Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that have no equivalent in the real world. So with bitcoins there are no banknotes or coins, only the data in the blockchain. Supporters of cryptocurrencies platform like bitcoin360ai Deutsch therefore keep comparing Bitcoin with traditional fiat money.
Fiat money – what is it?
The fiat money that you use today as a matter of course to buy things, conclude mobile phone contracts or pay rent, has no intrinsic value. The banknote is basically just a piece of paper with which you can do very little at first.
In contrast, there is money that actually has an intrinsic value. This form of money is also called commodity money because it has real value, similar to a commodity. Examples of commodity money are the gold coins, which were widespread until the early modern period. A gold doubloon was actually worth its weight in gold, simply because gold is a rare precious metal.
Where does fiat money get its value from?
If the fiat money you use today is actually worth nothing in contrast to commodity money, the question arises: why can you then use it to pay? Above all, this has to do with trust. You believe that money is worth something and trust that everyone else believes in it too. Ultimately, this trust is not simply based on goodwill but on hard facts. Specifically, the central bank, which issues the money and ensures the value of the currency.
In addition to this trust in stability, the value of today’s money depends on its usefulness. This means that money is recognized as a means of payment.
Are bitcoins fiat money or not?
On the internet one often reads about the contrast between cryptocurrency and fiat money. In reality, however, this is not correct, since cryptocurrencies are also fiat money. Strictly speaking, bitcoins are almost the ideal fiat money. They basically only consist of data and really have no intrinsic value at all. In the case of paper money, one could still cite the intrinsic value of the paper, but this value also does not apply to cryptocurrencies, since these are only blocks of data in digital space.
Of course, this does not mean that bitcoins are worthless. But they are only worth something because people believe in them and expect that they can buy something with the bitcoins. As long as this cycle works, bitcoins can fulfill the above functions of a currency and can be used as a means of payment. Just like the fiat money that you are already using.