Bitcoin, Facebook and the End of 20th Century Money

Michael J. Casey is the chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor for blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative.

The following article originally appeared in CoinDesk Weekly, a custom-curated newsletter delivered every Sunday exclusively to our subscribers.

There is never a dull moment in the world of blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

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The two earth-shattering stories of the past two weeks – the launch of the Libra project and the wild swings in the bitcoin market  – might seem like unrelated topics. And, for the most part, the causal impact of the former on the latter is probably not much greater than that of another oft-noted bitcoin price correlation: the avocado chart.

However, the coincidence of these two developments does speak to how globally impactful Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention has now become.

From that wider perspective, these two developments are not at all unrelated. Indeed, they both capture elements of a massive, worldwide financial transformation, all happening at a time of growing economic uncertainty.

Bitcoin’s role as ‘digital gold’

Whether now or in the future, I believe the arrival of Libra, far from being a competitive threat, will be extremely supportive of bitcoin.

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Not only will the looming international debate over Libra elevate the conversation around cryptocurrencies and so draw more people into the most established of them, it also represents a major step toward the kind of world in which bitcoin should thrive.

Whether or not Libra succeeds, it confirms the inescapable reality that international money movements in the digital era will be based on blockchain-like solutions that disintermediate the existing gatekeepers and challenge the bank-and-sovereign money-dominated model of the 20th century. It also underscores how we are moving into an age of…

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