This is not a prediction, but one plausible timeline out of the many I can imagine:
- Late 2013: The media reports that organized crime, tax evaders, and “terrorists” are using Bitcoin.
- Early 2014: Politicians call for investigation of claims that Bitcoin is being used to facilitate illegal activities. The rhetoric is ratcheted up over the course of the year.
- Late 2014: Bitcoin transactions have grown exponentially for several years. The world’s established financial institutions cannot compete with the lower costs of unregulated financial markets and pressure governments to act.
- 2015: Western governments raid and shut down all the major BitCoin exchangers and effectively kill the currency. Operators are put away for lengthy sentences, while others are found to have cooperated with authorities for some time.
- 2020’s: Bitcoin (or something very much like it) revives on a small scale as an underground currency and slowly grows over the next two decades.
- 2020-2030: The US empire collapses. The EU has already fallen.
China tries, but fails to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. People hoard gold, but governments prevent it from being effectively used as money.
- 2030’s: 3D printing takes off. Established industries attack unlicensed home printing as a violation of their IP. The major non-affiliated (“pirate”) pattern markets are blocked from handling financial transactions, and for a while, a pirate industry matures.
- Late 2030’s: Something very much like BitCoin resurges. This time, it has a killer app: micro payments for 3D printing patterns. Ubiquitous encryption prevents governments and corporations from monitoring transactions and hoarded gold provides the base for monetary exchange.
- 2040’s: With much of the economy being conducted in unregulated 3D pattern markers and most transactions being conducted over BitCoin, the tax base collapses.
- Late 2040’s: Governments seize fiat-denominated savings in a desperate power grab, but fiat money is now worthless compared to an untraceable currency like Bitcoin. Governments attempt to seize real assets to replace lost income, but are met by large-scale protests backed by homemade 3D printed weapons. Mass chaos and violence follows.
- 2050’s: Stability re-emerges, as new judicial systems evolve backed by anonymous transactions. Large states become increasingly irrelevant.
- Late 2050’s: The last stand of centralized governments: politicians call in the military in an attempt to rebuild the surveillance state and kill digital currencies for good. Assassination markets, long used in organized crime, are turned against politicians, as the populace fights back.
“….IT security specialist David Veksler and writer Tim Swanson discuss alternative digital currencies currently being developed and deployed including cryptocurriencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin. In addition, cyber security and hacking issues in China are reviewed.”