WSJ’s MoneyBeat: Bitcoin’s ‘Honest Nodes’ Under Attack

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BitBeat: Bitcoin’s ‘Honest Nodes’ Under Attack

By  Paul Vigna, WSJ

Despite all the bad news lately, bitcoin is not only here to stay, but the world is “on the cusp of a revolution in payments systems,” Edmund Moy, the former director of the U.S. Mint, told MoneyBeat. Mr. Moy stopped by the Journal’s offices this morning to talk about cyrpto-currencies, and he sees huge potential for them, both from a commercial and social standpoint. He also thinks, emphatically, that governments should support bitcoin’s development, and that bitcoiners need to take an active role in shaping the government response.

It’s one thing to listen to bitcoin’s apostles preaching. It’s another to listen to somebody like Mr. Moy, who worked in D.C., and who ran the Mint. But Mr. Moy, who has a bitcoin wallet, is enthusiastic about crypto-currencies. He really thinks bitcoin and other digital currencies represent an entirely new way of doing commerce, and he expects very big things to start happening.

With his background in payment systems (you know, the U.S. dollar) and public service, he’s in a unique position to comment on bitcoin’s development, and he’s been vocal in supporting it. “I believe the government should be encouraging this,” he said. Advances in cryptography are leading to more secure, cheaper, and faster payments systems than anything that existed before, he said, and the “social ramifications are huge, and positive.”

Digital currencies offer a huge advantage to workers looking to send remittances back overseas, he pointed out. “If you want to help people on the lowest rungs,” he said, “I can’t think of a greater transfer of wealth,” than by removing the heavy fees workers are charged now to send money back home.

The next few years are going to be key for bitcoin and digital currencies, he said, on both a policy level and on an individual level. He employed the unusual metaphor of roads and flying cars. The oldest roads, like those in lower Manhattan, for example, were basically paved-over footpaths. As the years went on, the government built up and maintained systems based on those old footpaths. Now, he said, imagine somebody invented a flying car. “Do we make it use the existing roads, or do we build a new regulatory system?”

To that end, he said it’s critical that bitcoiners take an active role, right now when the currency’s at an inflection point, in helping to shape whatever regulations governments come up with. In fact, he thinks of one the biggest risks is that government regulations kneecaps digital currencies, although he doesn’t expect it.

Ultimately, he thinks the potential of this revolution will be realized, whether the system that emerges is bitcoin or some other currency. “I think people are going to have an ‘oh, crap’ moment,” when they realize the potential of the new systems, he said, and while he was laughing when it said, he wasn’t joking.

Read the full piece here.

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