Interview: The Guardian – Bitcoin

Bitcoin is having its moment but there are better sustainable currencies

The crypto currency’s liberating features are undone by its susceptibility to fraud. With other options out there, Bitcoin may not be the best bet.

Bitcoin suffers two other major downsides, neither of them headline-grabbers but important nonetheless. First, the idea of an alternative currency isn’t that new. Recent decades have seen waves of other examples, says Leander Bindewald, a currency expert at the New Economics Foundation, a London-based think tank. Think Local Exchange Trading Systems in the 1980s, Time Banking in the 90s, and “transition currencies” such as the Brixton Pound or online community exchange systems more recently.

Nor is Bitcoin actually that unique. Dogecoin, Litecoin, Darkcoin, Namecoin, Peercoin and a myriad of other cryptocurrencies like them are all based on a similar premise and adopt similar technologies. It’s just the narrative around Bitcoin – its mysterious founder, its claims to disruption, its decision to set the total issuance of Bitcoins at a fixed amount, and so on – that cause it to stand out, Bindewald claims.

“There’s a lot of discussion now about how Bitcoin is interesting as a payment mechanism and a governance paradigm. But the currency that everyone knows is pretty uninteresting – it’s just a proof of concept that the payment mechanism and governance paradigm actually work,” he adds.

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