Money is an integral part of how we interact with the world each day, from buying groceries to depositing our paychecks. Money is sent and received, but who creates it and how it evolved to its current dollar form and value today rarely gets a second thought.
The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the Unites States of America and is “arguably the most influential economic institution in the world.” While you may be familiar with its role in creating monetary policy, you may be unfamiliar with its history.
In this article, we’ll explore why the Federal Reserve exists, what its monetary policy entails, and how Bitcoin proposes to modernize its 100-year-old financial structure.
Why The Fed was founded
The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 in an attempt to quell American banking instability at a time when widespread bank runs and failures were rampant. The Bank Panic of 1907 exemplified the need for mandatory bank reserve minimums to ensure customer withdrawal demands could be met.
The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law by President Wilson and The Fed was established as a “banker’s bank” to regulate as well as oversee the monetary system. As such, it would determine whether new money should be “injected” into the country to prevent economic downturn.
How The Fed creates money
In order to fully understand how money is injected into the economy, we’ll begin with how the Fed “creates” it. In fact, the Federal Reserve doesn’t actually create physical money. It controls the money supply while the U.S. Department of Treasury is responsible for physical money creation. However, in today’s digital age, very little paper money represents the total supply in circulation.
There are several ways the Fed creates money beyond physical money. Imagine if you could create money by simply typing numbers into a computer. Sounds magical, right? That is essentially what the Federal Reserve can do. When the economy needs a boost, the Fed can initiate open market operations (OMO), buy Treasury bonds, use repurchase agreements, or create short-term loans to credit to the banks’ reserves.
Bailouts and the “money-printing” policy
Although the Fed’s raison d’être was “to serve as a lender of last resort,” critics argue that the Federal Reserve enables risky behavior by banks. The U.S. has witnessed numerous bailouts since the Federal Reserve was founded, most recently during the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2008, “firms and investors started to experience losses on home mortgage-related financial assets” after a period of reduced inflation. The Fed bailed out “large financial institutions, such as Bear Stearns and American International Group, Inc.” after they took “unreasonable risks” not unsimilar to those responsible for the Fed’s very creation.
Twelve years later, COVID-19 lockdowns led to a stagnant economy. The Fed Board reduced the legally required banking reserve ratio of approximately 10% to zero from March 2020 until March 2022 and took other measures to stimulate economic activity. When business as usual resurfaced, inflation spiked leading to 11 Fed interest rate hikes in 2023.
The gradual replacement of physical money has encouraged the Fed to become “much more technologically creative” since its founding. Practices such as fractional reserve banking, the credit market funnel, and loose fiscal spending increase the probability of borrowing beyond one’s means and have grown in usage across the globe.
While the Fed was formed to prevent economic downturn, the recent banking crisis and accompanying bailouts mirror the same events that led to the Fed’s creation. After 100+ years, could a digital answer to the digital age be overdue?
Bitcoin’s solution to money printing
Contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin was not created as a response to the 2008 financial crisis. Though its Genesis block was embedded with a secret message about the UK’s second round of bank bailouts, the foundation for its revolutionary “decentralized electronic cash solution” was in the works for decades.
The release of its first block and white paper is neither less astutely timed nor impactful. The world’s first cryptocurrency shed light on the fundamental problems of the current global financial system and presented a “new solution to a relatively new problem.”
In short, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto invented a fungible, permissionless, digital currency. Its decentralized nature offers global transfers without the need of a banking intermediary at a faster rate than historically possible. It negates the possible corruption of a central authority while incorporating an immutable ledger called blockchain. And finally, its limited supply of 21 million Bitcoin addresses the inflationary concerns that unlimited money-printing policy poses.
In its short lifespan, the price of Bitcoin rose from $0 to around $26,000 to date. Meanwhile the national debt reached $32 trillion this year and the debt ceiling was raised. While Bitcoin was designed to maintain value rather than as an investing vehicle, its potential for substantial growth continues to gain popularity with savvy investors.
Ready to start investing in BTC?
In the world of investments, every opportunity comes with its share of risks. However, Bitcoin, renowned for its dynamic price movements, can be strategically leveraged as a hedge against inflation. The good news is that you can harness this power within a tax-advantaged individual retirement account (IRA) tailored for Bitcoin with what is known as a Crypto IRA. However, it is important to choose a reputable Crypto IRA provider that offers robust security measures.
What sets us apart at BitcoinIRA is the comprehensive asset protection that we provide. Our cutting-edge solution includes state-of-the-art military-grade offline cold storage wallets1, powered by BitGo. This means your valuable investments remain shielded from any potential threats.
Elevate your investment strategy by diversifying your retirement portfolio with Bitcoin and over 60 other cryptocurrencies we offer. Your journey starts today. Sign Up and take that exciting step towards your financial future.
1.Security, storage, wallet providers, and insurance may vary based on asset chosen and custody solution available.