A professor at Cornell University believes that bitcoin can never accomplish all it has set out to do unless it manages to get past three big hindrances. According to Eswar Prasad, professor of economics at the educational institution, bitcoin still suffers from several flaws that are preventing it from being stronger than many of its altcoin cousins.
Eswar Prasad: BTC Still Has a Way to Go
In an interview, Prasad points to the idea that bitcoin mining is extremely expensive and hazardous to the environment. This is an argument we have heard time and time again over the past few months. Everyone from Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” fame to Elon Musk – the South African entrepreneur behind billion-dollar companies such as SpaceX and Tesla – have said that bitcoin mining is simply too dangerous for Mother Earth to carry on.
As a means of making themselves more appealing than bitcoin, Prasad says that many cryptocurrencies which came after BTC have looked at the currency’s infrastructure and worked to ensure their mining operations are nowhere near as energy driven.
For example, Ethereum has already implemented a new method of mining it is calling “proof of stake,” which is allegedly built to limit the amount of computing power necessary to extract new units from the network. In fact, according to the Ethereum Foundation, the process requires approximately 99 percent less energy than before.
That is going to be much less energy intensive, and it could deliver a lot of the benefits that bitcoin was supposed to deliver. It could also make transactions much cheaper and quicker.
Another issue he says bitcoin needs to solve is its anonymity. Many believe that bitcoin is an anonymous currency, though according to Prasad, this is not entirely true. To prove this, he points to a recent incident in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was able to intercede and prevent a bitcoin-based ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline. He says they would not have been able to do this if bitcoin was as anonymous as people claim.
The main idea of bitcoin… was to provide pseudonymity, but it turns out that if you use bitcoin a lot, and especially if you use bitcoin to get any real goods and services, then it becomes possible eventually to link your address or your physical identity to your digital identity.
In the long run, he says that Monero and Zcash are far better alternatives as privacy coins.
Volatility Prevents Its Use as a Currency
Lastly, he claims that bitcoin does not work well as a currency given that it is so volatile. He comments:
So, you could take a bitcoin to a store and one day, get a cup of coffee and another day, with the same bitcoin, be able to treat yourself to a lavish meal. That does not work well for the medium of exchange.