In a recent interview, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne described the entire modern financial system as a “big Keynesian magic money tree ponzi scheme,” adding that its collapse will usher in the global adoption of cryptocurrency. As previously reported by Unhashed, some economists have come to similar conclusions: predicting that the hegemony of the most respected fiat currencies, including the US dollar, will soon come to an end.
“The pyramid game is coming to an end,” controversial German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom said in a recent Tweet. “Crypto and precious metals will go up when everything else falls. I think it’s going to happen in the next two years.”
These sentiments were echoed by Irwin M. Stelzer of the Hudson Institute, who told the Washington Post that if the US continues to rack up limitless debt and carelessly print trillions of dollars, the entire country could collapse.
“If unlimited borrowing, financed by printing money, were a path to prosperity, then Venezuela and Zimbabwe would be top of the growth tables,” said Stelzer.
Overstock CEO a Longtime Supporter of Cryptocurrency
Nevertheless, hearing these types of ideas from the CEO of one of the largest tech-driven online retail outlets in the world is certainly unusual. Byrne’s predictions about the future of the modern financial system likely served as a key motivator when Overstock became the first major retailer to accept Bitcoin back in 2014. Since that time, Byrne has been an outspoken supporter for cryptocurrency. He notes that the trends of large-scale cryptocurrency adoption in countries like Venezuela will continue until they reach the rest of the word.
“People turn to it where they collapse, like Venezuela or Cyprus or Syria, something like that,” said Byrne. “When people start getting into it is when their own financial systems collapse.”
Byrne also described what he envisionted the role of government to be in managing the new crypto-centered financial system: limited, but important.
“I guess I must confess, as revolutionary as I am – I’m what you could call a national security libertarian,” explained Byrne. “So I worry about threats to our country. And that means that KYC (know-your-customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) are not just things to be scoffed at.”
That said, Byrne believes that blockchain technology has the power to make all cryptocurrency transactions completely anonymous. He points out that this could be both good and bad, as anonymity allows for a truly free society, while at the same time opening the door for bad actors to take advantage of the system. Byrne hopes that the new digital money world can find a balance supporting both freedom and security.
The interview concludes with Byrne expressing his opinion on the future of leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Byrne argues that the social stigmas surrounding Bitcoin, mainly that it is commonly associated with money laundering and illegal drug trading, stand as some of the biggest impediments to mass cryptocurrency adoption. He thinks that while Bitcoin will always maintain a valuable use case, it is not guaranteed to be the coin of the future.
“Now, whether Bitcoin is the one, whether Bitcoin has solved its speed problems or it’s another cryptocurrency, only time will tell,” said Byrne.
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