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Bitcoin Is Pointless as a Currency, But It Could Change the World Anyway

• http://mprod.wired.com, By Felix Martin
 An ingenious new invention that allows people to make payments across borders without leaving a trace in the official monetary system is spreading like wildfire. Its workings are so clever that few understand them. It’s backed by some of the leading entrepreneurs of the day. The embattled establishment is warning that the state’s right to regulate finance is being undermined.

That may sound a lot like bitcoin in 2014. But, in fact, it’s the story of a much earlier episode of monetary innovation: the birth of modern banking in sixteenth century Europe.

For just like Bitcoin’s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, the bankers of Renaissance Europe invented their own form of money. And their experience, it turns out, can teach us a thing or two about bitcoin. Above all, this can show that bitcoin’s boldest promise lies not as a currency, but as a reboot of the way money works which has its origins 500 years in the past.

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