Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin Redeemer (Op-Ed)

In a November 6 interview in Dublin, Ireland, recorded at this year’s Web Summit, Gavin Andresen called Bitcoin “shady.”

He was speaking of Bitcoin in the past, and said, “We’re quickly evolving to something that is much more mainstream, much more accepted, much easier to use.” Speaking with the Wall Street Journal’s Lisa Fleisher, he talked about the future — of Bitcoin, mining, money, regulation and the world.

“The biggest misconception is still that Bitcoin is some deep, dark, mysterious thing for illicit markets. . . . We’ve evolved past that and we see huge companies like Dell Computer accepting Bitcoin for ordinary products.”

On the same day that he made these statements, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation took down Silk Road 2.0 and other dark markets. Probably still in the dark about the events as they occurred, Andresen and Fleisher talked about Andresen’s positive outlook.

On mining, he said, “The centralization of mining is going to go in waves. . . Once chips become commodities and they are really inexpensive, you’ll see it decentralize again.” In the future, he said, “maybe your cell phone, when it’s recharging, will generate a couple Bitcoins on the side.”

Gavin Andersen

On money, he remarked:

“I think we’ll go past physical cash. People becoming afraid of Ebola on their Euro notes might become a real thing...and all it would take would be one story of someone catching some terrible disease by handling cash, and you’ll see people rushing to the exits to find a more hygienic way of transacting money.”

On the future: In 20 years, the world will look “mostly like it looks today.” Most everyone will be “carrying around these wonderful little computers where you can pay anybody in the world, immediately, using something like Bitcoin, or some kind of future, accepted, worldwide global currency.”

“Right now, the most important issue for Bitcoin businesses is actually interfacing with the fiat money, with the banking systems around the world.” He continued:

“Getting regulatory clarity has been really important. Over the last year, year and a half, certainly in the US and Europe, we’ve seen more regulatory clarity. We’ve seen organizations like the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) in the US come out with guidance on — if you were doing these certain things with Bitcoin — [they said,] ‘Here are the hoops you need to jump through. Here’s how we’re going to regulate you.’ And I think that’s been really positive for Bitcoin.”

Andresen has been heavily involved in Bitcoin since the early days. Only Satoshi Nakamoto has been more so. After discovering Bitcoin in 2010, Andresen worked to help Nakamoto make tweaks and improvements to the software code.

Why would a man once given Satoshi’s blessing to manage the Bitcoin project,