Independent Scotland ‘could be bitcoin testbed’

Scotlandbitcoin03 July 2014 / The Guardian – An independent Scotland could be the perfect testbed for whether a nation can survive using cryptocurrencies instead of fiat money, the assistant governor of Australia’s central bank has suggested.

Speaking through a robot from Sydney at the Financial Times’s Camp Alphaville conference in London, Guy Debelle argued that the experience would be similar to Scotland’s own period of free banking in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the country’s banks were given the power to issue their own currencies.

“I hear there’s going to be an election in Scotland in a couple of months time,” Debelle said during his speech on the future of money, referring to the forthcoming independence referendum in September. “Those guys have a bit of experience with competing currencies back in the 18th and 19th centuries. So I suppose one possibility is, if the vote for independence actually gets up, they’re going to be short a currency, given that the last time we talked Mark Carney is not entirely clear that he wants to let them use the pound anymore.

“The Scots can go back to experimenting with a multitude of currencies, bitcoin and the like, and we can just sit back and see how it goes. A nice natural experiment about the future of money in Scotland – again. Because as I said, they tried this in the 18th and 19th centuries. It worked for a while, but eventually it fell apart.”

In the discussion that followed Debelle’s comments, some panelists disagreed – but not with the idea that Scotland should give cryptocurrencies a chance. David Birch, director of digital currency consultants Hyperion, argued that the fatalistic view of Scotland’s previous experiment with multiple currencies was wrong, and that they more successful than history gives credit….. Read more

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