Milton Friedman inadvertently points out the limits of Bitcoin

In 1999, famed liberal economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman gave an interview fo the National Taxpayers Union.

The interview is popular these days, because of how Friedman predicted the rise of an “e-cash” that could be used for anonymous, trusted payments online.

And so you can find excerpts of the interview on Youtube, usually with a title that says, “Milton Friedman predicts Bitcoin in 1999!”

However, what I personally found interesting in the interview was something else.

Friedman talked about this future e-cash with enthusiasm, because he believed it would make it harder for government to collect taxes.

In fact, he thought this was going to be the effect of the Internet in general.

Well, it’s now 20 years later.

The Internet didn’t seem to really stop the government from collecting taxes.

And it’s quite possible that Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies won’t do so either.

For example, consider the big crypto news from two weeks ago.

The IRS forced Coinbase, one of the world’s biggest bitcoin exchanges, to hand over details on the accounts of 14,355 users.

In fact, there’s another bit of the Milton Friedman interview that’s relevant here. He says:


The reality is that we’re much less free than we were 50 years ago. Government is bigger, it takes a much bigger fraction of our income, it imposes more controls upon us.


I doubt this is going to change quickly and easily.

If you want freedom, I think you should look somewhere else than to the Internet and Bitcoin (actually, cutting off your Internet might be a good start).

On the other hand, if you’re looking to make money, then by all means, pay more attention to what’s happening in the cryptocurrency world right now, because it could be the biggest money maker since the heyday of the Internet 20 years ago.

Anyways, the entire Friedman interview (not just the e-cash bit) is available online. It’s worth watching, regardless of whether you agree with Friedman in general or not. Here’s the link:

John Bejakovic