What will we collect in a world of entirely digital currencies? Better yet, will we collect in a world of entirely digital currencies?
The first answer is that numismatists will always collect the same things, which answers the second question: of course we will collect. Numismatists will always show our affinity for scarce coinage. The rare coins of our heritage will simply become increasingly valuable. Sought after rarities, and staples like silver eagles and liberty coins, will always hold the attention of coin collectors and stackers. As digital currencies take a greater stronghold in financial markets, these physical coins will become more rare and hold more numismatic value.
And what of the numismatic value of digital currencies? Physical bitcoins, like the Casascius coins of 2011-2013 have sold at up to 1.5 times their bitcoin face value. They, too, are developing the increased worth that comes with scarcity. This creation of value for the coins we can touch and hold makes sense, but what is the answer to the question with deeper implications: will we collect on the blockchain?
Researchers at Austin Lloyd believe that people will attach value - and increasing amounts of it - to anything we create. We ascribe to the philosophy expressed by Robert Hackett, that "...we are strange creatures, ascribing value to all manner of seemingly arbitrary items over the course of our history..." We revel in the nostalgia of what we have made and what we enjoy. Numismatists are some of the most passionate of all revelers in this regard.
Of course we will collect on the blockchain. There are myriad ways for digital coins to appreciate and be appreciated. Some of those are inherent to the currencies themselves, as Jamie Redman writes: "Bitcoin's traceability will increase numismatic value." However, the proof is always in the recognition and attention bestowed, so we look to the key players as indicators. The Smithsonian's inclusion of bitcoin and digital currencies in its numismatics exhibit is a fair predictor of the forthcoming numismatic value to be established within blockchain and digital ledger technologies.
We are certain that numismatists who appreciate bitcoin will find a way to collect in the digital currency environment. The interesting part for all of us will be witnessing how these developments will take place as the market changes. We look forward to participating in the addition of new realms in coin collecting.
**This article is #3 in the Series Coinage to Crypto from Austin Lloyd.**