This week featured interesting remarks from two of the most influential thought leaders in Bitcoin and the blockchain – Blythe Masters and Brian Forde.
During SourceMedia’s Convene conference, Masters, the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, observed that while we are in the early days of development for Bitcoin and the blockchain, similar to where we were with the Internet in the early 1990s, “[t]he potential addressable markets for these types of technologies are gigantic.” For instance, Masters noted that blockchain technology could transform the way we trade and settle transactions for stocks, bonds, and derivatives.
Meanwhile, Brian Forde from MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative, with whom I was privileged to spend time at the Blockchain Summit, spoke at the Atlantic Aspen Ideas Festival about how digital currency and blockchain technology could improve public welfare. Forde observed that these technological innovations could improve the efficiency and security of government services. He noted that the technology also could benefit underserved populations by, among other things, increasing financial inclusion for the unbanked, helping secure property rights, and protecting identity.
The week also included thoughtful remarks about Bitcoin from a more unlikely source – former Texas governor and current presidential candidate Rick Perry. In a speech to the Committee to Unleash Economic Prosperity, Perry offered his take on the causes of the 2008 economic crisis, predicted that another economic crash is on the horizon, and challenged Donald Trump to a pull-up contest. But in the same speech, Perry called for “regulatory breathing room for banking with digital currencies, like Bitcoin.” Perry added that “[d]igital currencies harbor the possibility of reducing the cost and improving the quality of financial transactions in much the same way that the conventional Internet has done for consumer goods and services.” Regardless of what one thinks of Perry’s politics, it is a milestone of sorts that any presidential candidate was discussing Bitcoin in the course of a campaign event, and perhaps even more significant that the candidate was encouraging a regulatory approach that doesn’t stifle the growth of the technology.
No word yet on when, or if, Donald Trump will offer his position on Bitcoin and the blockchain. Or whether he’ll accept the challenge of a pull-up contest. Time will tell, as the campaign, like the technology, is still young.