Could Bitcoin Solve the US National Debt Crisis?
Obligatory Disclaimer: I am NOT a financial advisor, and none of this advice should be taken without speaking to a qualified professional first. Further, do NOT invest more than you’re willing to lose, and do your own research first.
In 2008 I started debate club. Right around that time, the US national debt was about $7 trillion. People tried to create visual pictures to help me understand that number (like stacking one dollar bills from here to the moon and back), but it never worked. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around “trillion.” Still can’t.
Now, regardless of who is to blame, the US national debt sits at $21 trillion, and is still on the rise. If you’d like to raise your blood pressure a bit, you can watch it skyrocket on the US National Debt Clock.
I’ve turned over in my mind countless times ways that we could solve this problem, and I’ve asked plenty others their opinion on the issue. The Fed believes continuing to print money is the solution, but the futurist in me points to Venezuela as an example of printed currency gone wrong.
But what if there were a way that a non-human controlled entity could issue money at a set rate from now on? Milton Friedman thought something like that was a good idea way back in 1999:
“We don’t need a Fed,” Milton Friedman says, twirling a letter opener as he speaks. “I have, for many years, been in favor of replacing the Fed with a computer,” he adds. Each year, it “would print out a specified number of paper dollars” to augment the money supply. “Same number, month after month, week after week, year after year.”
Unfortunately, Friedman died on November 16, 2006, just a short two years before Satoshi Nakamoto unleashed Bitcoin’s genesis block to the world. If he would have lived just a bit longer, Friedman would have been able to witness the rise of a trustless system eerily similar to his turn of the century wishful thinking.
The reality of today’s situation, however, is grim. Merely implementing Bitcoin as a replacement for the Fed wouldn’t be enough to dig the US out of the massive hole into which it has fallen. So what’s our solution? Is there one?
A few days ago, I took to Cent with this specific question in mind. You can see the original post here. I asked the question:
“If the US Government put a bounty on the US national debt, how would you solve it?”
Personally, I believe that the cryptocurrency community is one of the most innovative crowds on the planet, and I think one way it’s highly efficient is through utilizing bounties, hackathons, etc. These leave the creativity and method of success up to the client — true freedom of thought, if you will.
With that in mind, let’s suppose that the government announced the following:
“The US federal government will pay X amount of money to the person who can most efficiently, quickly, legally and inexpensively pay off the US national debt. Open to any and all plans.”
I’d like to know 1) how much would you charge, 2) what currency would you like your bounty payable in, and 3) how you would accomplish this bounty. If you’d like some inspiration, check out the responses in the Cent thread. A few simple thoughts for you to consider:
- What if the USG incentivized miners to set up Federal Mining Rigs. Suppose those in charge of maintenance and set up got to keep a percentage of what they earn?
- What if the USG hired crypto traders specifically to chip away at the national debt, perhaps with a similar fee structure?
- What if the USG gave tax breaks on cryptocurrency to anyone who contributed to solving the national debt crisis?
Just think about how much has been done in the crypto community with little to no resources. Decred bootstrapped an incredible product. YT has made herself famous for cryptographic puzzles and is pioneering in the gaming space. Bitcoin itself was built on little more than an idea, and now it’s a force that cannot be ignored.
I firmly believe the crypto community can solve nearly any problem to which it puts its collective mind. In the face of China, Japan, and even more recently Iran exploring the ways crypto could make their nations stronger, wouldn’t it make sense for the US government to turn inwards to its own citizens for help? Especially those who are so concerned about individual freedom that they’d start their own currency network?
America was founded on the idea of freedom and liberty that the crypto community espouses. It’s time our politicians wake up and broaden their horizons. Solutions are out there — but they’re not going to volunteer themselves.
How would you solve the US national debt crisis, or the financial problems of your own country? Let me know in the comments!
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