Did Alan Greenspan - former chairman of the Federal Reserve - predict Bitcoin way back in a 1996 speech

October 12, 2017 - 4:26 pm  
by Nandi Bear  

Did Alan Greenspan predict Bitcoin way back in a 1996?

Here's a thought-provoking Alan Greenspan quote found within Nathaniel Popper's book Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and the Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money (2015) on page 17:

We could envisage proposals in the near future for issuers of electronic payment obligations, such as stored-value cards or 'digital cash,' to set up specialized issuing corporations with strong balance sheets and public credit ratings.

The passage within Nathaniel Popper's book which leads up to the foregoing quote is as follows:

Perhaps the most famous, if flawed, oracle of the Federal Reserve, former chairman Alan Greenspan, knew that money was something that not only central bankers could create. In a speech in 1996, just as Cypherpunks were pushing forward with their experiments, Greenspan said that he imagined that the technological revolution could bring back the potential for private money and that it might actually be a good thing...

I wanted to verify that the Greenspan quote was accurate and also read that entire 1996 speech. The entire speech can found at the FederalReserve.gov website as well as archives (dating as far back as 1999) of the same at the Wayback Machine website.

The 1996 speech by Alan Greenspan ends with what he refers to as a conclusion:

In conclusion, electronic money is likely to spread only gradually and play a much smaller role in our economy than private currency did historically. Nonetheless, the earlier period affords certain insights on the way markets behaved when government rules were much less pervasive. These insights, I submit, should be considered very carefully as we endeavor to understand and engage the new private currency markets of the twenty-first century.

For the record I'm not big into using the word 'conclusion.' I'm more of an observation and hypothesis type of guy.

In any event, there's a long running book review of Nathaniel Popper's book Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and the Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money over at the Bitcoin.com forum which you may check in on as more is added: Bitcoin book review episode 3: DIGITAL GOLD (BTC) - Hal Finney - illegal encryption export - cryogenics - Erik Voorhees

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