Bitcoin is in the news again. This time, however, it is with reference to its mystery founder. On May 2, Australian computer scientist Craig Wright announced that he was the creator of the controversial digital currency. Previously known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Mr. Wright said he had ‘proof’ that he was the brains behind Bitcoin.
In light of this revelation, Dominic Frisby, financial writer and author of Bitcoin: The Future of Money?, in an email conversation with The Hindu through email about the debate around Bitcoin. Mr. Frisby has been an enthusiast of the concept of digital currency and his book considers the potential economic, political and social implications of Bitcoin.
What do you think will be the extent of the impact of Craig Wright’s announcement on being the founder of Bitcoin?
I don’t think it will have much impact on the future of Bitcoin. On his own life personally, it will have considerable impact. He’s going to get a lot of attention that he may not want. I wish him well.
Now that they have a face to the name, do you think the identity of the founder will help in instilling more confidence among skeptics of digital currency?
There will always be skeptics. If we listened to skeptics who don’t understand the technology, we’d still be going to work on horseback instead of by car or plane.
What is the future of Bitcoin? Do you think in this era of cyber attacks, digital currency has a future?
Almost all currency is digital already. Pounds, dollars, euros, everything are 97% digital (not sure about the rupee). It’s the future of cash you should be worrying about. Bitcoin itself will grow and copycat currencies will follow.
Users of Bitcoin have complained about two things in particular: the delay in transactions and the difficulty in taking up day-to-day transactions via Bitcoin. What do you think is the way to address this issue?
It needs to be improved and that will happen. Satoshi’s advice should be heeded in this regard.
Is there active lobbying for the concept of digital currency? What is being done to make people become aware of the concept?
Like I say, 97% of money is digital already. Owners of bitcoin tend to be the most effective lobbyists. Bitcoin ownership is increasing.
The finite nature of Bitcoins makes it a form of currency that only appreciates in value. How will this impact the stock and bullion markets?
The finite nature of bitcoin means it is a deflationary currency. It does not guarantee that it appreciates in value. Bitcoin and blockchain will become part of a new digital asset class along with stocks, bonds, bullion, real estate. A lot of wealth will be created for a lot of people along the way. The wealth creation in the long term will probably benefit stock and bullion markets.
Do you believe that Mr. Wright is the founder of Bitcoin? Many security specialists have claimed it to be a scam.
I haven’t done much research into it. After writing my book, I was kind of exhausted as far as Satoshi-sleuthing was concerned. At the moment I’d say it’s possible – in conjunction with Dave Kleiman. They certainly tick a lot of boxes.
Recently, the European Commission proposed to bring virtual currency exchange platforms under the scope of an anti-money laundering directive. This was in the aftermath of the Paris and Brussels attacks. Do you think digital currency paves easy way for funding terror operations?
Non-government money by its very nature facilitates illegal activity and hopefully will force governments to improve their antiquated systems or face disruption. Talking specifically about terror, I’m not sure how up to scratch these organizations are with Bitcoin and how much they are using it. Is Bitcoin a widely accepted form of payment in ISIS-run countries? I have no idea. I would have thought ISIS are terrified by the freedoms that bitcoin makes possible.