But Bitcoin shouldn't lead one to consider a world with even more currencies, but rather a world in which we all transact in a single currency -- one whose supply is fixed by mathematics, not by the random discovery of gold or silver mines or the penchant of governments to print money. The media has predictably focused on the two sexiest storylines: Bitcoin as speculative investment and Bitcoin as anonymous currency used by the illegal underworld. However, the debate that should and apparently does interest global policymakers from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke to Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China's central bank, is this: is the timeliness, need for and technological feasibility of a more efficient, more transparent, global currency close upon us?
The singular advantage of such a world is the inability of governments to surreptitiously tax their citizens via the printing press, buy real goods and services, and watch prices rise -- forcing those holding money, government bonds or other nominal securities to suffer a loss in real wealth and, thus, hold the bag.
Anyone familiar with current U.S. monetary policy might well wonder whether our country wouldn't be better served with bitcoins replacing the dollar. For the past six years, the Federal Reserve has printed vast sums of dollars to help pay Uncle Sam's bills, more than quadrupling the monetary base. This unprecedented reliance on the printing press to finance government expenditures has been dubbed quantitative easing. But what's really being eased is the obligation of Congress and President Barack Obama's administration to practice reasonable fiscal prudence. View Full Story