If cryptocurrencies are a bubble then they are up there with the greatest episodes of mass delusion in the history of finance. John Law, Charles Ponzi, Ivar Kreuger and all the great financial swindlers of history, eat your hearts out – if only any of you could have conjured up this one. And, in which case, all those little punters need to be warned and warned again; not that they’ll take much notice until it’s too late. If, however, cryptos are the future, then that’s sort of important, too. We need to prepare for the day when notes and coin are peripheral and central banks are shoved towards the margins as well. Trouble is, of course, no one knows which of these futures is more likely to transpire; not that it prevents many from having the strongest of opinions.
Consequently, every morning my inbox is stuffed with junk financial PR about cryptos. Take this morning, the Borse Stuttgart Digital Exchange tells me it has launched a mobile app for trading bitcoin, ethereum and some other cryptos. Simultaneously, a UK firm of financial advisers is offering clients a one-year bond that tracks bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and somehow it wraps that into a product offering high income. Don’t ask how. It doesn’t say and I really don’t want to know.