As is the case with many people in our industry, I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently to Bitcoin. When ever I run into something new, or puzzling, I try to find comparisons to help me understand it. And comparisons abound in Bitlandia. Many people compare it to the Internet, in terms of significance. To cash, of course, in terms of its “I give it directly to you” attributes. Some of my colleagues like the comparison to a bank’s ledgers. And many compare it to gold, to tulips, etc.
But I think one of the more intriguing angles is to compare it to the introduction of the printing press. (And no, I’m not talking about people printing money!) The printing press freed the written word from the control of the clergy, and let the masses have direct access to books, to the Bible, to politicians’ screeds. Bitcoin has the potential to free money from the control of bankers, central and otherwise. I think that is staggering. I’m not entirely sure it is a good thing: after all, in my heart I’m still a banker. But if allowed to develop, it certainly would be a big thing.
Wences Casares said on WSJ Digits yesterday that he thought the value of one Bitcoin might reach a million (or a half million) dollars by the end of the decade. I sure hope so: I own one. I may just revise my retirement plan.
Let me know what you think.
This post was written by Glenbrook’s Carol Coye Benson.