· 3 min read
I’m in the backseat of an Uber, or maybe it’s a Lyft, I dunno. It’s 2014. I’m in San Francisco on a business trip. The driver’s English is spotty, and the best I can offer is faded French, so the gabbing isn’t great. But the traffic is bad to SFO and we’ve got time to kill. He ventures an icebreaker: “bitcoin?”
Oh. Well then. Sure, I’m familiar with the leading cryptocurrency, but I’m a business journalist—not exactly your regular guy on the street (OK, unless that street is in San Francisco). We stumble through a conversation where it becomes clear that the driver is curious about the economic potential of what was then a rather nascent concept: a fully virtual currency governed by neither human nor government but a mysterious technology called the blockchain.
The price of bitcoin was about $500 or $600 back then, and most of the news headlines about cryptocurrency centered on two things: one, that crypto was used to acquire illegal goods on the black market, and two, that its value was volatile enough to vaporize a nest egg overnight—with ample evidence to back that up. (A Los Angeles Times article published in the wake of a 2013 crash could barely contain the told-you-so: “People who thought that bitcoins could serve as either an investment vehicle or an alternative world currency got their heads handed to them.”)
My, how times have changed. Today there isn’t a taxi driver across America who doesn’t know about cryptocurrency, and though the stuff is still more volatile than a Kanye West press conference, it has become clear that bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, and their ilk are here to stay.
The price of a bitcoin as of this writing? About $42,500. The estimated market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies? Nearly $1.7 trillion, or more than the GDP of all but about a dozen nations. (Paging Warren Buffett)
If sheer value isn’t justification enough to take crypto seriously, look no further than El Salvador, whose legislature in June made bitcoin legal tender in the Central American nation. Or take a gander at Tesla, the electric automaker and a Fortune 100 company, which at one point this spring accepted bitcoin as payment for its cars and carried $1.5 billion worth on its balance sheet. And even though the Federal Reserve has zero interest in relinquishing its control over the US monetary system, it is exploring issuing a digital currency if for no other reason than to avoid ceding technological supremacy to China.
In other words: It’s finally time for you, a regular person, to get educated on crypto. In some places, class has already begun. According to a 2021 report assessing crypto adoption in the US, 14% of the population owns cryptocurrency—and though today’s average crypto investor is exactly the stereotype your mind might conjure (late thirties, male, annual income north of $100k), tomorrow’s is more likely to be older, less wealthy, and a woman. Translation: more mainstream than ever before.
Don’t have time to hit the books? No sweat. The Brew Crew has assembled what we call our Crypto Crash Course. Three times per week over the next month, we’ll roll out required reading that we promise will help you get the lay of the crypto land, assist you in learning how to actually invest (and in what), and aid you in better understanding how its underlying technology works. We’ll even dedicate a session to crypto crime, if that’s your bag, Debbie Ocean. All you need to do is subscribe to our newsletter.
With hope you’ll learn that cryptocurrencies are—for the most part—no longer the fly-by-night operations that news readers learned about nearly a decade ago, but an asset class to be taken seriously. Of course, not all of us can be as well-read as my ride-hailing friend from 2014. He clearly had most of us beat. But hey—if that driver bought big into bitcoin back then and didn’t get spooked by the subsequent swings, he’s probably since exchanged his Prius for a Porsche and a Pacific Heights pad.
We’ll see you on Wednesday.
The Cryptotal package. eToro provides everything you need to become a crypto investor. Browse over twenty cryptocurrencies. Play around with a virtual portfolio. Copy the moves of top-performing traders with CopyTraderTM. The list goes on. Buy $500 of crypto and get $50 today.*
*This is sponsored advertising content.
eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. This promotion is available in the USA only
Mark Murdock / 08.11.2021
Matty Merritt / 08.13.2021
Jamie Wilde / 08.13.2021
© 2021 Morning Brew, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
· 3 min read