This is an opinion editorial by Maximilian Brichta, a doctoral student at the University of Southern California currently working on his dissertation, “Vernacular Economics: On The Participatory Culture And Politics of Bitcoin”

It’s hardly a surprise that bitcoin gets maligned as a “bubble,” a Ponzi scheme, a fad, a greater fool’s theory racket or the tulip phenomenon of the 21st century. Coming off the heels of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the bursting of the dot-com bubble nearly a decade prior, it’s healthy to be skeptical of novel financial products. Bitcoin is commonly filed in the same category of bunk investments that have spun out of control. It’s a fair question to ask: How is bitcoin similar or different from prior speculative booms? In each case, there are constellations of narratives around the new asset class that generate ecstatic attention from investors.



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