Bitcoins and the Future of Currencies


I tried to find a TED talk that related to Paper 2 topic, but I was not able to find anything. In my search though I found a headline that caught my attention. It was a talk by Paul Kemp-Robertson titled “Bitcoin. Sweat. Tide. Meet the Future of Branded Currency.” Bitcoins have been in the a lot recently and have continued to grow in popularity as well as in creditability. To me, Bitcoins are fascinating and the concept of them is pretty unbelievable.

Kemp-Robertson’s talk was actually less about Bitcoins themselves, but rather about alternate forms of currencies. He believes that the rise of Bitcoins is caused by a general lack of trust in governments. He mentions statistics that show people nowadays trust business executives more than their own government and that 45% of people between the ages of 25 and 35 trust independently issued currencies. With this amount of young people trusting currencies like this and with everything moving digitally nowadays, it hard not to imagine that the future of currencies will move from physical objects to everything being digital. He also goes to talk about the impact of other types of independently issued including Starbucks points and Nike’s sweat points. He even talks about how drug dealers are accepting the detergent Tide as a form of currency. They have been calling it “liquid gold.” It is just interesting to see how as long as people have a perceived value of something it can be used as currency and with the move to the digital age I believe all currency will move into it as well.

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7 comments on “Bitcoins and the Future of Currencies

  1. I feel like companies that distribute points and other incentives do so to try and lure in more profit. You need to buy a certain amount to get points and rewards, so you are just giving them more money to get a prize of some sort. I don’t know if this system will ever overrun our cash currency, at least not in the near future.
    The Tide detergent bartering system you mentioned is so strange to me. I guess it makes sense that value is traded for value, but that just feels outdated. Bartering was replaced with currency so long ago. I personally usually prefer cash and the option to determine what I want to spend that value on.
    I think the point you make is valid though, if everything we do is slowly becoming digital, will all forms of currency soon be this way too?

  2. I think that we’re definitely moving in more of a digital direction. Companies are making more and more transactions digitally and I’d imagine that consumers will move in the same direction. J.P. Morgan, for example, has its many billions of dollars in cash all stored digitally and it makes its transactions digitally. If the company needed physical cash for a transaction, it got it from somewhere else.

  3. I think that you have brought up a powerful issue as we see our country slip into default. That means that we really can’t be fully confident in the US dollar anymore. Which is scary. This is happening all around the world, and for example, a US treasury bond with a negative interest rate just gives me no confidence. I think it is interesting to move it digital, and frankly a remote, electronic platform where your currency isn’t tied up in any specific government. I do know that the bitcoin was used on the underground black market called Silk Road that was recently shutdown by the cops. Are we comfortable with this essentially untraceable currency that grew from an underground market? I’m not, but if there were a new and solidified digital currency that was generally accepted by the world, it would work.

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