This year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has seen Bitcoin taking center stage in one business director’s hopes for economic innovation in 2015.
Founder and CEO of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffmann, said during an early lunch discussion that his hopes are resting on Bitcoin this year, reports Time, which hosted the discussion Wednesday. He said:
“Bitcoin will either be a total failure or it’ll be a success and I think we want it to be a success.”
The surprising backing is made even more poignant when contrasted with how Bitcoin fared at last year’s conference, where bankers and business leaders alike unrelentingly attacked the concept of digital currency. Chairman and chief executive of investment bank JP Morgan Jamie Dimon said at the time:
“The question isn't whether we accept it. The question is do we even participate [with] people who facilitate Bitcoin?"
His words echoed a simultaneous strong distrust of the uses of Bitcoin by US treasury secretary Jack Lew.
At this year’s conference, however—set against the backdrop of the giant trillion-euro quantitative easing package expected to be carried out by the European Central Bank—the usual pundits have less to be confident about. Instead, the media is choosing to pick up on the championing of fiat alternatives.
As Time reports, Hoffmann spoke about how Bitcoin “could open up the advantages of banking to regions of the world that do not yet benefit from the banking system.”
“He envisaged Bitcoin’s potential impact on the developed world also; for example, the currency might make easier all financial transactions related to driving, including paying tolls and paying for parking,” the publication reports.
Hoffmann’s views echo strongly those of Bill Gates, who this week came out advocating for digital currency on US television.
“[Digital currency] requires a little bit of work getting the regulation right, getting the critical mass, getting people to trust it, but the magic of that cellphone with the right software means that [unbanked] people have banking, and that’s really big for their lives,” he told Jimmy Fallon on the Bill Gates Foundation’s plans to facilitate financial liquidity to the world’s poor.
While this year’s Davos conference has yet to conclude, and the establishment is yet to have its say on current financial matters, the gradual encroachment of Bitcoin onto the agenda will inspire confidence in many advocates. Those who openly oppose the concept of digital currency, meanwhile, seem to matter increasingly less.
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