The Austrian Influences on Bitcoin

Published on MARCH 25, 2014 by JEFFREY A. TUCKER via FEE

Bitcoin seemed to emerge out of the blue in early 2009 as a unified monetary and payment system, something no one anticipated. It’s true that the people who saw its merits and viability early on were code slingers and hackers. They posted their masterworks in strange places, and these works are not available at university libraries. It’s all a little much to get your mind around, and there’s no academic literature about it. But then, the beauty of bitcoin is that you can jump in, start using it, and learn from the ground up.

For my part, I was incredulous about bitcoin for two years after I heard about it. It just seemed crazy that money could somehow be created by a computer without any external or physical foundation. In some ways, it seemed contradictory to everything we know about money.

But now that the currency has taken hold, its infrastructure is being built, cash-to-bitcoin machines are going up everywhere, and mainstream opinion is gradually coming around. Cryptocurrency is real and it’s not going away.

It’s time for a retrospective on exactly who among economists anticipated such a radical idea, that markets themselves could discover and sustain a money independent of the State. When looking for economists, we need to begin with those who regarded money as a market good, created through entrepreneurial experimentation.

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