Are digital currencies the future?

In today’s edition of Business Daily, a BBC World Service radio program, Ed Butler investigates digital currencies. As you will hear, my contribution was to warn that, while digital currencies are the future, the libertarian (wet) dream of an international digital-gold standard that involves no collective agency (i.e. democratically or otherwise determined government) is a mirage and will, with mathematical precision, turn into a nightmare. To hear the program click here (or visit the BBC website here).

Listen now (18 minutes)

SYNOPSIS

Can online currencies solve some of the miseries of this material world? Bitcoin seems to the online currency of choice these days, although online security fears and allegations that it’s a haven for money-laundering have undermined its reputation. We assess what bitcoin is with a British cyber-policeman, Mick Jameson, a Bitcoin currency dealer, Donald Norman of bitcoinconsultancy.com, and the Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis, who’s now investigating the potential of online currencies with digital games-maker, Valve. Are these currencies safe and do they have a future?

Plus why Greek graduates all want to join the army: we hear the thoughts of our regular commentator from Thessaloniki, Giorgos Christides. And Ugu Panizza, chief of the Debt and Finance Analysis Unit at UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, explains the point at which bank-fuelled debt starts to destroy an economy.

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