In the middle of the so-called “crypto winter,” investors are reconsidering whether cryptocurrencies can actually be considered a good store of value or a useful hedge against inflation.
Cryptocurrencies have been on a spiral in recent months, shedding $2 trillion in value over the past year amid a larger market downturn, and leaving the finances of thousands of crypto users stranded in frozen accounts.
The downturn has led many amateur investors to turn their backs on virtual currencies altogether. But even if cryptocurrencies may not be as uncorrelated and disconnected from larger market forces as once thought, it doesn’t mean they have no use value at all, according to Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.
He argues crypto and the blockchain system they operate on can offer users clear advantages in three key areas: virtual payments systems, investments, and online social media platforms.
Bankman-Fried pointed out that traditional virtual payment systems involving cash or credit cards can be either time-intensive or inefficient, due to delays in transfers getting to recipients and extra fees tacked on by banks.
This can lead to time spent without accessible funds or even to money becoming “stuck in the middle, waiting for you to rescue it somehow,” Bankman-Fried said. But with cryptocurrencies, he counters, these processes become significantly downsized and simplified.
To illustrate his point, Bankman-Fried created two virtual cryptocurrency wallets and initiated a transfer between them, which took around 15 seconds to complete at a fractional transaction fee.
Less risky investments
Another way Bankman-Fried sees crypto as superior to traditional money and finance tools is in making investments, specifically ensuring they aren’t wiped out because of delays concerning stockbrokers and financial middlemen.
Bankman-Fried referred to last year’s stock rally at video game retailer Gamestop as well as several other companies, which came to be known as “meme stocks.” When value was soaring for…