“The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U. S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation-if I may use that biological term-that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.”
–Joseph Schumpeter in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
The process of creative destruction can be thought of as the evolution of efficiency within the markets. This can take many, many different forms with the core premise being to create new profit through innovation–with innovation being the keyword. Creative destruction is the wedge that divides the entrepreneurs from the capitalist.
Creative destruction generally presents itself as a technologically achievement that creates a greater total utility from the new product or process over the old. It can also take place as non-technical innovation, such as the worker assembly line processes pioneered by Ford, or the development of the just-in-time production strategy. These new innovations ‘destroy’ the older models through direct competition, not through using any sort of oppressive apparatuses of the law or monopolism. Disruption tends to be the contemporary word for it.
Creative destruction causes for a total increase in the utility of what is being accomplished–it is making it better. This question of ‘better’ or ‘more efficient’ is decided by free and fair markets though the greater returns that one receives. Thus, the most efficient actor or technology within a market, if not suppressed, should take the largest market share over time due the the fact that it is more efficient that all other options within the market.
Bitcoin is More Efficient On a Micro, Macro, and International Level
The creative destruction that will come from bitcoin is nothing short of earth-shattering. Bitcoin is more efficient on a macroeconomic, microeconomic, and international level. In almost every way it is better money than money itself.
As I explained in The Transaction Cost of bitcoin, when you look at bitcoin as a whole monetary system, it is always going to be more efficient than fiat currencies. This is because of a number of mechanisms that bitcoin uses to automatically establish and manage its own monetary system. The needed laws, legislation, and regulation that are needed for any fiat monetary system are handled automatically by the bitcoin protocol itself–Bitcoin users do not need to pay for the legal support of the system itself. Whereas, because of the nature of fiat monetary system, the users of these systems must bear the cost of the legal and enforcement mechanism of that fiat money system, and that is very, very expensive.
How much do fiat money systems cost?
This is a difficult question to ask because the monetary system is implicitly part of the state, and the state is implicitly funded through taxation and seigniorage, which make is difficult to separate one from another. One cost that we can look at is counter-fitting, which costs between 200 to 250 billion dollars per year. The counter-fitting cost with bitcoin is $0.
These sort of savings are simply too dramatic to be ignored for long, and can help business dramatically reduce the cost they they incur from supporting a monetary system that is inefficient and subject to counter-fitting risks. This is not to include other indirect cost such as the actual printing, distributing, transporting, and securing of fiat money. When you compare the transaction cost between bitcoin and fiat money systems Bitcoin will always have a lower transaction cost because it does not need to pay for the legal and enforcement mechanisms that fiat systems must pay for in order for them to function.
Once upon a time, storing your money within a bank to offer you the security of knowing that your money was safe and secure. In addition to helping one secure their money, banks also found the opportunity to make the use of money sitting in their vaults through allowing easier access to the funds through services like checks, debit cards, and credit cards. As these services evolved, the banking system started taking more and more ‘convenience fees’ for access your very own money! But what is one to do when all banks are part of the greater monopoly that makes up the various national money systems? Until now, nothing–but now because bitcoin challenges this monopoly, and it is much more efficient than this monopoly, it is going to break this monopoly. The fiat money system just cannot compete–it’s too slow, too prone to fraud, and there are too many fees. This is in addition to inflation that has proven itself time and time again to destroy the savings of all the general public. When one see all of the benefits that bitcoin offers and understands how it works, there simply is no good reason to keep using fiat–it’s just shitty money.
When you compare the amounts that one spends on banking fees, from either a consumer or a merchant perspective, to that of using bitcoin, we again see that using the fiat banking system is much, much more expensive because one is paying people to do what bitcoin does automatically. This is why services like CoinBase can offer 0% processing fee for the first $1,000,000 of transactions–because bitcoin is just that much more efficient. If any non-bitcoin services offered this kind of deal, they would be bankrupt within the month. They just cannot afford to do it because of how expensive it is to move around fiat money. Bitcoin will always have a lower transaction cost than using the banking system because it does not need to pay all of the mechanisms and fees to move around money–that is part of the bitcoin program.
The world is globalizing at an incredible rate, and is poised to continue to grow in that direction. Since 1995 there has been a dramatic growth in international trade by all countries except for industrialized one (who lost a portion of the international market to developing nations). This indicates that trade is starting to spread more evenly between all nations, instead of the industrialized nations taking up such a large potion of international trade. It is in the field of international trade that bitcoin offers some of its most powerful benefits.
Because bitcoin exist ‘in between’ national boundaries, it is not subject to many of the restrictions that fiat capital is subject to. This means that people and business that are working across boarders can choose to use bitcoin, and avoid national taxes, capital controls, and the intense oversight that is forced onto people and business from governments. Furthermore, when using bitcoin one does not need to deal with changing currencies consistently, and the associated fees and taxes that come with that.
Innovation vs. Crony Capitalism
Bitcoin is clearly a superior currency to its fiat counterparts. This is because Satoshi took all of the best features of both the internet and money and imbued them into one to create the first digital currency: Bitcoin. Bitcoin automates most of the processes that governments, laws, and the banks preform to maintain the money system. This means that the users of bitcoin do not have financially support the very large cost of maintaining a fiat monetary system. The innovative way that bitcoin secures money, protects identity, and allows for transfer to anyone with a internet connection is much more efficient than any monetary system today. With bitcoin, your money belongs to you, and you are the only one with control over it. Hands-down, this makes bitcoin win the economic argument by being more efficient, quicker, and secure.
But the economic argument has nothing to do with what we are talking about though…. because money is NOT about money.
It’s about politics.
Bitcoin is a massive threat to those that are already in political power and the special interest groups that pay them. We are at this interesting crossroads where we all know that bitcoin cannot be stopped, yet it clearly threatens the current financial and governmental infrastructure. What fascinates me about this is that it forces states into a prisoner’s dilemma against one another that they cannot win. The countries that have a clear, succinct, and friendly policy towards bitcoin first shall be the one to win the most economic benefits of bitcoin, and the ones that fail to do so shall lose the most. This is on top of the fact that bitcoin is superior to every country’s fiat money–there simply is no way fiat currencies can ever win over bitcoin. States will have to acknowledge and accept digital currencies as real legal tender, or they will have to suffer the consequences of using a money that is more expensive to use, subject to inflation, can be seized at any point in time, and is forced to pay taxes on it, and is subject to banking fees. At the end of the day, bitcoin is just better money, and it will take over the financial system because of that.
Next: The Creative Destruction of Bitcoin