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Did Milton Friedman Foresee the Rise of Bitcoin Back in 1999?

Who were the earliest men to predict the invention of Bitcoin or at least inspire the creation of a globally accepted currency living on the internet?

American Economist Milton Friedman passed away in November 2006, having received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history, and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy.

Interestingly, evidence also shows that Friedman was among the earliest people who dreamt about the introduction of a “reliable e-cash, a method whereby on the internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B and B knowing A.”

Does that sound like something you know?

“The way in which I can take $20 bill and hand it over to you and there is no record of where it came from, and you may get that without knowing who I am.”

Well those comments made by Friedman way back in 1999, happened at a time when many computer jerks were working on a form of electronic cash. 

Interestingly, that was roughly 9 years before the first of its kind, (Bitcoin) “developed on the internet,” as Friedman had predicted or rather inspired.

Since the Bitcoin network went online in 2008, it has proven reliable with 99.98% uptime and also facilitated global transactions now worth trillions of dollars all without government censorship, the subject of Friedman’s discussion in the archived interview.

Crooks Would Use It too — Friedman

While Friedman spoke positively regarding how the then-unknown e-cash would take some power away from the government and give it back to the people, he also accurately predicted that crooks would also take advantage of it.

He said, then regarding the electronic cash,

“Of course it has its negative sides. It means that the gangsters and people who are engaged in Illegal transactions would have an easier way to carry on their business.”

Undoubtedly, those predictions have come true with I’ll transactions facilitated with Bitcoin, on the high during its first decade in existence, albeit a recent decline we reported in that regard.

In the end, it would be fair to mention at this point that while other cryptocurrencies such as Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC) has improved on Bitcoin’s anonymous functionality, the dominant cryptocurrency is still on track the fulfill Friedman’s guess of a currency that reduces the power and influence of the government.

Also, we would not have known any cryptocurrencies, maybe until later if Satoshi hadn’t created Bitcoin. 

Was Satoshi inspired by Friedman’s comments or was it just a random prediction that eventually came through?

We can’t say for sure but either way, the 1999 dream is happening and we’re alive to witness it!

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