OG Bitcoiner disses ‘legal tender’ and shares why NFTs are never going away
Most people forget that “money” started out as stones and rocks, to seashells and salt, whenever it was initially conceptualized thousands of years ago. It was only a few hundred years ago that ‘paper’ money and government-issued tender became commonplace for the transfer of value.
The argument remains true today for most crypto proponents. Look no further than Rhian Lewis, one of the founding members of the London Women in Bitcoin meetup, which has steadily risen in both attendance and relevance since its inception back in 2014.
A former journalist with The Times and The Sunday Times for over a decade, Lewis has been involved in the industry since 2012 and is one of the most renowned women in the European cryptocurrency space.
Today, Lewis caught up with Alex Fazel, the host of crypto edutainment show Cryptonites, in a podcast to discuss Bitcoin, the origins of fiat money, and other popular topics that drive the crypto space these days.
Here’s what they said.
You say Bitcoin isn’t money?
Revisiting the money-as-a-means-of-value argument, Lewis kicked off the segment with a brief about using Bitcoin as money. “In the early days, when people used to buy coffees and beer with Bitcoin…it was really quite threatening to people. The idea that you could go in and pay with something that wasn’t, you know, a British pound or $1, or whatever,” she said.
“It just opened the door wide to not just a new technology, but an entirely different way of thinking.”
“But the weird thing is that this isn’t even something that came about with Bitcoin private currencies were actually surprisingly common maybe 150 years ago. It’s just that governments legislated to encourage people to only use government-approved money. But in fact, there’s no reason why you can’t use anything you want as payment,” Lewis stated.
She then explained a bit about how fiat currencies are, in current times, not entirely backed by anything, despite what Bitcoin critics say. “The same people are often really amazed when you point out that fiat currencies are not backed by anything. I think there’s this misconception,” she said.
“I saw a survey recently where I think 43% of Americans still believed that the dollar was backed by gold. And this is actually an amazing statistic to me, but then I think people don’t think a lot about money. Although interestingly, you find a lot less Bitcoin scepticism in countries where there has been a history of inflation, hyperinflation, or devaluation of the country’s own currency,” Lewis explained.
On the NFT cycle
Lewis, being the cryptocurrency devout she is, says non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are here to stay, despite their prices being a bit detached from reality for now. For the uninitiated, NFTs are blockchain-based representations of tangible or intangible objects that be used to prove the ownership of whichever underlying asset they represent.
Lewis says she sees the sector staying around for the long term. “I’m fascinated by it. I wrote a really, really long article on hacker noon last year, about NFT’s and virtual reality (VR). And the idea of Representing goods in games and virtual worlds with NFTs is one that’s absolutely not going to go away,” she noted.
However, there’s a word for caution too: “There’s a lot of silly money being paid for things that really aren’t worth it. But over time, I think that’ll shake out it’s a bit like the Icos in 2017,” she ended, before moving on to speak smart contracts with Fazel.
(What else about Lewis say about Bitcoin? Want to know her thoughts on the end of fiat money and the rise of smart contracts? Catch the entire 38-minute Cryptonites episode in full right below!)
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