“U.S. Isn’t Going To Ban Bitcoin,” Says Renowned Financial Historian Niall Ferguson

Recently, renowned financial historian Dr. Niall Ferguson wrote about Bitcoin as part of an article about the future of money.

According to the bio on his website, Ferguson is currently the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution (part of Stanford University), which is “a public policy think tank promoting the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom.”

He is also a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, and a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing.

Ferguson, who was named in 2004 as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, has taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard.

In 2008, he published the book “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World“. This was later adapted for television as a five-part documentary that won the 2009 International Emmy award for Best Documentary.

Ferguson’s most recent comments about Bitcoin appeared in an op-ed piece for Bloomberg that was published yesterday (April 4).

Here are a few highlights from his article:

  • The reasons for Bitcoin’s success are that it is sovereign (no one controls it, not the ‘whales’ who own a lot, and not the miners who mine a lot), scarce (that 21 million number is final), and — above all — smart.
  • My $75,000 target price back in 2018 (assuming that every millionaire would one day want 1% of his or her portfolio in XBT) now looks a bit conservative.
  • Allen Farrington argues that Bitcoin is to the system of fiat currencies centered around the dollar what medieval Venice once was to the remnants of the western Roman Empire, as superior an economic operating system as commercial capitalism was to feudalism.
  • Although Bitcoin currently looks to outsiders like a speculative asset, in practice it performs at least two of the three classic functions of money quite well, or soon will, as adoption continues. It can be (like gold) both a store of value and a unit of account.
  • Bitcoin is not an ideal medium of exchange precisely because its ultimate supply is fixed and not adaptive, but that’s not a fatal limitation. In many ways, it is Bitcoin’s unique advantage.
  • … Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as a great many other digital coins and tokens, are stateless money. And the more they can perform at least two out of three monetary functions tolerably well, the less that banning them is going to work — unless every government agrees to do so simultaneously, which seems like a stretch. The U.S. isn’t going to ban Bitcoin, just tax it whenever you convert bitcoins into dollars.
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