Cryptocurrency: Fad or Future?

Graphic+by+Social+Media+Editor+Lily+Loyd

Graphic by Social Media Editor Lily Loyd

It’s no exaggeration to say that in recent years Crypto has taken the world by storm.  Many are still unaware of how it works and why it has everyone talking.

Think of the American dollar. Its value can go up and down, but the U.S. government has measures in place to control how much a dollar can buy you. Cryptocurrencies don’t have that; they’re not controlled by any government body. This sets them apart from most other currencies of the modern age. Instead, the values of these currencies are determined by a peer-reviewed document, known as a ledger, acting like a bank of these currencies, recording things such as deposits, withdrawals, and other transactions. Digital software automatically encrypts, or validates, the currency so there isn’t much risk of theft or fraud. Most people store their crypto in digital crypto-wallets, which hold the complex keys that validate their cryptocurrencies.

Because there is no government controlling their value, the worth of cryptocurrencies can go up or down at the drop of a hat, persuading people to buy them for the adrenaline rush that can come from these highs and lows. The purchase of cryptocurrency is very similar to buying shares of a company.

Sophomore Yousef Abuabdou is excited about this aspect of crypto. He said cryptocurrencies’ decentralized nature allows people to invest without fear of government interference.

“Sometimes government intervention in a company can affect its stock price. It won’t do that in cryptocurrency,” Abuabdou said. “Certain governments are trying to get into crypto, but if that doesn’t happen, I don’t see any reason why it won’t get even bigger.”

As for particular currencies, Abuabdou finds Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency internationally, especially interesting, pointing to its rapid rises and falls throughout the last decade.

“In ten-ish years, it (the value of a unit of bitcoin) went from a couple hundred bucks to sixty-grand, and now it’s back to twenty-something,” Abuabdou said. “It’s crazy.”

While crypto holds promise for some, others, like sophomore Lexington Hynes, are skeptical of the concept. Hynes believes the new phenomenon is a fad that will end soon.

“It’s extremely stupid and unstable,” Hynes said. “It’s a waste of money, a waste of time, and a waste of resources. Hopefully it’s gonna die out very soon.”

Among other cons, Hynes highlights that the technology used to keep crypto networks going is the source of fossil fuel emissions that can be harmful for our environment.

“The process takes up so many servers,” Hynes said. “In order to get people their quote-unquote receipts, these servers contribute to fossil fuel emission.”

While cryptocurrencies are hailed by some, they are nothing but wastes of servers to others. Still, the obsession persists through highs and lows, leading many, cautiously or not, to dip their toes in.

“Take your chances,” Abuabdou said.