In 1988, the Economist predicted that in 2018, following major international monetary changes, national currencies around the world would be replaced by a single global currency they called “Phoenix.” It made for an interesting story, but was it science fiction, global conspiracy theory, or plain logic?
The answer is still uncertain, but it’s interesting to consider that right now, in 2018, we are indeed facing a major global currency shift in the form of cryptocurrency.
The US dollar has long been regarded as the reserve currency. Until 1971, it was backed by gold and regarded as rock solid. However, since 1971, the US dollar has lost its value at an alarming rate. As we all know, the dollar isn’t backed by gold, but by the governments promise.
As the chart below shows, the dollar has declined 80% since 1970.
According to the International Monetary Fund, which has always supported a global narrative, the US is “no longer first in the world” as a major economy. A slap, perhaps, but not without cause. The talk of replacing the dollar with a global currency is building momentum.
At the time of the Economist’s article, back in 1988, the “how” of creating a global currency was somewhat vague. Welcome to 2018 and the incredible rise of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. The article merely made a small error in nomenclature.
Since the crash of 2008, central banks have flooded the system with access to easy credit, spurring asset inflation and eroding the dollar, opening the door to a painful deleveraging cycle. As this crisis shows signs of becoming real, will the seamless transition be to SDRs, Cryptocurrency or Gold?
There are many supporters of bringing Bitcoin into the economic mainstream. With cryptocurrency, trading happens digitally in a decentralized manner via the blockchain instead of a closed loop centralized system where a group sets the rules. Today, there are over 1,300 cryptocurrencies valued at $462 billion. Global trading will not function with 1,300 separate currencies. However, Bitcoin is the leader in the crypto-race.
All this opens the questions as to how the 1988 prediction will unfold. Will governments allow companies to develop and grow Bitcoin, or will they try to compete by creating a digital currency themselves?
With the US dollar continuing to lose value, it may be replaced by a “Cryptodollar“. With central banks distorting price discovery due to reckless policies, will a desperation move to create a digital currency be enough to retain confidence amongst the mainstream?
Major economic powers, such as Russia and China, stand to lose massive US treasury holdings in such an event. Which could explain why they are stockpiling gold and other forms of tangible commodities.
The speculation brought forth in 1988 still await answers. But it seems that those speculators are getting much closer to answers.