Bitcoin and Inflation

Bitcoin has an odd meme where people who lose significant amounts of money are praised for their contribution to scarcity. The world is a zero sum game, and if you burn your bitcoins then my own coins are worth more!

The greatest tragedy for any Bitcoin HODLer is to outlive his bitcoins. But you know what’s even more tragic? Having your bitcoins outlive YOU.

In the late Middle Ages, material wealth had a way of outliving its HODLers. The bubonic plague wiped out at least a third of the European population, with the death toll as high as 80% in places like Tuscany. As people died off, gold and silver consolidated into fewer hands and per capita wealth increased. At the same time, lack of farm labor led to poor harvests and higher prices. Mass inflation ensued.

Human labor was the biggest source of capital in the Middle Ages; today fiat is the biggest source of capital. Bitcoin-as-a-deflationary-asset assumes the continued growth of the economy, but this assumption is already false. Labor productivity hasn’t grown in a decade, and our ongoing asset price inflation has been largely the result of financialization.

The impending fiat collapse won’t directly kill off any humans, but huge amounts capital will vaporize. People won’t be fleeing into bitcoin; they’ll have nothing to flee *from*.

After the Black Death, it took a couple generations for demographic restructuring to lead to new economic growth. People shifted from agriculture to pastoralism, which was a less labor-intensive use of land. And the Bitcoin carnivory rabbit hole is endless.

One thought on “Bitcoin and Inflation

  1. How is Productivity measured? I wonder if the numbers reflect all the productivity gains. The top market cap technology companies have probably increased productivity. Microsoft with the cloud, Amazon in retail, etc, etc, etc..

    There is that trend of inflation of sectors that the government subsidizes. I wonder if that is what pushing productivity to be stagnant if it is really that stagnant

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