The headline on Megan McArdle’s April 20 Tuesday Opinion essay asked an excellent question: “After eight years, the question remains: What’s the point of bitcoin?” In his April 26 letter, “Why bitcoin? Here’s why.,” Brian Forst answered that question by suggesting, among other things, “it provides a strong hedge against inflation, because its supply is finite.” That answer is questionable on at least two counts.

First, bitcoin is one among more than 5,000 cryptocurrencies on the market. Although bitcoin accounts for a large share of the value of all such currencies, entry by new cryptocurrencies means their total supply is anything but finite. Second, the contention that bitcoin is a strong hedge against inflation suggests that its price is relatively stable and/or can be expected over time to more than keep pace with inflation. However, like most assets, the price of bitcoin has declined markedly from time to time (e.g., from $19,783 on Dec. 17, 2017, to $13,800 on Dec. 22, 2017, and by 50 percent in early 2020).

As to keeping pace with inflation over time, there is certainly no evidence that bitcoin will accomplish that better or more cheaply than investing in any number of stock index funds.

Stephen Silberman, Arlington