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由千禧一代打造的比特币泡沫
A bitcoin bubble made in millennial heaven

来源:FT中文网    2018-01-12 07:01



        There was a pattern to conversations with friends and family over the Christmas holidays. It went something like this: “Are your kids buying bitcoin?” before moving on to: “Have they convinced you to invest?”        圣诞节期间和亲友们聊天有一种模式。比如:“你们家孩子买比特币了没?”接着再问:“他们劝了你买点没?”
        One relative who graduated from university two years ago and was hoping to work in the restaurant business was now in the “bitcoin business”. A friend heard another tell of the small fortune her 24-year-old had amassed in less than a year of cryptocurrency investing and immediately asked for the young man’s contacts.        我的一个亲戚大学毕业才两年,以前他想从事餐饮业,现在却在做“比特币业务”。一位朋友得知这个年仅24岁的年轻人在不到一年时间里靠投资加密货币赚了大钱,马上就来询问他的联系方式。
        There were also a few people I met who were still struggling to understand the fundamentals. What is bitcoin in the first place, they asked, and how does it relate to blockchain, the underlying decentralised technology? One person ventured that blockchain was the casino and bitcoin the chips — an apt description since investing in cryptocurrencies is very much like gambling.        还有一些我认识的人还在努力弄明白关于比特币的基本原理。他们问,首先比特币是什么,它跟作为基础分散技术的区块链又有什么关系?有个人大胆地提出,区块链是赌场,而比特币是筹码——这一描述恰如其分,因为投资加密货币非常像赌博。
        My holiday conversations anecdotally confirmed a rather worrying trend that digital currency experts have noticed in the past year, as bitcoin swung wildly from $1,000 at the start of 2017 to a $19,000 peak at one point (and all over the place in between): millennials, and particularly male ones, are riding the speculative wave. So there might be many young men right now who can’t believe their bitcoin luck, but parents should brace for tears when the bubble bursts.        随着比特币从2017年初的1000美元一度狂飙至19000美元的最高点(并在这两点间的悬殊落差中摇摆),假期我和亲友们的这些闲聊从一个侧面印证了数字货币专家们过去一年注意到的一个十分令人担忧的趋势:千禧一代,特别是男性,主导着这波投机热潮。所以现在也许很多年轻男性觉得无法相信自己在比特币上的幸运,但一旦泡沫破裂,他们的父母就该流泪了。
        A few weeks before the holidays, a survey released by Blockchain Capital, a venture capital firm, found that while two per cent of Americans have owned bitcoin, four per cent of millennials — generally seen as those born between the early 1980s and the early 1990s — have dabbled or owned the digital currency. Among male millennials that share rises to 6 per cent. More than 50 per cent of millennials polled said bitcoin was a positive technological innovation and more than a quarter considered bitcoin safer than banks.        假期前的几周,风投公司区块链资本(Blockchain Capital)发布了一份调查,发现虽然只有2%的美国人持有比特币,但千禧一代——通常认为是那些上世纪80年代初到90年代初出生的人——却有4%投资或持有比特币。在男性千禧一代中,这一比例则升至6%。接受调查的千禧一代中,超过50%的人表示比特币是一项积极的技术创新,超过四分之一的人认为比特币比银行更安全。
        There are of course big investors who are digital currency evangelists, arguing that the ecosystem is the biggest technological breakthrough since the creation of the internet. Some predict that a few of today’s blockchain-related companies could turn out to be massive winners like Google or Amazon.        当然有些大投资者是数字货币的传道士,认为数字货币生态体系是自互联网诞生以来最伟大的技术突破。有些人预测,当今几家与区块链相关的公司可能会成为像谷歌(Google)或亚马逊(Amazon)一样的大赢家。
        But what attracts millennials in particular to cryptocurrencies? First, there is the lack of memory: If you are in the 18 to 34 age group, you were either a baby or at most a teenager during the dotcom bubble of the 1990s and would not recognise the parallel with bitcoin mania.        然而是什么让千禧一代对加密货币特别感兴趣呢?首先是缺乏记忆:如果你的年龄在18到34岁间,那么在上世纪90年代的网络泡沫时期,你要么刚出生,要么充其量也就是个十几岁的孩子,所以你并不会认识到比特币狂热与当年有何相似之处。
        Just as today businesses have taken to broadcasting their blockchain ambitions, and basked in the resulting investor enthusiasm, so companies back then would add “.com” to their names and see their stock prices soar to extraordinary heights.        当今的企业将自身的区块链野心昭告天下,并陶醉于由此激发的投资者的热情,与此相仿,那时的企业会给自己的名称后面加上“.com”,然后坐观他们的股价疯涨。
        Second, there is, possibly, a cultural element. Owning a currency that could be worth something or nothing depending on the day may be another reflection of youthful rebellion. For some, the fact that cryptocurrencies are highly risky investments that are not subject to any regulation (and that regulators are warning against) is an attraction, not a deterrent. Young people blame all those advising them against digital currencies for the fact that they are worse off than their parents. In the US, fewer millennials own homes than previous generations, and even fewer are out-earning their parents when they were the same age. As university tuition fees have soared, millennials also enter the job market burdened with massive debt.        第二,可能有一种文化因素。拥有一种实时变化的或有价值或一文不值的货币也许是年轻人叛逆的另一种体现。对有些人来说,加密货币是一种不受任何监管限制(并且监管者正在针对其发出警告)的高风险投资,这本身就是种吸引力,而不是吓退他们的危险。年轻人把自己境况不如父母归咎于所有那些反对数字货币的人。在美国,千禧一代中拥有住房的比例低于上一辈人,比父母在他们这么大时挣钱更多的比例则更低。随着大学学费飞涨,进入就业市场的千禧一代往往背负着巨额债务。
        And yet, as tempting as it is to find logic in young adults’ bitcoin fever, one young man who graduated from a US college last year and now writes a newsletter about cryptocurrencies offers a more mundane explanation. “Young people like myself have little money to invest so they’re more likely to invest in something that has the potential to see massive returns,” says Matteo Leibowitz. “Not having a family to feed or a mortgage to pay, we can take these riskier bets.”        然而,尽管人们很想挖掘年轻人比特币热的内在逻辑,但去年从美国一所大学毕业、现在撰写加密货币通讯的一位年轻人提供了一个更普通的解释。“像我这样的年轻人没什么本钱去投资,所以他们更可能去投资有机会获得巨大回报的东西,”马提欧•莱博维茨(Matteo Leibowitz)说。“我们不用养家或还贷,所以能够承担这些风险较大的赌博。”
        Then there is, he adds, that other youth obsession: Fomo, or the fear of missing out, which creates classic bubbles. Blockchain fever spreads very quickly. “As soon as you hear one friend who’s made an amount of money in that space, you’re likely to follow. That is absolutely Fomo.”        他补充道,还有一种年轻人的执念:错失恐惧症,或害怕错过的心理,这种心态是泡沫的始作俑者。对区块链的狂热飞速蔓延。“一旦你听说一个朋友在上面赚了点钱,你就很可能跟风。这纯属错失恐惧症作祟。”
        roula.khalaf@ft.com        译者/何黎
                
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