George Gilder on the Power of Money

Photo credit: BTC Keychain via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: BTC Keychain via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

An article published last week by the New York Business Journal covered George Gilder’s recent appearance at the OnFinance conference. During his remarks to the conference’s attendees, Gilder endorsed the use of bitcoin in no uncertain terms:

“I think bitcoin should be conceived, first, as a new infrastructure for the Internet, a new transactions layer that the Internet drastically needs today,” Gilder boldly declared during the daylong OnFinance conference held by AlwaysOn, the San Francisco-based media and events company aimed at entrepreneurs and the VC industry.

Gilder has an impressive résumé in the field of economics which lends credence to his remarks. He is noted as “being former President Reagan’s ‘most quoted living author’ because of his support for supply-side economics,” as well as for being the author of “Wealth and Poverty,” a 1981 bestseller. The article goes on, covering more of Gilder’s remarks:

Bitcoin is a controlled solution, Gilder said, one that puts the power of money back into the hands of its users.

“We have a major movement around the world to change this system. We have the emergence of the blockchain and bitcoin, which I think represents a fundamental new way to think about money,” said Gilder, who has invested in the bitcoin company Rivetz.

Gilder wasn’t worried about the declining value in bitcoin — today, one bitcoin is worth about $237, significantly less than its high point of $1,150 in 2013 — as he compared bitcoin with gold, a valuable commodity that’s certainly had its own ups and downs. Bitcoin’s acceptance will be a process, one that won’t displace the dollar but will establish a “global money that governs Internet commerce.”

It’s really how Gilder sees bitcoin and the Internet that’s the most intriguing, and if you’re in the current digital advertising business, perhaps the most scary.

“The great promise of bitcoin is that it will make possible micropayments to actually occur across the Internet,” Gilder said, adding it would “displace what now is the dominant way of paying for media on the Internet, which is advertising.” Pop-ups and other online ads, all of which Gilder clearly disdains, only benefits the aggregators of information. “If micro-payments were seamless and hassle free, than somebody producing a YouTube (video) could also collect the money from the YouTube. Power over content would migrate again to the producers of the content, from the aggregators of it.”

Joshua Pinho works for American Principles in Action.