Audio: BBC BizDaily - Digital Currencies
Ed Butler (@EdButler2), the host of BBC BizDaily program covered digital currencies and interviewed British cyber-policeman, Mick Jameson, Bitcoin Consultancy’s Donald Norman and also Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis (@YanisVaroufakis). Excerpts:
"Butler: So basically you are saying criminals are all using [digital currency].
"Jameson: I think when it comes to the really high level drug traffickers, they [instead] trust cash."
"Norman: I think Bitcoin’s biggest problem is the network affect and the adoption level. Right now it has been adopted by people who are really tech savvy, and it needs to get to a certain level of user friendliness to be able to reach a second [burst] of adoption.
Butler: It has had a great popularity on the dark web between those exchanging illicit contraband.
Varoufakis: But that’s natural isn’t it? When you are creating a currency whose purpose is to be unregulated and then that currency gains value and its exchange rate with the dollar or the pound sterling increases, then clearly this is going to act as an attractor to all sorts of people who want to launder their illicitly earned monies. […] It is a problem casinos face. All sorts of parallel monetary systems face.
Butler: Theoretically, the dreamers have imagined that we could one day develop currencies that somehow bypass central banks in the same way that the Internet itself seems to revolutionalize commerce and that online currency could bypass the men in gray suits who controlled everything up until now.
Varoufakis: Digital currencies offer us zero production and distribution costs. So take for instance the Eurozone crisis. If Greece were to reconstitute its own currency it would take at least eight months to do that. With digital currency you can create them at the touch of a button.
Varoufakis: These digital currencies are global currencies. […] The big question arises, so where do you get taxed? […] If you believe that states are essential for maintaining civilized behavior and for having regulation then [Bitcoin] is a problem.
Butler: So you wouldn’t be advising Greeks to convert their Euros into Bitcoin or e-gold or anything else?
Varoufakis: You know I wouldn’t. The worst part of it is that I would advise them to put it into a German bank.
The media continues to frame Bitcoin as a system of money that is used only by criminals, outlaws, and — this was a first, “Syrian rebels” even. Not even a few seconds of coverage was given to ways Bitcoin excels.