For those of you not entirely sure what cryptocurrencies are, they're designed to be a decentralized system of currency run entirely by a new technology called blockchains. The idea is to make a currency valued solely by the users of it which leads the value of said currency to depend heavily on how the users choose to accept it. Seem difficult? It can be.
However I think it's important to remember this is how currency came to be in the first place. Even before paper currency there were resources that were warred over. One such currency is common and in great quantity in the average household. What could that currency be? Salt.
The value of salt was determined by it's uses in food preservation, as well as it's perceived scarcity at times. It wasn't until salt became common that we turned to other valuables as currency such as gold, precious metals, and even other resources like oil(current global trade standard). So what does the future of currency look like as society advances? That really all depends on how cryptocurrencies are handled in the coming years.
Where does that leave us now? Although I know many people cringe at the thought of it, Universal Basic Incomes are definitely on the plate for debate worldwide. Will a universal income really mean you can buy anything with that money? Or will it be specialized programs like EBT and housing assistance?
How will giving everyone money, for fun or bills, effect local economies? Would it be a better idea to have multiple currencies based on the market a person wishes to engage in? Personally I wouldn't feel right spending a universal income on anything other than basic needs like housing, food, and transportation.
Have we had an honest discussion of using cryptocurrencies for Universal Basic Income? It may not be widespread in media yet, but we are discussing it. Let's assume for a moment that we created a UBI currency using a cryptocurrency system that can only be used for basic needs. Wouldn't it be safe to assume we would have some kind of currency in place for non-necessities like art, games, media, toys and entertainment?
How would an individual become "rich" in such a society? Working and distributing their own craft.
As ludicrous as it sounds, there will come a time when humanity will value individual creativity and production much more highly than day to day menial labor. Automation will leave many people without jobs, and we can and should automate any job that we possibly can. What we need to figure out is how not having a job will not leave people without the ability to survive.
So would we not create a whole new dynamic in culture and how we value work, if the amount of things a person creates directly influences their personal wealth? Would a person with a nicer house and more toys not lead to the assumption that the person works incredibly hard for it? Or would we still have those who coast on the wealth and work of others?
There's no doubt manipulation of markets and shady dealings will still happen(and no doubt will happen regardless of how good a system is), but the majority of humanity could feel like their personal wealth has more to do with their direct effort in providing value to those around them.
Take it from someone who sweats and multitasks all day for very little money or appreciation - the amount of work we do in our current culture does not translate to well being or standard of living. I also know I'm far from the only person who feels this way. I'm sure there are plenty of people who could get behind automating their job so they can chase their own passions(and make a living doing it).
Perhaps segmenting our currencies will lead to an unexpected level of prosperity for all, and not just those who have learned to exploit a broken social and economic system. These craft currency systems could be established through cryptocurrencies, and would be much more efficient to be decentralized, even if a UBI is a centralized agency.
So the question still remains: How will humanity take it's next step into economic and social freedom for all? Will it be through inefficient centralized fiat currencies? Or will we once again as individuals place the value of money ourselves? Only time, and great effort, will tell.