currency can be used. But don’t underestimate the power of otakus. Just look at AKB48 alone. The group has recorded 30 consecutive million-sellers for singles. At approximately 1,600 yen per single, that’s easily over 1.6 billion yen (around US$16 million) per single. While I do not think this band will grow as large as AKB48, it’s still hard to undermine the purchasing power of otakus. Their market is so big, I would think if anyone wants to sell something in Japan, apart from girls, they could probably target otakus.
I haven’t listened to their songs personally, but if you’re interested, you can give it a listen below. Who knows, you might be one of the people to contribute to the growth of cryptocurrencies.