“Bitcoin is still a teenager”

“Bitcoin is not yet 15 years old. It is normal for it to have childhood diseases” Gilles Quoistiaux wrote in a new book. Bitcoin briefly dropped below $ 30,000 on Tuesday.

Gilles Quoistiaux, economic journalist at L’Echo, after writing for Trends-Tendances, is a specialist in cryptocurrencies. In 2021, he won the Belfius press prize for “One Coin, Le Réseau”, an investigative podcast on a widespread crypto scam. He is also the author of “Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies: The practical guide for the beginner investor” (Editions Mardaga in 2019).
This time, he publishes “Say, what are cryptocurrencies?” in the collection of “Dis, c’est quoi” in the Renaissance du Livre. The goal is to explain a concept to teenagers. What Gilles Quoistiaux is doing here with his 15-year-old daughter.

The teenager’s first obvious question: will his pocket money be paid for in bitcoins? Here begins the journey into the world of cryptos, blockchain and mining. All in a very accessible language.

So yes, if the penetration is paid in bitcoins, the teenager may have some surprises. “Because bitcoin is very, very, very unstable ”the author wrote. “Very, very, very” is obviously very important. On January 1, 2021, you have to pay $ 29,000 to buy a bitcoin! Three and a half months later, its value has more than doubled: on April 14, 2021, a bitcoin was exchanged for 63,000 dollars! After this severe surge, it experienced a major crash that dropped in mid-summer to around $ 30,000. No more bitcoin? Not really. After this episode, he returned the turbo to reach, in November, 68,000 dollars. Before fainting and even momentarily dropped below 30,000 dollars on Tuesday morning following the crash in stock markets. We are far from bitcoin being a safe haven. “The main thing, writes Gilles Quoistiaux, is to understand that this virtual currency does not stay in place. It is completely unpredictable”.

“I still think it’s a pizza maker who was paid with bitcoins. Hopefully he didn’t put in 10,000 bitcoins from Pizza Day.”

Gilles Quoistiaux

Author of the book “Say, what are cryptocurrencies?”

The author recalls that in the bitcoin blockchain, we find traces of the earliest known purchase using a cryptocurrency. On May 22, 2010, a day rose, later known as the Pizza Day. Someone ordered two large pizzas that day for 10,000 bitcoins, equivalent to about $ 40 at the time! A pizza is worth about 150 million dollars now… “I still think of this pizza maker who paid in bitcoins. I hope for him that he didn’t put 10,000 bitcoins from Pizza Day”.

Gilles Quoistiaux emphasizes that the story of bitcoin, the protesting, non-conformist side of it, appeals especially to the younger generation. Young people don’t dream too much of a bank. “A revolutionary digital currency shared by a global community of connected users, on the other hand, is a pretty sexy project. In terms of communication, bitcoin and its supporters have become strong.”

“The behavior of the cryptocurrency holder today is that of an investor, not a consumer.”

Philippe Ledent

Senior Economist at ING Belgium

In the preface to the book, Philippe Ledent, senior economist at ING Belgium, qualified for the statement. “Let’s remain objective in considering cryptocurrencies. They are not necessarily a revolution. On the contrary, their development finds a certain logic about financial history: cryptocurrencies are only in the stage of their time. Is it enough for them to have a future? The answer is not simple, “the economist replied. He also points out that the behavior of the holder of cryptocurrencies today is that of an investor, and not of a consumer.

So can you earn easily with bitcoin? Gilles Quoistiaux is a category: easy money is a mirage. “You always have to be careful of what glows pretty bright. “ But that is no reason to explicitly dismiss the cryptocurrency phenomenon. After all, the first traces of bitcoin only began in 2009. “Unlike you, bitcoin hasn’t celebrated its fifteenth birthday yet!” said the author to his daughter. “Bitcoin is a teenager. It’s normal for it to suffer from childhood illnesses. In the meantime, it’s now estimated that more than 200 million people in the world hold cryptocurrencies. ‘Be anecdotal! The promise of a new virtual currency exchange operating outside the traditional financial system is coming to fruition. ‘

So, of course, there are risks. Of course, there are scams. Of course, there are still many downsides to handling cryptocurrencies today, emphasizes the author. “But technology can improve. And regulation can be strengthened, to better protect consumers and users of cryptocurrency. It will take time.” It remains to be seen if one day children will receive their pocket money in bitcoin. The bets are open.

“Say, what are crypto-currencies?” By Gilles Quoistiaux. Preface by Philippe Ledent. Book Renaissance, 92 pages, 12.90 euro. Released on May 19.

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