Some people believe the decentralized cryptocurrency bitcoin is a tool that Austrian economists, anarcho-capitalists, libertarians, anarchists, and agorists should embrace. However, the many luminaries that have studied the works of Ludwig von Mises, and Murray Rothbard are still unsure about bitcoin. Some have embraced the cryptocurrency right away, while other individuals who pride themselves as ‘gold bugs’ changed their tune after initially dismissing bitcoin. Either way, bitcoin is very much a part of the anarcho/libertarian based ideologies and has been for quite some time.
Bitcoin is a fascinating monetary tool that many believe will help fight the central banking system, corrupt economic planning, and help stop a small group of individuals from controlling the world’s money supply. Often times bitcoin is associated with anarcho-capitalism, free markets, and sometimes the Austrian school of economics. Today we will look at a large group of anarcho-capitalists, ‘gold bugs,’ and well-known economists to see how they feel about the bitcoin revolution.
Libertarian Luminaries and Anarcho-Capitalist Personalities Weigh In On Bitcoin Over the Years
The writer and anarcho-capitalist, Doug Casey, is well known for his economic beliefs and essays about politics and markets. A few years ago Casey did not like bitcoin and dismissed the cryptocurrency when asked if he supported the new technology. However, these days Casey has a different perspective as the writer believes bitcoin is money, but he’s not confident it will last.
“As far as the cryptocurrencies are concerned, my original objection to Bitcoin was that it’s not backed by anything – So, it’s really a fiat currency – It’s very much like the US dollar, the Zambian Kwacha, the Argentine peso, or any of the other 150-plus currencies in today’s world – It’s a floating abstraction,” Casey explains in a recent interview.
But I missed something when I said, back then, that it had no value. It’s a fiat currency, but it has much more value than any other.
Dr. Ron Paul
Ron Paul is a former U.S. politician and a very popular Libertarian. Many believe Paul had sparked the interest of libertarianism in the minds of thousands of people when he ran for the U.S. presidency three times. Paul is also an author who wrote the famous book “End the Fed” among other classic works, as well as a student of the Austrian school of economics. The former politician has always been a fan of gold and precious metals, and at first, Paul was bit hesitant about bitcoin. However, Paul has changed his mind over the years as he now does television ads for a cryptocurrency IRA. During the cryptocurrency IRA commercial Paul states;
As a firm believer in currency competition, I’m excited to see the options what bitcoin opens up.
Robert Murphy is an anarcho-capitalist and popular writer and scholar at the Mises Institute website. Murphy likes bitcoin, and has co-authored a book called “Understanding Bitcoin: The Liberty Lovers Guide to the Mechanics and Economics of Cryptocurrencies.” In Murphy’s guide, he explains that bitcoin has become a medium of exchange and the often touted ‘Mises Regression Theorem’ has no relevance.
“We are not predicting that bitcoin will eventually become a genuine money, rather we are arguing that at this point, the regression theorem of Ludwig von Mises has no bearing on the question at all,” explains Robert Murphy and Silas Barta’s book.
Whether bitcoin becomes a money, or forever remains a medium of exchange, is a purely empirical question to which the regression theorem has no relevance.
David Kramer, another libertarian-leaning writer for the anti-state, anti-war, and pro-market website Lewrockwell.com, does not like bitcoin. Back in 2011, Kramer wrote an article called “Bitcoin: Just Another Bogus Medium of Exchange” and compared the decentralized currency to the now-defunct e-gold system. Kramer argues that bitcoin’s previous value was zero, and because it’s “bits in a computer” it still is zero. Only the free market can determine a fixed monetary source, “not a computer programmer,” explains the author. Kramer’s arguments have been refuted by many well-known bitcoiners like Jon Matonis.
The notorious Peter Schiff is a gold bug and American investor who has hated on bitcoin for quite sometimes. Nearly every time Schiff talks about bitcoin he relates the technology to the likes of collectible Beanie Babies and ‘tulip mania.’ It doesn’t seem like Schiff will ever appreciate bitcoin due to the fact it doesn’t have intrinsic value. News.Bitcoin.com has reported on Schiff’s many arguments against bitcoin over the years and his recent debates with the bitcoin proponent and RT talk show host Max Keiser, and CNBC’s Brian Kelly.
“It’s digital ‘fools gold,’” declares Schiff on CNBC. “You know today’s bitcoins are like beanie babies. The whole principle behind bitcoin was to replicate the properties that made gold uniquely suited to be money and act as an alternative to fiat currencies. But it’s not really viable as a money – I mean it is a potential medium of exchange, but it’s not a store of value.“
Konrad Graf is a well-known writer and economist that has published many articles on bitcoin monetary theory. Graf has written essays such as the “On the Origins of Bitcoin,” the “Bitcoin Decrypted Series,” and more recently “Are Bitcoins Ownable?” Back in November of 2015 Graf spoke with news.Bitcoin.com and told our readers that “bitcoin is among the greatest inventions in history.”
“My ‘On the Origins of Bitcoin’ also focuses on differentiating the pure theory aspect from historical and anthropological approaches,” Graf explains. “It seeks to integrate both Menger’s and Mises’s contributions with some distinctive insights from Nick Szabo (aspects of “Shelling Out: On the Origins of Money”) into a single account that can handle bitcoin, shell beads, silver coins, and anything else, all in a way I argue is compatible with the Misesian regression theorem.”
The German-born American Hans-Hermann Hoppe is a popular anarcho-capitalist and Austrian School economist. Hoppe doesn’t believe bitcoin is money and has never been a fan of the cryptocurrency at least in public. However, the economist does think a radical form of decentralization will end the nation states and wreak havoc on the parasites pushing for democracy. Hoppe explained this position last year stating;
Don’t put your trust in democracy, but neither should you trust in a dictatorship. Rather, put your hope into radical political decentralization, not just in India and China, but everywhere.
Dr. Walter Block
The well known Walter Block is an Austrian School economist and anarcho-capitalist theorist. Block is also a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Alabama. The economist doesn’t seem to appreciate bitcoin and has stated it goes against Carl Menger’s monetary theory believes it only exists because gold is suppressed.
“I favor money based on real commodities (gold, silver, whatever the market settles upon), and, I gather, bitcoins do not qualify – So, I oppose bitcoins,” explains Block.
I favor 100% backed (by a commodity) currency for reasons that Rothbard and Mises have written about, over and over again.
One particular Austrian economist who dislikes bitcoin is Gary North. In fact, North believes “bitcoin is the second biggest Ponzi scheme in history” in one of his controversial essays. North discusses the primary aspects of what a Ponzi scheme is and how the origin of money works using the Austrian school of economics. North’s anti-bitcoin rhetoric has been refuted several times by other economists but the Lewrockwell.com and Mises Institute author has not been swayed.
“I hereby make a prediction: Bitcoin will go down in history as the most spectacular private Ponzi scheme in history,” details North.
It will dwarf anything dreamed of by Bernard Madoff. (It will never rival Social Security, however.)
The author and economist Jeffrey Tucker is the director for digital development for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and a well-known bitcoin advocate. Tucker has written many articles about the prospects of bitcoin, decentralization and digital entrepreneurship. At one time Tucker was a skeptic but soon become a very passionate believer in the cryptocurrency revolution.
“Distributed networks change so much, perhaps everything,” Tucker details back in 2015.
As capital, it is not owned by any one institution, which is amazing. And yet it puts massive economic power into the hands of the individual.
The Irish born Canadian Stefan Molyneux was once a big proponent of bitcoin but has since quieted down about the subject. The anarcho-capitalist now alt-right libertarian is well known for his Freedomain podcasts, books, and YouTube videos. One video called, “The Truth About Bitcoin” is a very in-depth depiction of how Molyneux believes Bitcoin could be a tool to end the nation states.
“If we have a bitcoin universe, you don’t get to print money for war,” Molyneux once stated.
You don’t get to have money for a prison/industrial complex. You don’t get money for a war on drugs. You have to ask the people.
Is Bitcoin Anti-State, Anti-War, and Pro-Market?
There are many more well known Austrian economists and anarcho-capitalists who have a wide range of different views about bitcoin. We really can’t say what Mises, Menger or Rothbard would say about bitcoin with them not being around to witness the internet and blockchain technology. What we can do is formulate our own opinions by reading their works like the Misesian regression theorem, and other theories of what makes money. There are plenty of Austrian economists like Konrad Graf, Daniel Krawisz, and Robert Murphy who believe in bitcoin. It may take a long time for some of these other personalities to accept bitcoin, and some of them like Peter Schiff may never accept it at all.