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Can Bitcoin Replace Government-Issued Money? A Debate

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“Bitcoin is poorly suited to the purpose of becoming any nation’s main medium of exchange.”

That was the topic of a public debate hosted by the Soho Forum in New York City on August 12, 2019. It featured George Selgin, director of the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives at the Cato Institute, and economist Saifedean Ammous, author of The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking (2018). Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein moderated.

It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, and the side that gains the most ground is victorious. Ammous prevailed in the debate by convincing 23 percent of audience members to change their minds.

Arguing for the affirmative was Selgin, whose books include Less Than Zero: The Case for a Falling Price Level in a Growing Economy (2018) and Floored! How a Misguided Fed Experiment Deepened and Prolonged the Great Recession (2018).

Ammous argued for the negative. An associate professor of economics at Lebanese American University, Ammous is also teaching an online course in bitcoin and Austrian economics.

The Soho Forum, which is partnered with the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan’s East Village.

Music: “Modum” by Kai Engel is licensed under a CC-BY creative commons license.

Produced by Todd Krainin.

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Todd Krainin

Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit https://reason.com

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