Erik joins Peter on The Peter Schiff Show and discusses currency stability, bitcoin salaries, and “investing” in cryptocurrency

Peter: Joining our program now is Erik Voorhees. Erik is a writer, entrepreneur, a bit of an economist. He’s also an early Bitcoin adapter, used to work with the company called BitInstant. Now, he’s with the company Coinapult, which I’m sure has something to do with Bitcoin. Erik, welcome to the Peter Schiff show.

Erik: Thank you, Peter. It is a great privilege and honor to be here speaking with you.

Peter: All right, let me congratulate you on being one of the early Bitcoin adapters. I’m sure you’re sitting on a small or large Bitcoin fortune at the moment. The question is, what are you doing with it? Are you buying, are you selling? What do you do with all your Bitcoins at this point?

Erik: Well, I use Bitcoins the same way that anyone would use any form of money. I gather them when I perform services for people. I save them. I spend them on things and I use them for a form of savings and means of transaction. I receive my salary in Bitcoin, so yeah, I’m in it pretty deep.

Peter: So, you’re paid a salary in Bitcoins?

Erik: Correct.

Peter: What — is your salary fixed in Bitcoins? So if Bitcoins goes up, you just make more money or –

Erik: No, I mean –

Peter: Did your salary get adjusted?

Erik: As you Bitcoin is very volatile, so people that deal with Bitcoins just use a value in dollars for whatever your salary maybe and you just convert it into Bitcoin at the time of payment, so that makes it very easy.

Peter: All right, you just get — so you don’t have a salary negotiated in Bitcoins where okay, I’m getting 10 Bitcoins a week or one Bitcoin a week. You have a dollar salary and then when it’s time to pay you, your employer figures out how many Bitcoins would be needed to equate to that amount of dollars and that’s how much you get?

Erik: Correct, because it’s using Bitcoin as a payment network instead of necessarily as a currency.

Peter: Right because in order for — I mean, for it to be — in my opinion, for it to be actually, let’s say a currency, you’re salary would be in Bitcoin, it would be fixed. You would get your salary as 10 Bitcoins a week, whatever it is. And that’s what you would get regardless of whether the Bitcoins are worth $10,000 or 50 bucks, you would get — that’s what you would get paid, which of course is difficult because you can’t work under — yeah, you would quit if they went down, right?

Erik: Let’s say I worked for Euros, but my company paid me in dollars and just pegged them out at the time — at the exchange rate of Euro at the time of payment. Does that mean that Euros is not a currency just because I’m using something else at the time of the transaction?

Peter: Well, I mean most — I know a lot of people that do work in foreign currencies and if they’re getting paid in Euros, they get Euros. I mean they don’t have a, we’ll pay you a dollar equivalent. I don’t know anybody that works under that, because everyone I know that works overseas, they’re getting paid in whatever that currency is or they’re getting paid in dollars, but – and–
But the variability between the dollar and the Euro on a daily basis is going to be quite small. I mean if the dollar and the Euro exchanged by 1% against each other in a given day that would be a big move in the Forex market. Whereas, the Bitcoin market — I mean, Bitcoin just in last 24 hours, the difference between the high price and the low price is at least 25%. So you have much bigger variances in Bitcoins than you would with Euros or Yen or Dollars or Pounds or any of these other fiat currencies?

Erik: Yeah, absolutely. No one can argue that Bitcoin is not volatile, but what’s important is that it is becoming less volatile overtime. So three years ago, I mean, it would move in an order of 100% or 200% in a day very easily. Overtime as the market grows and as the base of usage widens, it’s going to stabilize, so it’s like a small stock is more volatile than a large stock or a small national currencies is going to be more volatile than a large one. Indeed, silver is much more volatile than gold because gold is a bigger market, so it’s the same kind of physical network.

Peter: Well, I don’t know how you necessarily can abstract that and think that there’s going to be less volatility in Bitcoin. I think that there’s actually going to be more volatility. I don’t think the volatility is just going to go away as the price goes up.
But what about — well, the main problem I think when you try to look at a Bitcoin versus gold because people are saying, well, it’s just a new version of gold. For hundreds of years, maybe more before gold was used as money, it was already used. It was an acceptable highly coveted valuable commodity that people wanted. It eventually became used as money because it was a more marketable commodity than other communities that were used as money in addition to gold. So, gold just became the commodity that was best suited to also be money, but it was first and foremost a commodity, a luxury good that was in demand all around the world. The thing with Bitcoin is nobody wanted a Bitcoin until it was invented for commerce. The sole purpose of Bitcoin is to use it as money, but it doesn’t have any value absent being a medium of exchange?

Erik: Right, so this I think is the point that I think is most bothersome to you and so, I think we should take a little time to explore this. What your missing when you say that Bitcoin has no value is that you’re looking at the Coin just as the currency unit instead of looking at the Coin, the payment network. If I was to tell you that I created a defense wide payment network that could send transactions between any two people in any size anywhere in the world without any government knowing about it or any fee or any counterparty risks whatsoever, would you say that such a system has no value? And then if I told you that that system only cuts link currency on it, called the Bitcoin unit of currency, very clearly, the Bitcoin unit of currency is going to have a market heights because there’s so many of them on that network.

Peter: Right, I would have two questions and for you to maybe — and you will have a break and you can come back and answer them. The first one would have to do is, if I accept the idea that the payment system has value and is an interesting or valuable system, there are no barriers to entry. There is nothing that prevents 5, 10, 100 alternative competing digital currencies that have the exact same properties as Bitcoin.

Erik: Uh-hum.

Peter: So, you could say that, yes, there’s –

Erik : Okay, so that — I mean –

Peter: Let me finish and then you can answer after the break. Because –

Erik: Sure.

Peter: You’ve got — you could have 21 million Bitcoins, but you can have hundreds of billions of other digital currencies that could circulate, that could go on a different network. And you never know, maybe at some point, the networks could all merge and you could have people that will say, I’m going to take payment in anyone of a hundred digital currencies, just like — well, are you going to pay in Visa, MasterCard or AmErikan Express. It could be Bitcoin or whatever other Coin you want to make up. So that’s number — my first part. And my second part is when you talk about there’s no costs in the transactions, that assumes that both parties want Bitcoins and only Bitcoins because if I wanted to use the Bitcoin network to buy something and I wanted to use it simply as a payment mechanism, but I didn’t have any Bitcoins right now, I had dollars and the person who is selling me something didn’t have — didn’t want Bitcoins, they wanted dollars or pounds or Euros or some other currency. By the time I take my dollars and convert them to Bitcoins, yes I can send the Bitcoins for free, but I have incurred a cost to by the Bitcoin. Now, the seller of whatever object he sold, now incurs the cost because now he has to take those Bitcoins and sell them and get cash ad now, what is going to be the difference between the money I spend to buy them and what they’re seller receives when they ultimately liquidate, there could be a big difference. There could be %5 or 10%, 20% difference. There could be a much bigger loss than a fraction of a percent or maybe even 1% or 2% that could be lost in international multicurrency transactions where the currencies are far less valuable than the Bitcoin. Yes, if the Bitcoin volatility eventually goes away, which is a big if then that might not be the case. But certainly today, given the massive volatility you can’t really use Bitcoins as a low cost payment system. So, Erik first of all, address my concerns about competition and barriers to entry.

Erik: Sure, so that’s an excellent point and it’s true that the Bitcoin network could be replicated in part by anyone because it’s open source code, so anyone can copy it and make a new one, but the problem with networks is that they require network effects. So there’s a reason that there’s only one email protocol in the world right now and when you send email to someone, you’re both on the same protocol. Anyone could take that protocol and make a new email protocol, right? But why are people going to switch? There’s no added benefit to switching. So, the fact that Bitcoin had to struggle with this network effects in the early days was a challenge, but now, it’s becoming one of its strongest attributes. Any of these other currencies –

Peter: But if –

Erik: We’ll have to offer something far more –

Peter: But there is a benefit.

Erik: Far better than Bitcoin in order for people to start switching.

Peter: Well, if you go to this website, coinmarketcap.com, they list basically 42 digital currencies. Bitcoin is –

Erik: Yeah.

Peter: The top of the list by marketcap, but I don’t know that — There’s all these other currencies that are already out there. I mean they might not — they may not be carbon copies of Bitcoin, they might have slightly different features. Some maybe are not as good, some maybe are better. I mean I don’t know. But one thing I would think of is that, people might look at, well, gee, Bitcoins are very expensive now, there’s a lot of risk, why don’t I just buy one of these other digital currencies that are still lower priced that might have a lot more upside potential. I mean, Bitcoin could be a victim of its success in that the more expensive it gets, the higher is the perceived risk and somebody might want to buy one of these other Bitcoin — one of these other coins that they can still buy for like less than a buck a piece and they hope, well, maybe that one will become the next big Bitcoin and that one might have the better chance of going from 1 to 100 than Bitcoin has from going from 1000 to 100,000.

Erik: There are a lot of silly speculators that would make that exact argument that Bitcoins are expensive, so I’m going to hop on to these smaller ones. What those people seem to forget is that the reason that Bitcoin is expensive is because it actually has the infrastructure that makes it that valuable. Bitcoin is the one strip of currency that has thousands of businesses around the world working on building systems for it. It’s been around for the longest amount of time. It has the largest mining network that keeps it secured. It has all the tools that the others don’t.

Peter: Well, it’s been around for — it’s been around for four years. I mean that’s not that big a jump and is it that much difficult to find a merchant. If I’m merchant — wait, if I’m a merchant. Well, if I’m a merchant and I accept Bitcoins, is it really that much hard? Is it really difficult for me to also accept Litecoins? I mean once I’ve made the investment and decided to accept Bitcoin, I mean how difficult is it for me to say, I’m also going to accept Litecoin?

Erik : It’s a great question. So, our company, currently what we do — we do some processing for various companies like this and we’ve had a couple of people asked us if we would start doing Litecoin. And while we’ve considered it and we probably would do it if the market demand was large enough, the inner structure is just not there. So, the tool that we use to provide services for Bitcoin, just don’t exist with Litecoin. Now, maybe they will in the future, but they don’t now.  Meanwhile, Bitcoin is growing faster than all these others because it has a network effect of all these people building it. We just aren’t dedicating time to any other because Bitcoin is the winner.

Peter: Well, it’s winning for now. I mean, we know that there are a lot of these earlier adapter first mover stories when it came to the dotcom space. And a lot of the first movers were first to go bankrupt. It didn’t necessarily mean just because they got there first, didn’t mean that they were the winner.

Erik: Sure.

Peter: There were companies that found out what they were doing wrong, they improved on it. I mean for example, I’m already starting to hear now about digital currencies that would be backed by gold, which would make them more of a legitimate currency, more of a replica of the original fee paper currencies that were backed by gold. And so, don’t you think that if now– if the whole idea about a digital currency catches on, if you have digital currencies backed by gold or backed by silver, don’t you think a digital currency backed by something real might have a lot more appeal to people because it would be a lot less risky than a digital currency that’s backed by nothing?

Erik: So, let’s — first of all, let’s not be scared of competition, right? If Bitcoin fails it’s because of different crypto-currency is so much better that it takes its place we all still win anyway. This is great for anyone that’s not speculating on the Bitcoin price as an investment, but that’s an inherently risky proposition anyway and no one is going to refute that. Regarding the matter of a gold crypto-currency, first of all, this has been tried twice, at least twice. First Eagle tried to do it, they were shut down and then Gold Money had a system where you could send payments of gold between different account holders. They had to shut that off because of regulation and Eagle was shut down because the governments don’t like decentralized payment or they don’t like payment systems that don’t use the banking system and they don’t use fiat. So any gold-based digital currency is going to be shut down because it requires backing, which requires a backer, which is counterparty risk and that counterparty will be shut down as soon as the system gets over a certain amount of size. The reason the Bitcoins are special and so amazing is that there’s no party that can be shut down as it grows. So, it’s free to grow all the way up to its potential.

Peter: Well, the government though, if the government wanted to crack down and I’m not sure that you probably — you might be able to come out with a digital currency that would be AML compliant then the government would be satisfied that you were — you were — that it was compliant, but if the government did want to crack down on Bitcoin, they could certainly make it illegal for merchants to accept it. I mean, certainly in the United States for example, they could say, you’re not allowed to accept them and they can punish them. So, they can certainly do that and they can look on the Internet, they can certainly find the traffic in BitCoin and they can punish people for using them or they could make it prohibitally expensive to use it. They can require all sorts of information and record keeping before you can accept a Bitcoin. So, there are certain ways the government, if they want to track, crackdown on Bitcoin. Bitcoin isn’t immune from government.

Erik: Sure, sure. But let’s remember this that when you’re talking about government, it’s not just one government, it’s not just the US government that controls the world, right? There are over a hundred different governments around the world that all have various policies. If the US takes a hard line stance on Bitcoin and actually tried to get it shutdown, there are other competitors in the United States that would be more than willing to allow all the innovation and technology and investment that’s going to BitCoin that comes to their shores. We’re already seeing that China –

Peter: The same thing –

Erik: It currently has the biggest Bitcoin market of all.

Peter: Erik, the same thing can be said for a legitimate gold backed digital currency. If some company in China were to launch a gold-backed digital currency, the US government couldn’t do anything to stop them. They could still launch it. Those notes could still circulate online. My point is that if you have a currency backed by something then you don’t have this situation where you would reach a handful of early adapters and then people could come in later take a tremendous amount of risk that the bottom could drop out of the market. If you have a digital currency backed by gold –

Erik: I think you got that backward. Peter, you’ve got that backward.

Peter: How do you mean?

Erik: The people that took the risk — the people that took the risk are the ones who got in early, the ones who started using this before anyone would give it any attention at all. They are the people who’d spent –

Peter: No, I would say the people –

Erik: Who spent their money, their time, who did all these work before anyone who was paying any attention to this. So now, it’s on every major news channel and everything and the benefit is clear. It has far higher infrastructure than in those other days and now, people are buying it. It’s far less risky now.

Peter: Okay, I don’t understand how you can make the point that the risks are lower today. Let me give you an example of what I’m thinking. So, let’s say four years ago, somebody put 50 bucks into Bitcoin. Yeah they could have lost the entire 50. I mean it could have gone to zero, they really didn’t know what was going to happen, but they took a flier on $50 and they put them into Bitcoins and let’s say now those coins are worth a million dollars, right?

Erik: Uh-hum.

Peter: If somebody were to buy those Bitcoins today for a million dollars, the Bitcoins that the seller paid 50 bucks for — even if I would agree that — I don’t think Bitcoins will go to zero. Maybe they’ll only go down 90%, let’s say. Maybe — I don’t think they can go to zero. But to put a million dollars on the line and potentially lose 900,000 compared to the guy taking a flier on 50 bucks and is the guy that’s putting in a million dollars, is it going to become 50 million or 500 million. I mean, you have to look at risk versus reward. Would people who are buying Bitcoins when no one heard of them and they were kind of obscure and it was like kind of like a punt and if it worked out you could make a fortune and if it didn’t, you didn’t lose too much. I mean maybe it was a gamble worth taking. My point is today –

Erik: Well, see here Peter –

Peter: You have to spend a lot of money on those Bitcoins.

Erik: If you’re suggesting that putting a million dollars into Bitcoin is riskier than putting $50 into Bitcoin four years ago, of course, you’re right. Spending that kind of money is going to be riskier than spending $50. But the more important point is, if someone put in $50 four years ago, is that more or less riskier than putting in $50 now. And I would say, it was far more risky to put in $50 back then because this is somewhat far less tested and developed. Now, it’s actually running –

Peter: But not if you –

Erik: It’s moving billions of dollars every single day.

Peter: But not if you weigh it in relationship to the reward. You might say that it was worth a $50 flier back then because of all the potential. Unless you believe, that the upside is still as great now that the appreciation potential is still there, that the guy that puts $50 in today can have a million dollars in four years unless you think — if that’s still possible, that it’s always a risk reward. Because you don’t know that –

Erik: What –

Peter: We now — go ahead.

Erik: Let’s change the topic a little bit because whether Bitcoin is a good investment or not is not really the interesting question and whenever I talk to people like David with an extremely risky investment, it could absolutely go to zero and the whole thing is completely experimental, right now. So I’m not here to say that Bitcoin is a good investment, what I’m here to say is that the Bitcoin payment network is one of the most important technology that has ever been invented and it’s important to understand that there is value in that technology. It’s important to understand why that technology is so useful for people especially for people who care about liberty around the world and if you understand that then you could realize that Bitcoin has some value. Maybe it’s 10 cents, maybe it’s a dollar or maybe it’s a million dollars, but the specific price is not importance. The importance is that simply in itself an understanding of why –

Peter: Well, I agree with you about that, but if you’re going to say that it’s money. See, that’s the problem. People are going to say that it’s money, that it’s an alternative to gold when the future value is so uncertain — I mean, yes, I don’t know with any degree of certainly what gold is going to be worth next year. I mean, I can’t know that, but I do believe it will be valuable. I don’t believe it will be worthless. I don’t think that chances — that it’s going to have no value. But with Bitcoin, the unknowns are so great that it can’t be money right now. You can only view it only as a speculative asset and then the question is, maybe it could be money in the future. Right now, it’s a highly speculative asset not — but we don’t know where it’s going to be. And I agree with you that there could be a lot of value in the payment system, but if it’s not proprietary, if it’s not protected by patents, if there can be hundreds or thousands of identical coins that are circulating around then the potential supply of digital currency is not 21 million, it’s unlimited. And if all Bitcoin has is that it was first — I don’t know — is Bitcoin — is it my space or is it Facebook or do we even know if there’s something else that’s going to out Facebook Facebook. I don’t even know that people are going to be using Facebook in 10 years. We don’t know.

Erik: But then again, let’s not worry about competition. Competition isn’t something we need to be scared of. The point is –
Peter: If you’re talking about limited supply, it is.

Erik: In winning the competition, but that’s because certain property that has. It has the largest network of minors, which means that it is the most secured network. If you care about the trust of the network then the fact that it has the most minors is very important and even though you can copy the code, you cannot copy that infrastructure. That’s millions or even billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure that cannot just be copied and pasted. So while the code is open sourced you don’t need a patent to protect the infrastructure because the infrastructure is real and cannot be reproduced easily. Does that make sense?

Peter: Well, how much is it? Well, how much does it cost — how much does it cost to create the infrastructure?

Erik: I mean that’s what we’ve spent four years building. I mean it’s been probably billions of dollars at this point and it’s in countless, countless hours’ worth of time

Peter: Well, billions of dollars –

Erik: Uh-huh?

Peter: How can — who spent — what do you mean billions of dollars? Who spent billions of dollars developing the infrastructure?
Erik: If you calculate all the time of all the entrepreneurs and all the people building the equipment and writing the code and all that stuff. I mean, that’s going to — that’s going to reach a billion dollar really, really.

Peter: But all of that infrastructure and all of that code can be used to support other digital currencies. It’s not like it’s — if from the start it from scratch.

Erik: Some of it, no.

Peter: We wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Erik: Sure. Some of it you certainly can’t, but not all of it.

Peter: Yeah, so we don’t know.

Erik: Again, I’m not here to tell you that Bitcoin is going to be the winning currency in the future and that it’s a good investment. I’m here to say that a crypto-currency is an amazing technology and if you just understand why that payment system is so useful then it won’t be hard to realize why there’s a value to any of these –

Peter: I just think — I think the ultimate way for it to win is to marry the crypto-currency technology with a gold backing, so that you digitally replicate the original paper money that was backed by gold. When they first came out with paper money, they didn’t just say, hey take — use this paper. It’s better than gold, it’s easier to use. It’s not backed by anything, it’s just a piece of paper, but let’s use it and we’ll agree to limit the amount that we print. What gave the paper money value even though it was easier to use than the gold that was stored in some vault somewhere, what gave it value is that people knew that gold was stored in that vault. They knew that they can always get the gold. It wasn’t simply depending on somebody accepting it. So right now –

Erik: What else?

Peter: What gives Bitcoin value — excuse me?

Erik: Who else can get the gold is the government. If the government doesn’t like what you’re doing, they can take the gold.

Peter: But you –

Erik: Gold having a [inaudible] property can be an asset sure, but it’s also a liability. It’s being grow a certain way. This is why Bitcoin is not going to [voice overlap].

Peter: And you’re telling me that there’s no way –

Erik: It’s just a great compliment.

Peter: There’s no way that the government with all their technology and all their computer power and all their capabilities, if they wanted to wipe out the Bitcoins, do you tell me now there’s no way that they couldn’t just wipe out something that exists? They couldn’t find a way to disrupt the internet or disrupt the code and do something and just get rid of it? I mean, it’s impossible to do that?

Erik:  How well have they done [inaudible]?

Peter: Huh?

Erik: How well have they done stopping file sharing from occurring?

Peter: Well, here’s the thing though.

Erik: File sharing –

Peter: In order to get –

Erik: [inaudible].

Peter: Yeah, but in order to get my drugs, right? They have to actually find the physical drugs. How do you they can’t come up with some virus that they could put into the network that’s going to search out Bitcoins and destroy them. I mean I don’t know, right? They said that Titanic was unsinkable, to say that well, the main benefit of Bitcoins is that government can’t screw it up. How do you know? I mean there’s one thing that government does well and that’s screw things up.

Erik: Yeah, that’s very true. I’m not — I’m also not saying that Bitcoin is invincible as that it will never fail and as I mentioned before, it’s extremely experimental, but that’s the point, this is a massive experiment to see if we can privatize money in a digital form realizing that if we made it a digital money that was backed by something, that is the essential point of failure and people have tried that. I mean Eagles and Gold Money already did this. It’s not [inaudible].

Peter: Well, I know they have, that doesn’t mean that they can’t get it right. Because the thing is, what you have to accept then is that you can have money without any value other than it’s being valued as a unit of exchange.

Erik: No.

Peter: I just don’t know that you can have money that has no value to anyone other than a unit. Because now I have people that are telling me, well, it’s no different than gold that there’s no such thing as intrinsic value. And in order to justify Bitcoins, you have to say that well, we never need anything. Money can just be a piece of paper as long as you limit the supply that as long as you put a finite limit on the amount that there is that anything could be money even if it has no use whatsoever or no value. Huh?

Erik: It’s not just the limit on the Bitcoin that makes it valuable. You see something that’s scarce doesn’t make it valuable, right? Purple-colored cacti are scarce, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re valuable. What gives Bitcoin its value is that is scarce and useful because it has the payment network. Once you understand the payment network –

Peter: Right.

Erik: If you’re ever interested — I mean before the show, Peter, I just sent 10 cents worth of Bitcoin to your email. I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet, but I sent that to you. You can’t send me 10 cents with a credit card or with PayPal because the fee will it eat it up. You can’t send me that with gold because A, a digital gold [inaudible].

Peter: Right, but I can only spend it –

Erik: [inaudible].

Peter: I can only spend it — yeah, but I can only spend it if the person who’s selling something wants those Bitcoins. If they want dollars then I’m going to have to go through a much more cumbersome process.  But the other point, Erik, is I agree with you that payment network and that system may have value. But when you say that it can be replicated and other companies can have it the question is what is it worth and are Bitcoins worth $1000 a piece or are they worth $100 a piece, we don’t know. You don’t know that answer to that question. They could be worth $10,000 a piece since we have no idea then at this point, anybody who buys it, it’s not like, hey I’m putting my money in the bank and I have a currency I can spend. I am buying a highly volatile asset that can collapse in price or may go way up. I don’t know.

Erik: But again [inaudible]

Peter: I still believe –

Erik: That’s an investment. You don’t need think of it like that. You don’t need to buy Bitcoin and hold them for you to get used out of the system. If you want to send some money to your friends in Argentina, you’re not going to be able to do that with most banking networks right now. But you could buy Bitcoins, send it to them and he could sell them in Argentina within about 30 minute.

Peter: Yes, but –

Erik: I mean that has a tremendous value.

Peter: But that’s — but that’s going to be more expensive potentially than in other means because the Bitcoin value can change 5% or 10% easily during that half-hour time period, so there’s a pretty big risk there in the market volatility. So I’m saying right now they don’t really work for that — for that purpose and what I’m afraid of is that you’re going to have a lot of the early adapters trying to cash out. A lot of people who got into the Bitcoin market recently are going to have a very sour taste to their mouth when they paid $1200 for a Bitcoin and now, they’re worth $200. They’re not going to want to buy anymore Bitcoins and all of a sudden, you have the big PR campaign because you just expanded the market and now, the newest customers are swearing off your product. And so it kind of stops the momentum. But look, hey, I really — I really appreciate Erik, you coming on the show and look, I appreciate everything that Bitcoin community is trying to accomplish. I mean it’s an admirable goal to get the government out of money and I want to get the government out of money, it’s just that we have to offer legitimate money. We can’t offer a fiat light with the free market, libertarian community should be wrapping its arms around would be a digital version of what the private sector used to issue as money before the government screwed it up, before the government came in with a printing press that private sector had paper money. And it worked because it was backed by gold and I think digital currency will work if it’s backed by gold whether it will work if it’s backed by nothing. This is an experiment that we will have to see how it ends, but even it does work, it will be copied. It will be replicated. There will be lots of Bitcoin clones out there, so what they’re all going to be worth in an interval — in a universe of multiple hundreds of competing currencies and maybe it will ultimately boil down to a handful that will survive, who knows? But who knows, what the individual unit will be worth, nobody really does.

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Erik Voorhees
Erik Voorhees
http://www.ShapeShift.io
Erik Voorhees, CEO of leading digital asset exchange ShapeShift.io, is among the top-recognized serial Bitcoin advocates and entrepreneurs, understanding Bitcoin as one of the most important inventions ever created by humanity. Erik's former project, the groundbreaking gaming phenomenon SatoshiDICE, was, at its peak, responsible for more than half of all Bitcoin transactions on Earth and popularized the concept of "provable fairness." Having been a featured guest on Bloomberg, Fox Business, CNBC, BBC Radio, The Peter Schiff Show, and numerous Bitcoin and industry conferences, Erik humbly suggests that there is no such thing as a “free market” when the institution of money itself is centrally planned and controlled. This blog is about the human struggle for the separation of money and state, and about Bitcoin as the instrument by which it will happen.

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