I posted this on reddit last week but thought I would post it here too, I’ve made a couple of changes to the original. http://www.reddit.com/r/peercoin/comments/1wdthh/how_peercoin_fares_better_than_bitcoin_against/
Bitcoin and similar communities always seem to get extremely defensive whenever a dissenting opinion on digital currencies is raised by an economist. Fortunately, Peercoin appears to come out quite positively (I think) when put up against the criticisms most commonly associated with Bitcoin. I’m far from being an expert, but below I’ve summarised some of Paul Krugman’s arguments and explained how they might relate to Peercoin. I’m sure there are mistakes so let me know what you think.
Criticism #1 - Bitcoin is deflationary. “Inflation” is a dirty word in the Bitcoin community, who think that that Bitcoin’s deflationary aspects are revolutionary. However, Krugman argues that inflation itself isn’t a problem, but rather the manipulation by governments and hyperinflation. Krugman points out why he doesn’t believe these are actually things to be worried about at all: “Yes, Weimar. Also Zimbabwe. And, in recent decades, who else? Actually, nobody. The real track record of fiat currencies is that most of them are run responsibly except in the aftermath of political chaos. If you look at the actual facts, you discover that episodes of high inflation have become quite rare, even though nobody is on the gold standard or (except in the euro area) anything like it.”
How it relates to Peercoin: Peercoin’s Proof of Stake minting allows users to effectively earn interest (or “mint” new coins) at a rate of 1% per year, giving Peercoin a theoretical inflation rate of 1% per annum. The actual rate of inflation may be lower due to the fact that not everybody would be constantly minting coins, and also as a result of the destruction of coins as transaction fees. Either way, Peercoin is neither deflationary nor hyperinflationary. And of course, since Peercoin is decentralized, there is no possibility of any manipulation by a centralized authority.
Criticism #2 – Bitcoin is more a political movement than a currency. Krugman says: “One thing that happens when you try to have a rational discussion of Bitcoin, gold, and/or other libertarian causes is that you get a lot of cynical remarks about government (which is one of the clues that this is, to an important extent, about politics)” and later… “So, again, the notion that governments can’t be trusted with the printing press sounds cynical and realistic, but it’s actually a fantasy, probably brought on by reading Ayn Rand instead of Tolkien.” This is a legitimate point, especially considering /r/bitcoin even has links to libertarian, anarcho-capitalist and Austrian economics subreddits in its sidebar.
How it relates to Peercoin: While Bitcoin is largely influenced by Libertarianism, the Peercoin community also has elements of humanism, and is arguably more “left wing” than Bitcoin. Unlike Bitcoin though, there is no “foundation” or lobbying groups. Its design was not mostly influenced (as far as I know) by political ideology, but rather as an effort to eliminate the concerns regarding Bitcoin’s long term scalability and security.
Criticism #3 – Bitcoin is not a stable store of value. Krugman says: “It remains completely unclear why Bitcoin should be a stable store of value”, before going on to explain how gold and dollars etc. have intrinsic value which makes them a reliable store of wealth. Bitcoin proponents would argue that trust in the cryptography and the protocol is what gives it intrinsic value.
How it relates to Peercoin: Admittedly, Peercoin does suffer from similar problems to Bitcoin in this regard. However, Peercoin has taken further steps than Bitcoin to counteract this issue. The proof of stake minting encourages long term investing, thereby reducing volatility. The higher transaction fees have a similar effect.
Criticism #4 – Bitcoin mining is a waste of resources. Krugman argues: “The whole concept of having to “mine” Bitcoins by expending real resources amounts to a drastic retrogression” and later… “And now here we are in a world of high information technology — and people think it’s smart, nay cutting-edge, to create a sort of virtual currency whose creation requires wasting real resources in a way Adam Smith considered foolish and outmoded in 1776.” Of course, Krugman isn’t the only person to make this point. There have even been articles on this from Bloomberg and Forbes.
How it relates to Peercoin: This is obviously one of Peercoin’s huge strengths. Its use of a Proof of Stake hybrid instead of solely Proof of Work results in a vastly reduced energy requirement. As the Peercoin network grows, this energy consumption will reduce even further, saving potentially billions (yes, billions!) of dollars’ worth of electricity in the long term compared to Bitcoin. The fact that Peercoin is so much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than Bitcoin really deserves much more recognition, in my opinion.
So that’s it! I’m sure Paul Krugman has never heard of Peercoin and probably doesn’t care, but if he did maybe he might think that it is slightly less “evil” than Bitcoin