Crypto is a silly circus with serious consequences. But amid the hoopla about prices and bubbles and celebs, a group of technologists, investors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and dreamers are working on bringing about societal revolutions through blockchains.
They’re all convinced it will transform our lives - but how? Twenty-five crypto luminaries shared their thoughts via email. They are reprinted here lightly edited.
Kathryn Haun, ex-federal prosecutor & digital currency coordinator, U.S. Department of Justice; Coinbase board member
What cell phones did to pay phones, cryptocurrencies will do to ATMs and bank branches. As cryptocurrencies scale, people will use them for payments because of lower fees, less friction, and greater privacy.
Financial institutions that have historically provided trust will no longer be necessary to complete many transactions. This is already happening where people have no access to traditional financial institutions. At the same time, blockchains and decentralized networks promise greater security and accountability. One day identity and other records that can now be easily stolen will be put on distributed ledgers. It’s now cheaper and faster to FedEx a box of cash than to send an international wire. Cryptocurrencies are poised to change that calculus.
Erik Voorhees, CEO of Shapeshift
The original blockchain application, cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin), remains the most exciting and consequential. Cryptocurrencies will outcompete and displace government currencies. Centrally planned national monies will fade away, perhaps slowly like castles or all at once like slavery.
Cryptocurrency moves anywhere, instantly, at near-zero cost, and natively digital money will become fundamental to a digital, borderless internet-based society.
Governments will lose the ability to conjure money out of thin air. Budgets will derive purely from taxation and borrowing. Inflation will disappear. Prices will no longer rise each year. Bread will be no more expensive to a son than a father. Humans will again build upon an honest, market-based financial system, having escaped fiat currency debasement, the most egregious financial scam of all time.
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