Reaction: “Bitcoin Will Completely Change Real Estate Markets And Interest Rates”

By @scalatheagorist

The article by Leon Wankum – which I can only recommend – was published on November 6th in the Bitcoin Magazine.

At this point: Thanks to Leon for this article and your feedback!

Risk-Free Interest

A risk-free interest does not inherently exist (opportunity costs are always present everywhere), as the market interest is based, among other things, on the risk interest (as well as the natural interest and marketable term interests) and depends on various factors, including the risk of capital loss. Under a so-called hard money standard like Bitcoin, interest rates could indeed be higher, as the risk of capital loss with a limited asset like Bitcoin is higher than with a fiat currency managed by central banks. This could lead investors to demand higher returns to offset the increased risk. In the fiat money standard, the risk interest is merely redistributed and “compensated” through transformations. However, in the event of a default, investors still bear the costs.

The Assumption Regarding the Complete Replacement of Real Estate by Bitcoin

Relative scarcity continues to play an essential role in human action and has been illustrated in structures (investments) for centuries. This is also highlighted in the book “The Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century” by Mark Thornton, where various historical episodes are presented, demonstrating how people react differently and tend to make decisions to minimize their financial uncertainty. This is particularly evident in the decline of empires, often preceding the construction of significant buildings. Relative scarcity is a key concept of great importance in the economic and investment world. People tend to diversify assets to spread their risk and protect themselves from uncertainties. Therefore, both traditional assets and digital assets like Bitcoin are significant, as different individuals have varying preferences and views on how to best protect and grow their wealth.

There will always be a variety of assets, as long as catastrophic events do not occur (unless the earth explodes). Since people strive to avoid uncertainty, they will continue to diversify their assets based on their individual preferences. Therefore, I still consider both real estate and Bitcoin as indispensable assets. It is challenging to predict which assets individual people will prefer, as it depends on individual preferences. I continue to believe that marketability will not fully concentrate on Bitcoin, as people fundamentally pursue different approaches.

The Realistic View of a Bitcoin Standard, Especially Regarding the Assumption of Greater Efficiency and Productivity Under a Bitcoin Standard

I consider it unrealistic that the market would function under a Bitcoin standard (whatever that may mean and how subjectively it is considered), as various forms of interventionism and power structures have existed since the beginning of civil society. Even as an anarcho-capitalist (ancap), I find a completely free market unrealistic (presumably not the primary goal of anarchists). There will always be accumulations of power seeking to dominate others economically or militarily (kratic), as Stefan Blankertz also describes in his series of articles in Part 11, “Staatsgewalt am Ende” (State Power in the End):

Political struggles will be largely shaped by material conditions. Ideas play an important but not a primary role. A social movement needs a target audience that not only has ideological interest in change but also materially benefits from this change. Historically, various ideological currents targeted different audiences. Classical liberalism appealed to the bourgeoisie, which would benefit from freer markets. Classical anarchism addressed peasants, skilled workers, and craftsmen who wanted to shape their work and lives independently. Over the course of the 20th century, these target groups were marginalized and integrated. Poverty was sustained through state subsidies, turning the poor into willing voters seeking more state support.

The freedom movement must find new target groups that would benefit from freedom and still retain the desire for self-determination. These target groups must utilize existing freedoms and create new ones where self-determination can be learned. Focusing on socio-economic criteria such as income and education is less useful. Authority also affects those in power, and the interventionist spiral of statism endangers at least parts of the ruling class in their economic base, limiting their scope of action. This leads to an objective self-restraint of the system. A revolutionary movement cannot enforce this self-restraint, but it can exploit the situation and prepare the oppressed to seize the opportunity for liberation instead of submitting to a new rule.

Preparation for a revolutionary situation is therefore crucial. In times of crisis, people often look for short-term solutions, which often lie in authoritarian methods. A revolutionary situation tends to favor fascist reactions, where state power is unleashed. Bolshevism was one such fascist reaction. To ensure that the chance for revolution does not result in a renewal of authoritarian structures, a sufficiently large mass of people must know and desire the path of freedom. It is up to us to ensure that this mass is ready when a revolutionary situation arises.

Emphasis on relative scarcity and its impact on society and other social constructs; Illustrated here with the example of land and scarcity

The scarcity of land through artificial entities (the state) and the associated price movements depend more on relative scarcity than absolute scarcity. Absolute scarcity occurs when land is unusable or contaminated and cannot produce a harvest over an extended period. Speculators betting on commodities have always existed. These speculations can be considered artificial manipulation of scarcity indicators as they influence prices and natural interest, both positively and negatively, which must always be considered individually.

This is significant because there are differences in how people treat and utilize property, depending on factors such as land use and societal constructs. This can potentially lead to artificial incentives irrespective of state interventions. The assumption is that prices would balance or come to equilibrium based on preferences without state influence. However, this assumption is relatively unrealistic in today’s time, where all territories are governed by “leviathans,” especially concerning physical goods like land.

Mises’ concept of production structures plays a role here. Production structure refers to the combination of production factors such as labor, capital, and land to produce goods and services. The way these production factors are organized and combined influences the efficiency and productivity of the economy. In the context of the scarcity of land and its effects on how people treat property, Mises’ concept of production structure could mean that the way land is used and managed plays a crucial role in the economy. When land is scarce, it can influence the production structure by creating incentives or lack of incentives for different types of land use and cultivation.

Speculation on deflation and the assumption of a Bitcoin standard being questioned

The assumption that there will automatically be (price) deflation in all areas is not something I would emphasize either; it depends. It is similar to the assumption that there is a general price level. Prices affect people in different places, for different things, and at different times. Since I find it unrealistic that the entire world will transition to a Bitcoin standard, such assumptions can only be speculated upon if this actually happens. One could, of course, explore what happens when states introduce a currency backed by Bitcoin. In this case, one might initially experience inflation, which later translates into price deflation. Unfortunately, I still see the world continuing in the era of fiat currency.

Equally crucial is the role of banks and institutions that, in the medium and long term, eliminate malinvestments faster through credit deflation. Credit restrictions are intended to expedite the liquidation of malinvestments from fiat credit, thereby freeing up resources for sustainable new projects. In other words, the restrictions pertain to economic uncertainty and credit bottlenecks in bank lending caused by the Federal Reserve’s fiat money monopoly. Through credit restrictions, businesses must abandon unprofitable investments or projects more quickly. It becomes harder to obtain credit, freeing up resources for more sustainable projects. Then, the prices of production factors decrease, costs fall, and new projects become profitable. [1]

The assumption of the reduced significance of credit and financial infrastructure under a Bitcoin standard

The assumption that under a Bitcoin standard the importance of credit and financial infrastructure, including brokers, could decrease can be considered from a praxeological (economic) perspective. Praxeology considers human action as the starting point for economic considerations. In this context, it is assumed that the significance of credit and financial services is variable and strongly depends on individual preferences as well as prevailing economic conditions.

However, such an assumption contradicts the a priori principle of the diversity of human action. This principle emphasizes that people have different preferences and actions, leading to diverse economic decisions. In this sense, the idea that under a Bitcoin standard the importance of credit would uniformly decrease is too simplistic. Economic developments are complex and influenced by a variety of individual factors.

The act of lending exists already in countless business relationships and is a common means for building production structures. This does not imply that it is a sign of credit money. People, including banks, continue to function as debtors because there are interesting incentives, such as offering attractive interest rates to lend money. This could happen, for example, in the form of surrogates where loans are backed by assets valued in Bitcoin, creating attractive incentives for lending.