Virtual currency ……

I am fascinated by the BITCOIN and the fact that it is being dismissed as being ‘virtual currency’ because ALL currency by definition is virtual. It is simply an accepted standard – whether it be euros, dollars, pounds sterling or lollipop sticks for baby sitting services, these have no absolute value; simply, an agreed value. In the beginning, we had barter – the exchange of two objects or services at a mutually agreed valuation. It was not always a simple matter, and may have often have ended in difficulty with a conversation that ran: ‘have you change of a suckling pig, my fine fellow? followed by the inevitable sharp intake of breath, and the response . ‘Nay sir, I am fortunate only to the level of a ferret and two small but ripe and tasty damsons.’ So progress brought us to the gold Standard – a much more sophisticated level of exchange, taking as the absolute unit of wealth a substance recognised as valuable because it was shiny. This I feel, says something about the level of sophistication to which humans have evolved, and clearly defines Bankers are magpie’s with briefcases ‘Unkind’ you say? see Dante for much harsher condemnation. Of course, this did not simplify commercial transactions a great deal as the enquiry ‘Have you got change of an ingot?’ would still have been problematic. However it was convenient (and shiny) enough to be used until 1971.

Thus we had arrived, slowly and unsteadily, to the currencies of today ranging from the staid sterling, to the continentally stylish Euro, and the flashy ‘buck’; the unpronounceable Polish Zloty, and Bhutanese ngultrum; the appropriately lengthy konvertibilna marka of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the terse but no-nonsense yen, and finally the dong of Vietnam.

And now we have the Bitcoin BUT why is it that the Bitcoin is causing so much fuss? Could it simply be the fact that it is not under the control of the Banks? No …….. surely not. Mind you, I wouldn’t bet my last dong on that.

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