Former US Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers called Bitcoin “a very, very important development” in an interview he gave to Politico on Monday at the National Association for Business Economics Policy Conference in Arlington, Virginia:
“I think that we are seeing many, many sectors of our economy be transformed by information technology and certainly it seems bizarre that at this late date, one has to pay as much as one does to use a debit card or to get cash from an ATM or to transfer money to one’s child living abroad,” he continued.
“So it seems to me that there’s going to be a concerted effort to reduce financial frictions and that effort’s going to be multi-faceted and certainly Bitcoin is an innovative approach in that regard.
“I am very mindful that there have been other things that came out of Silicon Valley that seemed very flakey to people on the outside and then proved to be an enormous deal. Very serious economists thought that the Internet was going to be no more important than the fax machine [editor’s note: cough, Paul Krugman, cough] so I’m not willing to dismiss Bitcoin. At the same time, I do think it’s important to recognize that it can’t and won’t flourish as a way of avoiding legal protections.”
Summers was the Treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. He currently holds the title of President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Professor of Harvard University.