For those who thought that popular delusions and manias were a thing of the past, like the Tulips in XVII Century Amsterdam, not possible in the age of information and the knowledge economy, now we have two manias to prove otherwise.
The Pokemon craze has quietly waned, but the Bitcoin is now raging with the prospect of getting some official recognition by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). The first game consisted on searching hidden toys for pleasure. The Bitcoin consists on searching for a computer code hidden in a mathematical algorithm. But because the code is promoted as being money (a cryptocurrency) some people are getting crazy about the possibility of getting rich quickly.
So, will Bitcoin end quietly like Pokemon? Probably not, given the money involved.
Should the authorities do something about this madness? Some would say no, with the argument that people must learn from their own stupidity.
Personally, I would agree with that if the Central Banks had not been given the monopoly of issuing money. But since they have it, Central Banks are responsible to guarantee that the money in circulation is not false. So, I have denounced their inaction in this post.
Should the government do something about it? Yes. If, as most people say, Bitcoin is used regularly by criminals to hide their transaction and money laundering, then the government has a unique to opportunity to tax those criminals. Moreover, its quite easily done! It simply needs to tax any purchase or sale of Bitcoins against any legal currency or other type of asset by 50%.
So, what are Central Banks and Governments waiting for? To create a major financial crisis? Let’s hope not!