The last line should read "stable" rather than "parity."
Other examples of things that were once in demand in the USA but now are not, or at least not as much:
* Anything supporting the Whaling industry that isn't used elsewhere
* Raw paper for newspapers
* Typewriters and carbon paper
* leaded gasoline
* ivory, other than "old" (legal) ivory
* silk clothing
And the list goes on.
There are also many things that have gotten less valuable over time in inflation-adjusted dollars even though demand has remained high or increased, either because the cost of providing the good or service has gone down or because alternatives exist that put an ever-lowering ceiling on the prices people are willing to pay.
Examples for the United States include:
* Most "silicon-based" technologies and the services they provide (e.g. telecommunications costs)
* Food staples (commodity prices have slowly fallen over the last 80+ years)
* Out-of-season foods (including non-staple foods)
* Non-local transportation
and the list goes on.
As to which one(s) of these, if any, will prove to be the closes match for Bitcoin's future value trajectory, I have no clue. But I agree with you, it's probably not tulips.
Who knows, BC's long-term trend against the dollar might even be parity or positive.
There is a completely different use for alt-coins besides as an alternative currency: As the equivalent digital paper money of an existing currency or an existing commodity?
The nice thing about paper currency is that it is relatively anonymous. Sure, theoretically the serial numbers can be tracked and fingerprints can be scanned but that's impractical and wouldn't cover every transaction anyways.
Imagine a bitcoin-like setup where all of the coins were "pre-mined" by a sponsoring country, bank, or other entity and that entity backed all of the "coins" by something that already exists, such as United States Dollars, Euros, or even grams of gold.
As long as the sponsoring country is stable enough that people have faith in it to protect the actual items that back it and to buy back or redeem the virtual coins on demand, you now have a functioning electronic way of conducting business in US dollars, Euros, gold, or whatever with the limited-anonymity advantages of bitcoin.
In the case of gold, it would be equivalent to how gold certificates or gold coins used to work way back in the day.
By the way, if you think this can't work, a non-virtual equivalent of this is in use in many communities in the United States: "Local currency." In many communities, banks and business get together and agree to print and accept "local money" that is backed 1-for-1 by real United States dollars. This is usually done to promote spending money locally but sometimes as a novelty for tourists.
The "problem" with both of those routes [a currency-exchange-trade model or a commodities-futures-exchange model] is that there is heavy auditing on every stage of every transaction, so the anonymity aspect of Bitcoin goes right out of the window.
This would only apply at the "big-money" level. "Retail" users would continue to use retail-oriented exchanges like we have today or perhaps some other model, such as direct bartering such as you might find over Craigslist. Government regulations would ensure that in countries like the United States, any legal trade over a certain US-dollar-equivalent amount was not anonymous.
Here's how I see it:
If a local or online (but US-based) merchant is willing to sell dollars for bitcoins 10 years from now, you'll be able to buy small amounts without any government-mandated paperwork, but if you want to buy large amounts either all at once or over time in a way that should arouse suspicion that but for the government rules you would have done it all at once (i.e. "willful blindness" on the part of the money-exchange business won't protect them from government penalties), you'll need to prove your identity.
then anything that can be used to pay tax will have intrinsic value, including funny paper issued by the government.
To quote Granny from a pre-1965 TV episode of The Beverly Hillbillies when she went to the bank and tried to make a large withdrawal and the bank tried to pay her in paper money:
I heard recently on NPR or BBC radio that the number was closer to 10-13% that was used in manufacturing and other non-jewelry/non-bullion uses, but I could be wrong. Whatever it is, it's well over 80% split between bullion-or-other-pure-store-of-value uses and jewelry/art/aesthetic uses.
the sheriff of Nottingham is going to come after you for some US dollars.
Now why would some English Sheriff want US Dollars? What's wrong with British money???
delta between the assigned value and the value in utility is usually pretty noticeable.
I think you just created a new definition for the term "delta-v"
If I have a wallet full of bitcoins and give you the whole wallet in exchange for something, there won't be record of that in the ledger unless one of us wants there to be a record of it.
The downside is that such transactions are subject to being "beaten to the ledger" by an unscrupulous double-spender, limiting their application.
there's no intrinsic value to small bits of paper in a post-collapse economy.
I'm not sure what you mean by "post-collapse." If you mean "post-cancellation-of-the-currency" economy like after a civil war and the losing side's currency is declared worthless, then you are mostly right - the only intrinsic value is the value of burning, recycling, or otherwise using the paper itself. There may be some non-intrinsic value as a collectable (e.g. Zimbabwe's gazillion-dollar bank notes have no currency value but have fetched over USD 5 as collectables "post-collapse").
If you mean "post-collapse" as in "post-depression" or "post bank panic" then I'll point to United States currency printed before 1929 - a paper dollar backed by "the full faith in credit of the United States" printed in 1928 and a silver dollar minted in 1928 were both worth a dollar at the end of the Great Depression. Prior to the creation of the Federal Reserve system, a bank note denominated in US dollars and issued before a bank panic by a bank that survived and which did not devalue or de-monitize its notes likely had the same value relative to the United States Dollar after the panic ended as before the panic.
Other forms of cash, such as the United States penny and nickle, do have "intrinsic" value in that the metal is worth about as much or more than the face value of the coin. This value comes largely from the value of the zinc, copper, and nickle in industrial uses. This is in contrast to US silver coins before 1964, where the non-currency value was based on the non-intrinsic value people placed in silver as a "store of value." I call this a "non-intrinsic" value because, like gold, the value of silver is largely based on the belief that it will hold its value over generations and the demand that such belief creates, on on the demand for its use in industry or artistic works such as jewelry.
Erase the wallet, the coins inside are destroyed.
As long as I live in a society with a stable government and a stable economy, I'd rather use a fiat currency that the central bank can manipulate to mitigate a recession or inflation than a currency or "currency" like BitCoin or precious metals that are largely outside of its control.
On the other hand, if I'm in a society where I don't trust the central bank to look out for the interests of the whole economy (i.e. one that is incompetent, corrupt, or just plain ineffectual) then I might look to use another country's currency, precious metals, Bitcoin, or just chuck the whole thing and go to barter.
Now, as to whether I use a physical medium or its equivalent (say, a bitcoin wallet stored on my own device) or use a "cashless" means such as checks, credit/debit cards, direct wire transfers from one bank account to another, bitcoins stored on a device I don't control, etc., is going to be a matter of "do I trust that the cashless system is stable now AND do I trust that it will not SUDDENLY become unavailable without giving me time to make necessary withdrawals?"
In the United States, if you live in an area where ATMs, banks, etc. may become "suddenly unavailable" to you and you are smart, you have several days worth of cash stored somewhere on your premises. For example, before a hurricane comes, most people are going to hit the bank or ATM and load up on cash, in case the stores re-open as soon as the storm passes but the credit-card machines aren't working.
the only thing better than cold hard cash that can not be directly seized from you
Cold hard cash can be directly seized from you. In fact, if it's in your physical possession (vs. in a bank's safety-deposit box or "on deposit" with a bank that takes gold deposits) that's the only way it can be taken from you - directly.
subjected to computer or human errors, or denied to you during emergencies are things with intrinsic value (gold, silver and other items mankind puts real value into as a thing unto itself)
Gold, silver, etc. have industrial uses and aesthetic uses. Beyond that, their value is based only on faith that others will consider it of value in the future. If, hypothetically, the world started believing that owning gold for the sake of owning gold was unethical (as is the case in some influential circles with ivory that isn't "old" and with "conflict minerals," for example), the demand and therefore the value would go down. If a cheaper replacement were found for its industrial uses, its value would go down or at least not rise as fast (if gold were still used in dentistry as it once was, the demand and therefore the value would be higher than it is).
My point is that a large part of the value of gold and silver is the "faith" that people have in it that people will still want it when it is time to sell - whether that time is later today (day traders), during the next period of inflation (for those buying as an inflation hedge), or decades or centuries from now (for those buying so their kids/grandkids will have something "when the revolution comes").
There are many small and medium-sized banks out there who aren't out to put their stockholders so far ahead of their customers that they deserve the label of a "screw-u" business.
However, if you asked what the average "screw-u" level of consumer-oriented* banks were weighted by influence, capitalization, or assets, then you'd have a valid point.
*Since this is about "screwing customers" i.e. ordinary individuals and small businesses and organizations, I'm not counting banks that don't cater to such customers. Those banks may have a "screw u" mentality too, but their customers are "big boys" and can stand up for themselves.
By the way, in America at least, individuals and in some cases small businesses and non-profits have an alternative to banks: They are called credit unions.
Okay, I'll grant you that this is important news for everyone, but most of us saw this on mainstream news sites or we soon will.
Now, when Ken Thompson dies, I'll expect his obit to hit