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.