It was almost a year ago – MtGox had just collapsed and Newsweek pointed to Dorian Nakamoto as Bitcoin's creator – that Andreas Antonopoulos come onto the Australian radio show Late Night Live to debate Bitcoin with a professor of economic theory at the University of Athens. The professor’s name: Yanis Varoufakis.
Varoufakis, of course, was recently catapulted into the epicenter of world affairs as he was appointed the Minister of Finance of the newly elected Greek government. Determined to restructure Greece's debts, he has been on a collision course with the rest of the Eurozone ever since, and has even refused to negotiate with the Troika consisting of the European Commission, the ECB, and the IMF. But even though Varoufakis is a firm critic of the European financial policy over the past years, one of his blog posts suggests that he likes Bitcoin even less.
Or does he?
Adhering to the usual talk show format, it is of course no surprise that Late Night Live invited both a Bitcoin advocate and a stubborn skeptic on the show. But surprisingly: it wasn't always clear which of the two men with Greek blood running through their veins was the advocate, and which one was the skeptic.
While the host of the show Phillip Adams clearly sets up his questions for a sharp debate, it turned out that his two guests actually agreed on many aspects.
While we all know of Antonopoulos' fondness of Bitcoin's underlying blockchain technology, for instance, it turns out that Varoufakis completely echoed that sentiment:
“[Bitcoin] is a beautiful piece of mathematics, which makes possible the creation of a decentralized network, within which trust can be build simply because everyone is monitoring everyone else. There is no centri. There is no guardian. There is no Hobbesian Leviathan that can become tyrannical, or fall a sleep on the job like the Fed did before 2008.”
“[Bitcoin has] tremendous potential for changing parts of social organization that we haven't even imagined yet.”
And although it is true that Varoufakis has been a critic of Bitcoin's programmed monetary policy, Antonopoulos did not really disagree on this aspect.
“I think Bitcoin will play a role very similar to digital gold, and other cryptocurrencies will become perhaps more suitable as everyday means of exchange,” he said. “And eventually we'll find a role for governments and bankers to be involved in this, because they are going to adapt.”
Moreover, Antonopoulos agreed with Varoufakis on another aspect as well:
“You shouldn't [invest in Bitcoin at US$1,000 a coin]. This is not something that is for the faint hearted. It's something that is still highly experimental.”
Indeed, both Antonopoulos and Varoufakis seem to both like and doubt Bitcoin for many the same reasons. Who would have known...
You can listen to the full debate here.
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