Coined in 2014, hyperbitcoinisation is the voluntary transition from an inferior currency to a superior one, referring to Bitcoin becoming the primary currency in an area. As was the case with El Salvador integrating Bitcoin into its financial service sector in 2021, the world is slowly progressing to a more inclusive space for cryptocurrencies, inching closer to the prospect of hyperbitcoinisation.
In this article, we explore this concept and what is contributing to its progress in the financial industry.
What Is Hyperbitcoinisation?
There are three core ideas behind the definition of hyperbitcoinisation. The first relates to a gradual transition from an inferior currency to a superior one, while the second alludes to a tipping point where fiat currencies are no longer sustainable and are abandoned for the use of cryptocurrencies. The final definition sees hyperbitcoinisation as the swift and irreversible adoption of Bitcoin as the world's primary monetary reserve.
In conclusion, hyperbitcoinisation is Bitcoin-induced currency demonetization, it's intended not to disrupt the traditional currency markets, but rather to be used alongside them. It's the language of the Bitcoin maximalist, one who sees Bitcoin as the answer to everything (unit of account, store of value and medium of exchange).
Hyperbitcoinisation would require the price to stabilize, providing a more stable economy for transactions to take place. It would also require stronger regulation in the space to ensure the protection of the people using it. While the decentralized nature of Bitcoin is often a drawing point for investors, it will require an element of regulation in order to become a legal tender and considered to be sound money.
The Positive Factors Pointing Toward Hyperbitcoinisation
In order for hyperbitcoinisation to take effect a number of things need to occur. For starters, Bitcoin would need to be adopted by a strong network of institutions, main street businesses, merchants, public and private companies, ETFs, central banks, governments and regular investors.
From an operating perspective, the nodes on the Bitcoin network would need to increase substantially. Currently, there are roughly 14,000 nodes around the world with the main clusters in Germany, France, the United States, and the Netherlands. In order for hyperbitcoinisation to take full effect, the network would need to expand in both product numbers and globalisation.
There are currently an estimated 400,000 daily Bitcoin users and over 100 million people holding Bitcoin. While these numbers are impressive, they represent only a small fraction of the world's population. As Bitcoin gradually moves through from the Early Adopters to Early Majority stages in the technology adoption scale, in order for hyperbitcoinisation to take full effect we would need to have transitioned to the Late Majority and Laggards segments. This would indicate that societal adoption has peaked and stabilised.
On the note of societal adoption, it is estimated that collectively around the world countries hold over 250,000 BTC, while public and private companies own 414,000 BTC, and ETFs over 800,000 BTC. This indicates that Bitcoin adoption is creeping into government and company holdings as well as traditional investment vehicles.
While there is much to be achieved, these factors all clearly indicate that the ball is in motion.
The Negative Factors Contributing To Hyperbitcoinisation
The flip side of the coin shows which negative factors contribute to hyperbitcoinisation, namely central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and inflation.
CBDCs provide a strong current in the flow toward global crypto adoption. While CBDCs are not decentralized or true to the origins of cryptocurrencies, they operate in the same way and will drive populations to become familiar with digital versions of cash.
As more people become used to the concept, it is likely that they will incorporate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into their daily habits as these, at their core, are more similar to cash than the CBDC alternative. They are also less monitored and offer a greater opportunity for financial freedom.
Inflation on the other hand has already played a large role in the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Following the inflation-inducing stimulus implemented by governments during the Covid-19 pandemic, many investors and businesses turned to Bitcoin to protect their capital. By the end of 2021, countries around the world were experiencing the highest inflation rates in decades.
As people lose faith in their fiat currencies and turn to cryptocurrencies, as witnessed by the incredible gains seen across the entire crypto market, this only fuels the road to hyperbitcoinisation.
Monetary and economic transitions take years to be properly implemented, however, if the last two years are any indication of what's to come, hyperbitcoinisation just possibly could happen in our lifetime. While there are many, many factors that need to take place before it's even a remote possibility, the groundwork already established indicates that we're on the right path.