Timothy Draper, the billionaire venture capitalist and early advocate for bitcoin, thinks crypto is ushering in a new age of peace. And the future of the world economy is irrefutably linked to blockchain-based technology, he said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” on Tuesday.
“I actually believe that we are moving toward a decentralized world. We’re moving toward a world that is more open and global,” the founder and managing director of Draper Associates said in a live interview. “It’s going to be awesome.”
This article is part of Future of Money Week, a series exploring the varied (and sometimes weird) ways value will move in the future.
The rise of borderless currencies like bitcoin, which are open technological standards that anyone can use, will create jobs and improve living standards for a great number of people, Draper said. It also sets the stage for a world where centralized governments are irrelevant.
“The fact that [bitcoin] is so frictionless means that the entire world will become wealthier because, as we all know, the more friction in our currency, the less wealth in a society,” he said.
What Draper calls “frictionless” sounds a lot like an accelerant to the neoliberal reforms of the past 50-odd years. Neoliberalism is a political philosophy born out of the ideas of economists including Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, who advocated for the deregulation and globalization of markets.
Discussing trade wars and stringent immigration policies, Draper said the U.S. empire was voicing the “last roar of the dying lion,” and was making a final claim to “relevance” on the world stage. “The rest of the world is saying, ‘Hey, look, we got global trade. We’re gonna go wherever we feel that there’s enough freedom and trust.’”
Crypto may be inevitable, but the innovation doesn’t necessarily have to occur within U.S. borders. To that end, the billionaire scion advocates for a light-touch regulatory approach to the industry. He draws a comparison to the early internet: If the web was regulated at its start, “we would have lost all that economic value [and] all those jobs.”
“All these governments ... want to keep everything under control, then they regulate, but then they lose all their entrepreneurs,” he said. “They do it at their own peril.”
At Draper Fisher Jurvetson, he backed several early internet companies including Hotmail and Skype. He also twice won U.S. Marshals auctions of confiscated bitcoin, which he used in part to invest in the industry. His for-profit college for entrepreneurs, the Draper University of Heroes, has long accepted bitcoin payments.
Draper says he first intuited the geopolitical significance of bitcoin after the collapse of Mt. Gox in 2013, the largest cryptocurrency exchange at the time. He lost money but gained respect in the market failure. Now, he expects all other currencies but bitcoin to collapse.
“These governments are trained to print more money to be more relevant. Well we all know that as soon as I can buy my food, clothing and shelter in bitcoin, I’m not going to want to hold – and neither will anyone else – any cryptocurrency or currency that’s tied to any fiat political force,” he said.
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