Michael J. Casey is the chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor for blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative. The following article originally appeared in CoinDesk Weekly, a custom-curated newsletter delivered every Sunday exclusively to our subscribers.

Whether bitcoin or its imitators eventually achieve global ubiquity, they have already achieved success in one fundamental way: forcing humans to rethink their relationship with money and banks. Cryptocurrencies weren’t on the ballot during Switzerland’s “sovereign money” referendum last weekend, in which Swiss citizens rejected by a ratio of three to one a proposal to end fractional reserve banking and give sole money-creation authority to the Swiss National Bank.

But they were the elephant in the room. The very presence of the crypto alternative, I believe, will eventually force economies worldwide to disintermediate banks from money, yet the direct authors of that change won’t be activist voters wielding ill-conceived referenda or crypto enthusiasts voting with their wallets.

The first phase of a transition toward a true “money of the people” will be implemented by central banks themselves, striving and competing to remain relevant in a post-crisis, post-trust, digitally connected global economy. That might disappoint adherents of the cypherpunk dream who birthed bitcoin.

But the good news for those who want governments out of money altogether is that when currencies become digital – and enjoy all the bells and whistles of programmable money – they will foster more intense global competition among themselves. When smart contracts can manage exchange rate volatility, for example, people and businesses involved in international trade will not need to rely solely on the dollar as the cross-border currency of choice. Read more from coindesk.com…

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