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Prof. James Cooper Reflects on Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary


Ten years ago, Satoshi Nakamoto published his White Paper introducing Bitcoin, the world’s first electronic cash technology.

During that time we have seen some Bitcoin pioneers earn billions, get sentenced to prison, assist transnational criminals hide their illicit proceeds, and disrupt sovereign currencies, the financial services industry, and modern economies, wrote California Western’s Prof. James Cooper in a recent op-ed for the International Business Times.

On Oct. 31, 2008, Nakamoto’s White Paper, a business plan of sorts, described how blockchain technology could be used to create a digital currency, continued Prof. Cooper.

With the advent of the blockchain, the largest financial services entities, auction houses, and social media outlets are no longer in the hands of monolithic transnational corporations. Instead, marketplaces and services are dis-intermediated, purchasers are empowered with choice and lower prices, and vendors can conduct business directly with greater efficiency and transparency.

On this 10-year anniversary of its creation, it is the time to reflect on blockchain’s success and failings. We should welcome smart regulation, even if blockchain technology was about decentralization and the erosion of the state. We hear about our government using smart sanctions, smart bombs, and smart borders. Smart regulations only make sense. Permissive regulatory environments like those set up in Estonia, Japan, Malta, and Singapore are one model. Outright bans like that in effect in China are at the other extreme. The future will no doubt lie in the middle.

Smart regulations could save this innovative technology. Like many other recent technological developments, innovation and disruption offer both risk and reward. Blockchain technology can truly change the world. But it will need help to reach its twentieth year. Bring on the smart regulators.

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