Money Of The Future

by John Maudlin,
from Maudlin Economics,

As I work on my book about the future, I think a lot about the ways possible events will affect our money. But I’m also thinking about something else: What kind of money will we use? The answer might seem obvious: dollars, euros, yen, all the government-issued fiat currencies that are the economic water in which we swim. Most of us have never known anything else. Yet these currencies aren’t natural phenomena. People created them. People can also abandon them for something else, just as they abandoned older currencies. I can hear the chorus now: Fiat currencies come and go, but gold is forever. And now there is a drumbeat for Bitcoin. Well, yes, but it’s tough to buy groceries with gold or Bitcoin. There are good reasons to think we could once again see some fiat currencies disappear. If so, what “something else” will be money in the future? Five years ago, I said that I expected to see a commodity-backed cryptocurrency to eventually emerge and potentially become the currency of the future. Several actually have, too, but without getting much traction for a variety of mostly good reasons.

Facebook’s recently announced Libra project may be the proverbial better mousetrap. On the surface, it seems to address some of the problems encountered by similar offerings. But at this point, it’s really just an idea, and I am not convinced it is ready for primetime.

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