“In places that have a failed civic trust model where there’s not good institutions by which society can build systems of trust in each other, what’s strange is, what you get instead is a real concentration of trust in those that are closest to you. So you end up with very close friends and very close family,” he says. “I think it’s a function of what happens when you have a breakdown of these systems.”
Our wide-ranging, fascinating and rather futuristic discussion dives into how his early years living in countries with unstable currencies like Argentina and Indonesia influenced his interest in blockchain and systems of trust. For instance, he recalls how you needed to depend on friends and family to help you move money into and out of Argentina and, through his anthropologist wife's work, understood how trust and identity are built.
These are the show notes for the Unchained podcast. Listen to Laura’s whole interview with Michael Casey here.
Having spent so much time covering currencies, he thought, as he looked at the soaring price, “That’s a tulip bubble. These are crazy people. They’ve got no sense. There’s no value to this thing. Why else would you want it? How could you possibly have a currency backed by computers doing this strange mining thing?”
In 2013, Michael Casey had been a currency reporter at the Wall Street Journal for years when he first heard about Bitcoin. “I just went, What?! What are you talking about? This is crazy!” he recalls.
Casey, now a senior advisor at the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT Media Lab, reveals what realization he had about money and its true nature in the latest episode of my blockchain podcast Unchained (Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio).
After a dinner with executives of cryptocurrency startups and investors in the space, Casey began to really understand the technology behind it and realized “digital currency represented something far more profound than the digitization of money” — that it was a way to reconstruct trust. And despite having been a business reporter for a couple decades, he even had an epiphany about what money truly is. From that point, he wanted to only write about cryptocurrency and even co-authored a book on it, "The Age of Cryptocurrency," with Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna.
Casey, who has also written a book called “The Unfair Trade: How Our Broken Global Financial System Destroys the Middle Class,” talked about how cryptocurrencies could solve some of the problems that he sees in global inequalities due to uneven monetary policies around the world. For instance, he suggests, Bitcoin could become a reserve currency.
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