The economy is about the exchange of value, i.e., goods and services. And value mixes three components, and three only:
This is why 100 barrels of oil can be exchanged for a trade secret, provided that a market process allows for the transfer of ownership, preferably facilitated through a "currency.”
The great economic advancements of mankind have always been accompanied by major innovations in one of these three forms of value. Trade exchanges (bourse) and bills of exchange in the 13th century, coal and the steam engine through the 18th and 19th centuries, and oil, gas, electricity, remote transmission, computers and the Internet in the 20th century, to name but a few examples.
What are the major innovations in the making today?
The world of cryptocurrencies is a bit of a magical world, except of course for those already participating in the ecosystem. The king of this world, bitcoin, is the most volatile currency in history. Perhaps it is not a currency after all, but an asset, or even an illusion. But the conclusion remains the same, considering its size of about $600 billion: a value that fluctuates with 100% volatility.
The bitcoin has just collapsed, like the value of growth stocks or European and American government bonds. The market sends us a message – not a "Message in a Bottle," as The Police band famously sang in 1979 – but rather, a "Message in a Bitcoin.”