Lyn Alden is a macroeconomist and investment strategist. In this interview, we discuss currency crises, the history of money, the properties of good money, and whether Bitcoin can usher in a new era of programmable, commodity money.
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What is money? We are taught to critically question and evaluate the world around us. Yet, most people never query the essence of what is perhaps civilisation’s most important tool. We readily accept the money we have and use it without examining its history, characteristics, or whether it could be improved and changed.
We are living through extraordinary times. The world around us is in flux: established norms are being upended. Yet, the most extraordinary change is occurring without, arguably, the fanfare it deserves. Money is changing. A viable alternative to fiat currency has taken hold. An open and free, censorship-resistant currency available to anyone with qualities that surpass previous forms of money is carving out its place as the future of money.
Coins and notes are examples of money we are all familiar with. Yet, shares, property, or in fact, any tradable item are also forms of money. We interact with various forms of money, and implicity utilise their attributes without proper examination. So, what are the qualities and features of money? Why do we use different forms of money? What is money?
It is only through proper consideration of these questions that the unique and revolutionary properties of Bitcoin become apparent. Bitcoin is much more than just a speculative digital asset. It seeks to be the best money ever invented, combining the benefits of gold, cash, and various contemporary stores of value.
More importantly, Bitcoin provides new features seeking to protect the individual in the digital age. Bitcoin may be much more than a useful tool, it could be a necessity.