their own either, most governments have sufficient power to ensure they are accepted as a means of exchange and faith in the government provides some implicit backing. They have value by government fiat. Obviously, thats just a rough back-of-the-envelope estimate. So if were ever going to create something better, were going to have to learn from what bitcoin does right as well as what it does wrong.
To go to the second point, how bitcoin has value, it doesn't operate like most currencies, in that there is no bank that can just print more money, instead it operates like a finite resource. If you remember the Yahoo Finance Message Boards back during the.com bubble, then the Bitcoin page on Reddit will seem very familiar. Bitcoin, sadly, has none of that going for.
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Unlike regular money, Bitcoin also introduces a dimension of programmability. Its a difficult question because the answer depends on what happens to the underlying Bitcoin economy in the coming years. A single Bitcoin can be divided into Satoshis. This Bitcoin, unlike fiat currency (which is backed by the force of law) or commodity-based moneys (which have some intrinsic value via use or beauty) is only of value because someone else will accept it, or pay more for it than what you bought. The real interesting question is whether Bitcoin could become a real thing with an important economic function. Bitcoin qualities compared with other currencies. Besides, Bitcoin is decentralized and can be used without middlemen, provides some level of transparency, can be accessed and used by anyone with an internet connection, is impossible to counterfeit and confiscate, and has other features such as programmability. At first, people used to barter until it became too inconvenient. And a dollar will more or less by you the same amount of real stuff (beer, rent, gas, etc.) that it did before all this.