Let’s say, for some reason, no government on earth today had any gold reserves. People still bought it themselves, it was still in jewelry, used in electronics, and was still a valuable precious metal. After all, people buy jewels now, but governments don’t have jewel reserves, right?
But then one day, one government started buying up mountains of gold. They invite all gold retailers to sell directly to them. They have a gold exchange for all their citizens. Maybe they even start mining it directly.
Everyone thinks it’s quirky. But then another government on the other side of the world suddenly can’t import any paper to print notes. So they start buying gold. They use gold to pay for goods until they can get more paper to print bills again. Huh.
Okay, a bit odd. But whatever, not a big deal—wait, now a totally different nation on a different continent is creating a special legal category for people creating gold-based businesses??
What is going on?
Slowly, Then Suddenly
Three is a crowd, but just barely.
When 3 out of 190ish nations do something, it’s not necessarily earth shattering. Until the next year when it’s 10.
You would probably want to understand why these nations suddenly want gold. Maybe you even buy a single bar of gold before the demand sharply increases.
It’s Already Started: First Companies, then Countries
Governments are not profit-motivated. Corporations are. Several large companies spent a significant amount of resources in 2020 buying up Bitcoin for their reserves.
Then suddenly, a sovereign nation joined the fun.
El Salvador declared Bitcoin legal tender (technically requiring anyone within its border to legally have to accept Bitcoin as payment, though in practice this doesn’t yet seem to be the case).
Their president (a 30-something millennial, interestingly) loves to tweet about how they’ve bought the dip whenever bitcoin takes a periodic price dive.
Okay, one country. Whatever.
Ukraine takes the Orange pill
Stand with the people of Ukraine. Now accepting cryptocurrency donations. Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT.— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 26, 2022
BTC – 357a3So9CbsNfBBgFYACGvxxS6tMaDoa1P
ETH and USDT (ERC-20) – 0x165CD37b4C644C2921454429E7F9358d18A45e14
This is an outplay of game theory, which is to say that everyone will do what’s best for themselves as individuals.
Ukraine wants crypto because it’s available. But the fact that they even would solicit donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether says they expect enough people to own enough of these assets to warrant asking.
As @APompliano put it:
This feels like a turning point for fiat currencies globally. A country that is currently engaged in violent combat to preserve its sovereignty and freedom is publicly soliciting bitcoin and crypto donations. Hard to imagine just a few years ago.
Okay, but Ukraine is desperate. That doesn’t mean they’ll start adding Bitcoin to their balance sheets after the war…
And Suddenly…The Marshall Islands?
DAO – decentralized autonomous organization – is like a corporation in crypto world. It doesn’t have anything to do with Bitcoin, to be clear. But I still think it’s interesting in theory.
It’s essentially a group of people who still have a few in charge, but decide to collectively vote on decisions. It’s kind of like a shareholder meeting, but I guess you vote on more significant stuff than board members whether or not they’ll pay a dividend.
I don’t know. They all have their own unique rules so it’s hard to speak about them in aggregate. Kind of like “crypto” in general, now that I think about it.
But the big deal here is they are legally recognized.
Even if DAOs are stupid, this step is a very clear signal through the noise.
Three Signals, Three Countries, Three Totally Different Reasons
El Salvador (no longer) issues their own currency. They rely on the US dollar, and the leadership got tired of the US inflating our dollar (and their nation’s savings) away.
Ukraine is at war. They need money by any means (and if it’s from anonymous sources, cool).
Marshall Islands wants to increase its international business presence when it doesn’t have the status of a classic offshore nation like the Caymans or Isle of Man.
Three totally different world regions, cultures, and geopolitical realities. And yet all three are stepping significantly into crypto.
What could it mean?