I have been reading up on Cryptocurrencies lately. This post will serve as a summary of what I have learned from my readings. Specifically, Don and Alex Tapscott's Blockchain Revolution and Prypto's Bitcoin for Dummies.
Blockchain revolution exposed me to the concept of the blockchain - the underlying technology that supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In fact, people should focus on the blockchain rather than on the individual cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin because of its potential applications beyond finance. I will be listing the points which stood out in my reading as well as my thoughts:
- Blockchain technology could be used to supplant remittance services. The poor migrant worker often had to pay high transaction fees to send their money back to their home countries. With blockchain, migrants could bypass such remittance services altogether. If the blockchain does take off, firms such as Western Union could see their moats eroding. (I used to wonder why Neratel would be agreeable to sell their payment solutions business, but after observing how FinTech and the Blockchain are encroaching on this space, I now have a new perspective on the situation).
- Companies' balance sheet could be accessed in real-time if it is deployed on the blockchain. Presently, balance sheets serve as a snapshot of companies' assets, liabilities, and equity at a particular point in time. If balance sheets are shifted onto the blockchain, investors are able to see any changes in assets, liabilities, and equity in real-time. (Personally, I don't think I'll be able to benefit from this. I'm already experiencing information overload in my financial journey thus far. Flood me with even more information? No thank you. However, I'm sure it will be very useful for the canny investors).
- Companies have started IPO-ing on the blockchain.
- The disrupters could get disrupted. Companies such as Airbnb and Uber may face disruption themselves. Consumers could directly liaise with providers through the blockchain instead of going through a platform.
- Estonia has adopted the blockchain into its infrastructure (*Note to self* Read up more on Estonia).
- Musicians, composers, artists, and creative professionals are adopting the blockchain. Though it is still in its nascent stage, investors are given the opportunity to invest in songs/arts/creative works and reap royalties from it.
While it is eye-opening to read about the potentials of the new technology, I still remained utterly clueless as to how to get started in it. To that end, I read Bitcoin for Dummies.
To get myself started, I have downloaded a mobile bitcoin wallet. However, I have not done anything with it yet. One thing's for sure, if I do get any cryptocurrencies, I'll spread the funds between a mobile wallet and a paper wallet. Placing funds in an online wallet kinda defeats the purpose of cryptocurrencies. Besides, there have been hacks on such online platforms before.
Cloud mining seems interesting, but I'll have to read more to weigh the pros and cons.
My purpose in dabbling with cryptocurrencies is just for fun. I am not looking at it from an investment/capital gain perspective.