Bitcoin is the world's first fully decentralized, peer-to-peer (p2p) virtual currency. It allows users to make anonymous and untraceable cash transactions anywhere in the world without any sort of real-world intermediary. So unlike PayPal and other online services, it can't be squeezed in the same way by governments or other control agents.
Created in 2009 by a shadowy figure who goes by the name Satoshi Nakamoto, there are currently about 6 million bitcoins in circulation. That number will eventually rise, in regular intervals, to a total of 21 million by 2033. A money system without any sort of central bank? A currency whose supply increases at a steady and predictable rate according to a concept elucidated by the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman?
Just how revolutionary is Bitcoin?
Reason.tv sat down with Mercatus Senior Research Fellow Jerry Brito to learn how Bitcoin operates and what the implications are for traditional state-based fiat currencies. "Whether Bitcoin succeeds or fails is neither here nor there," says Brito, who predicts that currencies in the future will almost certainly be deregulated and decentralized—with or without governments' consent.
About 2.30 minutes.
Interview by Nick Gillespie; shot and edited by Joshua Swain.
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