“The Future is Bitcoin” panel at Freedom Fest was standing room only. People dragged chairs in and squeezed into the conference room to hear the panelist talk about the world’s newest currency.
[Full disclosure: I have not studied Bitcoin and I do not understand it. How can people who complain about a fiat currency like the dollar tell me that some imaginary internet based “quanta” is the wave of the future? JMHO.]
The panel consisted of four panelists and a moderator who were all familiar with Bitcoin. George Gilder, famed economist and author of “Wealth and Poverty” among other books; Jeffery Tucker, founder of liberty.me; Perianne Boring, founder of Bitcoin consulting firm; and Jeff Berwick, author of the Dollar Vigilante. The moderator was Naomi Brockwell, also a Bitcoin enthusiast.
One recurring theme was that the dollar is on the decline and the future is a decentralized monetary unit. One selling point of Bitcoin is that it is more economical for business to use it in transactions than traditional currency. Boring, who left Capitol Hill to advise and consult with businesses on all matters Bitcoin offered impressive statistics to this fact.
Tucker discussed how fast Bitcoin has spread since its creation (or should I say introduction) in 2009 as a testament to the ingenuity of the free market. He explained that people’s pent up innovation went from a Model-T to a Maserati in light speed. Bitcoin is a trustless system that does’t require third party verification, thereby cutting out governments, he told the crowd.
Berwick was the most cynical of all the panelists, confidently asserting we are seeing the last days of the dollar. He joked and said that right now in the world, there are scores of 14 year old boys furiously coding to free the world from centralization.
Not all the panelists were as fatalistic about the fate of the dollar. Gilder didn’t see Bitcoin affecting the dollar, so he told an audience member with a question about how the decline of the dollar would affect purchasing Bitcoin.
The interest in Bitcoin was clear not just from the attendance or from the number of people who jumped to their feet to ask the panel a question but from the number of people who raised their hands when the moderator asked who owned Bitcoin.
One thing all the panelists agreed on was that the media is biased against Bitcoin, an issue they said was illustrated in the coverage of high profile news stories involving Bitcoin like Silk Road.