Opportunity cost, explained
Opportunity cost is a concept in economics that refers to the value of the next best alternative that is forgone when making a choice — i.e., the cost of the best alternative that is not chosen.
Consider the scenario when you have a limited budget and are debating between buying a new laptop or going on vacation. The value of the vacation you could have taken with the same amount of money would be the opportunity cost if you decide to buy the laptop. Similarly, if you decide to take the vacation, the opportunity cost would be the laptop you could have purchased with the same amount of money.
Everyone is gambling, all the time.
The “risk takers” have the courage to attempt something and gamble with the possibility of failure.
The “risk averse” avoid failure, but gamble with the opportunity cost of what they could have achieved—had they found the courage to try.
— James Clear (@JamesClear) February 23, 2023
Opportunity cost is a crucial factor to take into account when making decisions because it enables you to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of many options and come to the best decision possible based on one’s preferences and limits. By understanding the opportunity cost of a decision, individuals can better assess the true costs and benefits of the choices available to them.
Relevance of the opportunity cost concept in the crypto world
Opportunity cost is an important notion in the crypto industry because it is a highly speculative industry with large potential rewards and losses. The opportunity cost of hanging onto a certain asset vs. investing in a different asset must be considered by cryptocurrency traders and investors.
Consider a trader who made an investment in a cryptocurrency that has recently seen a significant rise in value. The trader can be tempted to keep the asset in the hopes that its value will rise more, but doing so prevents them from investing in other assets that might have superior growth potential. On the other hand, if the trader sells the asset to invest in another cryptocurrency that they believe has better growth potential, they risk missing out on potential gains if the original cryptocurrency continues to rise in value.
While miners choose what cryptocurrencies to mine based on expected profits and the resources needed to mine each asset, opportunity cost is also important in the cryptocurrency mining process. Miners can increase their profitability and prevent losing out on opportunities by weighing the opportunity cost of mining one cryptocurrency over another.
Related: What are the different ways to mine cryptocurrency?
Opportunity cost vs. sunk cost
Opportunity cost refers to the potential benefits that are foregone by choosing one option over another, while sunk cost refers to costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered. Opportunity cost and sunk cost are both concepts used in economics and decision-making analysis, but they represent different things:
A cryptocurrency investment that has seen a considerable drop in value is one example of a sunk cost. A person’s investment in a cryptocurrency becomes a sunk cost once they’ve made it; they can’t get their money back until the value of the cryptocurrency increases.
For instance, suppose an investor spends $10,000 on a cryptocurrency, after which the value of that coin falls to $5,000. The initial $10,000 investment becomes a sunk cost if the investor chooses to keep the coin rather than sell it. This is due to the fact that the money has already been spent and cannot be recovered until the value of the cryptocurrency increases. The sunk cost fallacy may be at play if the investor keeps holding onto the crypto in the hopes that its value will rise, which could result in greater losses.
Sunk cost in Crypto
You’re -70% on a coin.
You still have 30% left.
That’s 70% is gone.
That 30% could be better off investing somewhere else, rather than hoping the original investment bounces back.
— Edgy – The DeFi Edge ️ (@thedefiedge) February 7, 2022
The opportunity cost of using blockchain: How does it affect business?
Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the way businesses operate. However, using blockchain comes with opportunity costs that businesses need to consider. Therefore, companies must weigh the potential advantages of blockchain technology against the costs and trade-offs of deploying it before deciding whether to use it.
The greater security and transparency that blockchain technology offers is one of its main advantages. Blockchain offers a safe way to store and distribute data because it employs a decentralized ledger that is nearly impossible to compromise. Businesses handling sensitive information, such as financial or medical data, may find this to be very helpful. Also, the openness of blockchain can foster greater interparty trust, which is advantageous for companies operating in industries with a high degree of risk or fraud.
As mentioned, there are costs and trade-offs associated with using blockchain. The cost of developing and maintaining the technology is one of the major expenses associated with using blockchain. Blockchain technology is still in its infancy, and its implementation can be expensive. A blockchain network also needs a lot of computational power to be maintained, which can be expensive.
Related: 10 emerging technologies in computer science that will shape the future
Furthermore, the chance of missing out on alternative technology or solutions is another opportunity cost of embracing blockchain. Companies that aggressively invest in blockchain technology might miss out on chances to fund other cutting-edge technologies that might prove more beneficial in the long term.