If the central bank is the supreme monetary authority, the head of the snake in the modern society’s centralized financial system, do we have to cut it off to reset the system? Cryptocurrency teaches us that we don’t. A parallel, decentralized financial system has blossomed, and there is no going back. That is at least what futurists, author Thomas Frey and Dr. James Canton of the Institute for Global Futures, think.
In a decentralized system, where there is no snake to fear, money is distributed without a central power. Volatile, and to casual observers mysterious, the cryptocurrency market keeps growing. Still lightly regulated, the market recently hit a new high. According to Business Insider, it’s value is in the neighborhood of $700 billion.
Time recently talked to Canton and Frey. They agree on one thing: the crypto market might be volatile, but cryptocurrency is too efficient not to stay. In fact, Thomas Frey predicts cryptocurrencies will displace about a quarter of national currencies by 2030.
“When people like [International Monetary Fund managing director] Christine Lagarde say cryptocurrencies could displace central banks and international banking, that’s very significant.”
Dr. James Canton of the Institute for Global Futures agrees with Frey, but he thinks the rise of cryptocurrencies illustrates “the legitimization of a new asset class emerging alongside the traditional global economy.” Likewise, Canton told Time that we can expect “an exponential increase of new investment vehicles to come from cryptofinance.”
There might be volatility in cryptocurrencies, but that doesn’t mean the concept will die or that crypto will burst like a bubble, at least according to Dr. Canton.
Some analysts have, however, expressed skepticism. Speaking to Bloomberg in November of 2017, hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz called crypto “the biggest bubble of our lifetimes.”
But what about the government?
As the New York Times reported, the IRS currently treats cryptocurrency like real estate. By that logic, comparisons to real estate hold water, and as Thomas Frey argued; selling crypto is essentially giving up digital property. At the moment at least, cryptocurrency is not something one would spend at a supermarket. Although the Internal Revenue Service should, in principle, tax transactions of digital assets, how can they, when cryptocurrency is essentially anonymous?
Furthermore, if money originated in the marketplace, why would a government entity have a monopoly on creating and distributing it? Famous libertarian and life-long critic of the Federal Reserve Ron Paul discussed cryptocurrency on his podcast, the popular Ron Paul Liberty Report, in December.
“The government, for its own reasons, monopolized the creation of money. Money originated in the marketplace. Let people sort it out,” Paul said.
And people are “sorting it out.” Governments want to participate, but a coherent strategy on crypto market regulation has not yet been created. According to Dr. James Canton, “too much regulation would be intrusive.” Either way, with or without government regulation, digital currencies cannot just vanish, Canto argued.
“The future of commerce will be shaped by the crypto supply chain, which will have less friction and more exponential value between buyers and sellers of all products,” he said.
If there is no central power to distribute money — in this case, cryptocurrency — then who has the monopoly on its creation? No one. Crypto’s value will be cyclical, Canton and Frey predict, but cryptocurrency is not going anywhere. The market won’t let that happen.