gold, bimetallism, silver, gold standard, bitcoin

When Bitcoin’s price spiked in 2017, so did public mentions of the cryptocurrency, as measured by a Google n-gram plot. When William Jennings Bryan promoted bimetallism during his run for President in 1896, mentions of bimetallism similarly spiked. Noting this parallel, economist Robert Shiller compares the two…

Milton Friedman (1951, 1960) provided influential back-of-the-envelope estimates of the costs devoted to extracting gold under what he called a “strict” gold standard. I have criticized those estimates elsewhere (White 1999, pp. 42-48) for exaggerating the volume of gold reserves used by actual gold-standard economies, and thus…

cryptocurrencies, libra, currency alternatives, currency choice, currency competition

The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, delivered a scathing rebuke to Libra, the Facebook-led digital currency initiative, in the Financial Times this morning. Coming on the heels of several U.S. companies' withdrawal from the initiative after they received threatening letters from Senators Sherrod Brown and Brian…