Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other digital currencies are shaking up how the internet thinks about money. In turn, this has forced countries and large institutions to rethink how money works and who claims to have control over it. Perhaps it’s time for the decentralized blockchain-systems to replaced by a robot-controlled centrally-backed system. Or, at the very least, let’s think about it.
Currently, coins and paper notes are the only state-issued money available for use by you and me; the vast bulk of what we normally call “money” is a deposit with a bank. Up to a limit (currently €100,000 in Europe), this is state-backed in the sense that the government guarantees that it will be available for spending no matter what happens with the bank. Even this is surprisingly recent. On the eve of the financial crisis, the pan-European limit was much lower and EU law explicitly prohibited deposit insurance schemes from being backed by the state (they had to be industry-funded schemes).