Cash decades from being replaced with Bitcoin-like currencies, expert says

Cash is decades from being replaced by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, a top MIT computer scientist has predicted.

Professor Silvio Micali, 66, is the founder of the Algorand – which is like a public record and space where financial transactions are made using its cryptocurrency, aka a blockchain.

Appearing on the Lex Fridman podcast, he was asked by the host: "It certainly seems that cryptocurrency, all these different technologies, are getting a lot of excitement – not just in our discourse but in their scale of financial impact, a lot of companies are starting to invest in Bitcoin.

"Do you think the main method of store value and exchange value, basically money may soon or at some point in this century will become cryptocurrency?"

He answered: "Yes, so mind you as I said the notion of cryptocurrency, like any fundamental human notion, has to be evolved but yes.

"I think it has a lot of momentum behind it, it's not only static as this programmable money… smart contracts, it allows peer to peer interaction among people who don't even know each other and they therefore cannot even trust each other because they never saw each other, I think it's so powerful that it's going to do."

Prof Micali predicted there will be a number of different crytocurrencies – and corresponding blockchains (the digital ledger book where transactions are made publicly) in use before the 22nd century.

Drawing on his Italian roots, he said: "People want more and more things and there is an Italian saying that translates well I think, it goes: 'The appetite grows while eating.'

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"It's going to be a few blockchains and each one is going to have its own brand and is going to be great at something. Sometimes it's scalability, sometimes it's ease of use.

"I'm working very hard to make sure Algorand is one of them. I don't think it's even desirable to have a winner takes all because we need to express different things but the important thing is going to have enough inter-operability of various systems so you can transfer your assets where you have the best tools to serve what your needs are at the time."

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