Every few months the Bitcoin media sees it fit to repeat a similar meme: somewhere, in some distant third world land, are some millions of citizens oppressed by rapid inflation or outright theft from a corrupt government, and Bitcoin, being a superior unit of value whose value goes up, not down, can, or in the more optimistic cases already is, swooping in and saving the day.
In March, Cyprus was supposed to have a fully-fledged Bitcoin ATM allowing Cypriots to trade their euros for the internet’s new global currency. In June, it was Argentina, where the government is instituting strict capital controls and the value of the peso has shrunk by over 30% in the past six months. And, most recently of all, we had Iran – a country whose citizens were supposed to have all already flocked to Bitcoin in 2012.
The problem is this: the story that Bitcoin can protect the assets of the downtrodden is nice to tell when the bitcoin is going up in value, and indeed in March those Cypriots who had bought even a small quantity of BTC in the preceding year saw enough profits in the aftermath of the “bail-in” to make up for double or triple what was taken from their bank accounts. Now, however, for the past two months Bitcoin has been on a largely downward trend, and especially in the aftermath of the sudden 80% crash in April claims that Bitcoin alone can somehow protect these people from the evils of the Argentinian regime or the wrath of the European Central Bank seem silly, if not outright dishonest.