In ancient times, the intermediary of control was the proper understanding of astronomy for prosperous agriculture and consequently, the perceived divinity of individuals with a connection to the ‘heavens’. This slowly transformed into an intermediary of mythology and subsequently, the type of dogmatic religious centralization that destroyed the Serapeum and Library of Alexandria.
Eventually, religious dogma began to fail and monetary machinations began to substitute its central authority. The debasement of precious metals, which greatly contributed to the fall of Rome, is an example of these type of machinations and the danger of their centralization.
The Age of Reason freed us from the central authority of the church but the banking system was already patiently waiting to become the be-all-end-all of intermediary control. The banking system became more centralized over time, and eventually, most currencies were no longer backed by precious metals. To be fair, there are major issues with gold-backed currencies and that’s why Ben Bernanke wasn’t necessarily wrong when he said gold isn’t money when Ron Paul infamously asked. Ron Paul isn’t wrong either, the printing of money out of ‘thin air’ is a problem. We need something of more substance but with easy circulation, valueless fiat will not suffice as currency in the long-run.
( Recently, Ron Paul said Bitcoin could contribute to the destruction of the U.S. dollar supposing the FED causes a panic, prompting people to seek alternatives to the dollar such as Bitcoin. Paul has also commented on Bernanke’s positive outlook on cryptocurrency as money rather than gold. Ben Bernanke will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming cryptocurrency Ripple conference. )
The banking system is the ultimate centralization of power for the currency of any given nation is the necessary intermediary of manifestation and under the banking system, that fiat currency is not subject to protocol nor restricted from commodity-backing. Fiat currency can be inflated or deflated at any time. Banks dictate the value of your dollar, your purchasing power, wealth, and prosperity or lack thereof. A stable cryptocurrency, which is definitely within the realm of possibility, is the solution to that problem. Bitcoin could fail to fill that role due to scaling issues but the concept and its economic system are sound.
The Central Bank of Finland has researched the Bitcoin infrastructure, the authors of the paper have dubbed Bitcoin’s economic system ‘revolutionary’, and stated the following:
“Bitcoin is a monopoly run by a protocol, not by a managing organization. Familiar monopolies are run by managing organizations with discretion to determine and then change prices, offerings and rules. Monopolies are often regulated to prevent or at least mitigate their abuse of power.”
“Bitcoin cannot be regulated. There is no need to regulate it because as a system it is committed to the protocol as is and the transaction fees it charges the users are determined by the users independently of the miners’ efforts”
BIS ( Bank for International Settlements ) has also released a paper, this one is regarding the creation of Central bank cryptocurrencies. It argues in favor of their creation, citing various use cases. This is one of many papers, one of many entities researching cryptocurrency and blockchain potential. In fact, some are actually releasing good open source variations but most are focused on privatized and centralized developments. Overall, we see a ton of research and development accumulating and yet, nothing that’s discrediting the decentralized cryptocurrencies that are already available to us today. There is no reason to assume nor any evidence to suggest the Bitcoin Core Team, for example, won’t continue to make progress.
History Repeats Itself
In 1440, the ‘Gutenberg’ printing press was invented. It rapidly spread across two hundred cities, eventually spreading further, printing an estimated 150–200 million volumes in the 16th century. The printing press lead to an era of mass communication, altering the structure of society. Since the printing press outpaced the capacity for individual persecution, new and revolutionary ideas crossed borders, upset religious authority, created reformation, and broke the literacy monopoly of the elite, allowing the middle class to learn and prosper. If it were not for the printing press, perhaps no Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Reason, and Scientific revolution would have occurred to lay out our modern knowledge-based economy.
The age of banking and its economic authority is staring down the barrel of reformation and like the church, it’s attempting a counter-reformation. Instead of accepting and supporting decentralized cryptocurrencies, which would free the individual from the grips of fiat intermediaries of control, big banks want to create their own centralized and privatized cryptocurrencies to maintain the status quo. Of course, some of these banking entities are seeking genuine improvement but most are only offering resistance where there should be none, clinging to their power and control as the great intermediary.
Blockchain technology will reshape the financial system just as the last Global Trends report indicates.
“New financial technologies — including digital currencies, applications of “blockchain” technology for transactions, and AI and big data for predictive analytics — will reshape financial services.” ( pg. 15 ) Global Trends — Paradox of Progress, National Intelligence Council, under auspices of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
The banks that don’t introduce centralized cryptocurrencies will become dated and fail in the long-run. The ones that do probably won’t be able to before the decentralized cryptocurrency ecosystem takes root and renders it irrelevant, to begin with, except for private group or private business use.
It will be difficult for a bank or group of banks to reach a consensus on what they’re aiming for or even what blockchain variant to use. By the time major banks reach a conclusion, a single Bitcoin could be worth $100,000+. Even if centralized cryptocurrency managed to keep pace and succeed, which I doubt, it would only be a matter of time before its potential for abuse became known. I don’t think there will be a consensus among banks. Various banks will implement differing centralized cryptocurrencies that will ultimately only bolster already established decentralized cryptocurrency. Some banks will succeed, many will fail, and the ones that succeed will probably transition their roles to remain relevant.
I think it’s obvious what will happen…
Decentralized cryptocurrencies will outpace central authority no differently than the printing press outpaced the individual capacity of the central authorities of the church to persecute supposed heretics. The Dark Ages of Banking will end, the Crypto Reformation will begin. From there, we’ll shift into a new age, a new Renaissance.