In a previous interview, Michael Casey set his insight on how he views Cryptocurrency's influence on the lives of financially excluded women, how the book came about to be written and more.
The following is a brief interview that I was able to conduct with Paul Vigna of the Wall Street Journal who co-wrote this book with Michael Casey, The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order. It is safe to say that no matter what you feel about these issues, there is a good deal to be learned from his following responses.
Matthew: What inspired you to write this book?
Paul: I went to the Inside Bitcoins conference in New York City in July 2013. At this point, I was interested enough in bitcoin to bother with getting a press pass to attend a conference, but wasn’t really convinced it was a big story. The conference changed my mind. It was the first time I’d been in a room with more than two bitcoiners. The collective energy hit me like a brick. Yes, there was some measure of naivete, and yes, you could see there some of the ideas and businesses were poorly conceived. But the big takeaway to me was that this is a movement, an entire counterculture forming around a technology. It was a powerful thing to me.
Later in the newsroom, I was telling another reporter about the conference, and he quipped that it sounded like something Michael Lewis would write a book about. Soon as he said that, the bulb went off for me. Why in God’s name was I going to wait for Michael Lewis to figure this out, when I had the whole story sitting right there in front of me? I resolved that very moment to write the book.
Matthew: What’s the best possible outcome that can happen from people reading this book?
Paul: Well, I think my goal in writing the book was simply to recount what I considered to be a very compelling, interesting story, so I hope that comes through when people are reading the book. The more involved I got in writing about Bitcoin, the more I realized that the story went far beyond just a currency. It’s about the centuries’ long march of economies and governments and the system of finance, and how’s it reached something of a dead end and has become locked and rigid and excludes billions of people. Bitcoin appears to be this thing sitting out there on its own, separate from all that. But it isn’t. It’s a response to all that. I really do think the technology is the next step in an evolution. I hope people get that out of the book.
Matthew: Many women face inequality on many levels around the world and specifically in Afghanistan. Is it too soon to suggest cryptocurrency could significantly impact these women without banks accounts or it is already happening?
Paul: Well, on a small level, yes, it is happening, as we recount in the book. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have a long way to go before they become a major force in the world, but the potential is definitely there. The good that Bitcoin can do in the emerging markets dwarfs the good is can do in the developed world, when you sit back and think about it. It won’t happen in a year, or two or five. But the idea of going around the existing system, of bringing billions of people into the modern world, it’s an exciting thing. I hope it comes to pass.
Previous Interview: Michael Casey.