Bitcoin: A Future Global Reserve Currency? An Exploration of Possibilities

Tayler McCracken
Tayler McCracken
Published on
Bitcoin Michael Novogratz

Guest post by Tayler McCracken, Editor-in-Chief of the Coin Bureau, full bio at the bottom of the article.

Though still in its infancy, blockchain technology has already sparked multiple revolutions, prompting global economists, Bitcoin enthusiasts, and some of our brightest minds alike to ponder Bitcoin’s potential as a reserve currency. From decentralized Web 3.0 and DeFi challenging Technofeudalism and financial monopolies to Bitcoin as sound money shielding us from fiat devaluation, crypto dons many capes, offering a framework that could advance humanity.

Studies and articles highlight growing financial literacy among the general public and showcase that younger generations are becoming increasingly financially savvy at younger ages when compared to previous generations. This trend aligns with younger generations also being the primary holders and users of cryptocurrencies.

At least 1 in 4 Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X invest in crypto
Image Source: Investopedia

Search trends for terms like “what is inflation” and “interest rates” are soaring compared to prior years, suggesting that global monetary and fiscal policies and how they impact investments have piqued the interest of both the broader demographic and Bitcoin holders.

Before exploring the fascinating possibility of Bitcoin playing the role of a reserve currency, we must first clear up some misconceptions surrounding reserve currencies.

Reserve Currencies: A History

A reserve currency is any currency held in large quantities by central banks and major financial institutions on “reserve” for investments, trade, debt obligations, or influencing exchange rates. While many people believe the US Dollar is “the” reserve currency, the truth is that it is just one of many reserve currencies, albeit, the dominant one by a considerable margin.

Since commodities like oil are priced in and traded in US dollars, central banks worldwide are required to stockpile substantial USD reserves for global market transactions. Here’s a look at the reserve currency holdings by the end of 2023, showing the quantities of each currency held in global reserves:

Allocated Reserves by Currency for 2023Q4
Image Source: Data.IMF.org

Central banks stockpile currencies in reserves for several reasons:

  • Currency Stability– Holding foreign currency reserves helps central banks maintain the value of their domestic currency without the risk of exchange rate fluctuations. This helps stabilise the economy.
  • Currency Value Management– Some central banks hold reserves to keep their domestic currency weak in order to make exports more competitive. Japan is a notable example here.
  • Meeting International Financial Obligations– Reserves enable a country to meet its financial obligations such as facilitating cross-border payments, easing international trade.
  • Investor Confidence– High foreign exchange reserves can assure investors of a country’s ability to withstand economic hardships and maintain currency convertibility.
  • Diversification– Just as individuals diversify investment holdings, central banks do the same on an international level.
  • Liquidity Management– Reserves provide liquidity that central banks can use to meet short-term cash needs.

The history of world reserve currency dominance is interesting to analyze as regimes rose and fell. Long before the United States was founded, other countries held the title of issuing the primary reserve currency, dating back to ancient Rome followed by Byzantium and Florence. The countries that held primary reserve currency status since 1450 can be seen in the chart below:

Global Reserve Currencies since 1450
Image Source: etftrends.com

Looking at the chart, we can infer that dominant reserve currencies seem to have an approximate 100-year lifespan. While officially crowned in 1944, many argue the dollar reigned from the 1920s. If true, the Greenback’s century may be coming to an end.

Many economists agree the U.S. dollar has entered its final years before losing global reserve status, as all predecessors did. Legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller, lauded for his historical and economic insights, believes the dollar will be dethroned within 15 years, stating:

“I can’t find any period where monetary and fiscal policy were this out of step with economic circumstances, not one.” (Source)

War, new alliances, inflation – many factors can contribute to the demise of a currency’s reserve status. We’ll explore what toppled the US dollar’s first domino, with irresponsible monetary expansion in recent years only accelerating its demise.

Interestingly, excessive coin debasement and inflation contributed to Rome’s fall – their primitive “money printing” was a case of reducing the amount of silver and gold in Roman coins in order to increase the money supply and fund government spending. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

As Marcus Tullius Cicero lamented in 55 BC, conversations today bear a striking similarity, echoing the past. The U.S. dollar and British pound devaluation charts show a remarkable resemblance.

Silver Content of the Roman Denaius
Image Source: Business Insider

How Did The US Dollar Achieve Dominance?

To understand the dollar’s rise to global dominance, we must rewind to WWI’s dark days. Desperate to keep the war machine running, allies turned to Uncle Sam for supplies, paying in gold. This made the US the world’s largest holder of gold, backing the dollar’s strength for years to come. But let’s skip ahead to WWII.

While Europe, Britain, Japan and Russia were left broke with destroyed infrastructure after the war, the U.S. emerged with its economic powerhouse not only intact but thriving. The war had decimated hundreds of cities and crippled manufacturing output. The USA was essentially the “last man standing” industrially and as war never reached US soil. The costs of rebuilding never burdened the US economy.

Economic Impact of War
Image Source: economicshelp.org

With an intact economy and overflowing gold reserves, the U.S. was the only country coming from a place of economic power, resulting in them being the leading nation to call the shots at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944. This established the dollar as the new global reserve currency, with the Greenback on the gold standard.

By WWII’s midpoint, countries were already tapped out from funding the expensive war machine. Still reeling from WWI, many European nations needed to borrow serious cash from the United States to keep fighting.

Take the Anglo-American loan for example – a massive $3.75 billion bailout from the U.S. to the U.K. at 2% interest to continue the battle. With their homelands ravaged, countries had very little in terms of funds left for rebuilding. The U.K.’s national debt skyrocketed as they scrambled to pay for two world wars and post-war reconstruction.

UK National Debt- Percentage of GDP since 1727
Image Source: Economicshelp.org

After the war smoke cleared, the U.S. was sitting pretty on a mountain of cash, the world’s largest gold stash, and a robust economy. The US economic boom post WW2 was attributed partly in thanks to their role as the leading creditor during the war years and also the most impressive home front industrialization effort in history.

This momentous manufacturing blitz was sparked years earlier by FDR’s New Deal policies which strengthened the economy. Add to the equation returning soldiers entering the job market, along with the G.I. Bill’s incentives, and it was like injecting American industry with rocket fuel – unemployment plunged as the economy soared.

Using this new economic might, America promoted even more spending and growth, shifting to a consumer-driven economy the war-ravaged world could only dream of. This further propelled the U.S. to the top of the global economic podium.

Roosevelt signs the G.I Bill 1944
Roosevelt signs the G.I Bill 1944 Image Source: Wikipedia

The American economy was flexing unrivalled strength, with the U.S. GDP at one point making up an astonishing 50% of the entire world’s economic output! So when the leaders from 44 countries gathered at the 1944 Bretton Woods summit, crowning the dollar as the new global reserve currency king was the only option. Participating nations pegged their exchange rates to the gold-backed U.S. dollar, considered rock steady by the gold standard’s rules, allowing other countries to stabilize their currencies by pegging to the dollar.

The End of the Gold Standard

By 1971, the U.S. dollar no longer glittered, nor was it backed by gold. As the U.S. ramped up the money printer to bankroll the Vietnam conflict, nations became concerned about America’s excessive printing and spending habits. The mass exodus from the greenback to gold became so severe that Tricky Richard Nixon had to step in and decouple the dollar from its golden backing, leading to today’s floating exchange rates.

This pivot point only accelerated the decades-long decline that saw Uncle Sam’s fiat steadily losing its lustre, as the illustration below shows.

Purchasing Power of the U.S. Dollar
Image Source: visual capitalist

Even after ending the gold backing, the US dollar kept its title as the world’s top reserve currency. Countries already had massive stock piles of it and it remained the most liquid and stable way to exchange value globally. Instead of gold, the dollar was now backed primarily by faith in the economy, credit, and ultimately, the US government’s ability to generate revenue.

The Dollar Erodes

the dollar kicked off its multi-decade accelerated decline after getting off the gold standard in 1971, with no signs of recovery. Many believe the greenback could’ve eventually bounced back if not for two black swan events driving the final nails into the coffin of not just the U.S. fiat system, but global fiat currencies.

First up was the 2008 financial crisis forcing the Fed to unleash the biggest fiscal stimulus package in history. Some reports state an estimated $498 billion was injected into the economy to rescue the teetering financial system. Then just 12 years later, the pandemic hit, and the money printers went into overdrive again with over $6 trillion pumped into the lockdown-stricken economy. Today, many argue that there is no coming back from that kind of excessive money printing with many calling out the government for irresponsible and reckless monetary and fiscal policy measures.

Recent Balance Sheet Trends
Image Source: federalreserve.gov

The 2008 financial crisis, which we never fully recovered from, endless funding of wars in the middle east, economy-crippling lockdowns, irresponsibly low interest rates that promote over-borrowing, foreign aid and now skyrocketing inflation levels – it’s a dire economic cocktail that has the dollar stumbling faster down the road to ruin.

As nobody can foresee the future, meaning its pure speculation, there is an increasingly heated debate among politicians, economists, central bankers and historians: Just how much time does the faltering greenback have left as the world’s reserve currency?

While no future outcomes can be known for certain, the writing is on the wall that the dollar’s chokehold on global reserve status is weakening by the day. The question is just how quickly the decline unfolds from here.

“The risk of de-dollarization, which is a periodically recurrent theme throughout post-war history, has returned into focus due to geopolitical and geostrategic shifts.” – Alexander Wise, Strategic Research, J.P. Morgan (source)

We’re already seeing countries make moves to “de-Americanize” or “de-dollarize” – shake off their dependency on the US dollar. The most dramatic example was El Salvador recognizing Bitcoin as legal tender, effectively minimizing their dependency on the US dollar. The Central African Republic also recognizes Bitcoin as legal tender.

Argentina and Paraguay have used Bitcoin for trade deals normally done in dollars while Venezuela has turned to crypto for domestic and global trade. Malaysian officials are trying to legislate Bitcoin adoption and Ukraine has legalized cryptocurrencies to facilitate war donations. And word is, a big de-dollarization wave is allegedly brewing, being led in Central and South America who are among the most crypto-friendly nations. Then, of course, there are also the BRICS nations, being primarily fuelled by the desire to limit US dollar dependency to reduce American “bullying” and imposing its influence on nations.

Russia, China and Saudi Arabia have expressed concerns that the US dollar could lose its preferred status for oil trade, leading to speculation that Bitcoin could be used in place as a neutral medium of exchange.

These charts shows the de-dollarization trend picking up steam with the US dollar’s share in global foreign exchange reserves falling to its lowest level in 25 years in the fourth quarter of 2020 as more nations’ look to cut the dollar’s cord.

Demand for Dollars by Central Banks
Image Source: imf.org

If Not USD, What Else?

In 2009, China proposed moving away from the dollar as the global reserve currency, urging the world to replace the dollar with an IMF-controlled basket of currencies. This seems a reasonable approach as it limits the power of a single nation over another.

In the same year, China and Russia jointly called for a new global currency, advocating to the IMF for a reserve currency detached from individual nations. The IMF, primarily led by the United States has understandably shown reluctance to relinquish control. This may prove shortsighted as countries now move to embrace alternatives in the wake of America’s reluctance to compromise. One alternative has been Bitcoin.

Dollar No More
Image Source: Visual Capitalist

And don’t think it’s just U.S. adversaries looking to reduce dollar dependency. In 2010, a United Nations report called for abandoning the dollar’s sole reserve status. Then in 2019, Bank of

England chief Mark Carney aired concerns about USD dominance being a barrier to global trade – backed by allies like Germany and the EU proposing alternative payment systems, albeit with little progress.

Interest in holding dollars has steadily waned since Bretton Woods collapsed. Stronger currencies like the Euro and Yen have slowly chipped away at the dollar’s dominance over recent decades. This chart shows how global reserve allocations have shifted from the dollar’s peak from 1999 to 2021:

Currency Composition
Image Source: imf.org

One major shot fired in the de-dollarization war was the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) – China’s $100 billion+ initiative to rival the World Bank and IMF, involving 57 founding nations. The U.S. wasn’t invited to this party and is actively lobbying allies against joining due to “governance issues.”

Meanwhile, Russia and others have been stockpiling gold for years in a de-dollarization effort. In fact, according to a Bloomberg report, for the first time in history, Russia holds more gold than US dollars. It looks like much of the world is slowly arming up US dollar redundancy contingencies.

This de-dollarization trend has undoubtedly got the IMF and the western banking cohort concerned. They’ve been aggressively pushing to keep countries locked into the Western-dominated banking system while being staunchly anti-crypto as they prefer a world dependent on dollars.

This is evidenced by their financial support package to Argentina, which came with terms discouraging crypto usage, which is essentially a bribe to stay dollarized. The IMF also released a paper called “The Stealth Erosion of Dollar Dominance” highlighting their concern, though conveniently leaving out Bitcoin’s role as if they don’t want to draw attention to crypto actively taking market share from the dollar. This will likely change in future reports following 2025 once central banks will be allowed to hold up to 2% of their currency reserves in Bitcoin.

Stealth Erosion of Dollar Dominance
The International Monetary Fund’s Paper on the Erosion of Dollar Dominance. Source: IMF.org

The IMF’s paper delves into various factors contributing to the decline of dollar dominance, like dwindling global imports and governments seeking diversification. However, one standout is the surge of “non-traditional” currencies, replacing the USD on central bank balance sheets.

Remarkably, non-traditional currencies on balance sheets have skyrocketed from $30 billion in 1999 to over $1.2 trillion by 2022, a 20-fold increase.

National Currencies Result in a Conflict of Interest

As the dollar’s dominance wanes, the question arises: what will take its place? China’s digital Yuan CBDC seems a likely contender, with Russia also developing its own.

The issue with any nation’s currency as a global reserve is the power imbalance it creates. The U.S. has often leveraged the dollar to coerce other nations, leading to global discontent. This “weaponization of the dollar” has fuelled the desire for governments to lessen dependence and reduce exposure to it.

To illustrate the extent of U.S. economic and diplomatic influence, consider that approximately 88% of wire transfers involve U.S. dollars, given the currency’s dominance in commodity trading. These transactions require clearance by U.S. banks, granting the U.S. government the authority to freeze payments—a tactic employed in enforcing economic sanctions, as seen in the rapid impact on Russia amid the Ukraine conflict.

This situation underscores the ease with which the U.S. can disrupt foreign economies, prompting a global awakening to the risks of dollar dependency. Central banks are increasingly diversifying away from the dollar, favoring assets like gold and alternative currencies.

Central Bank Gold Buying 1971-2019
Countries Are Increasing Their Gold Supplies. Image Source: thecoversation.com

Predictions about the pitfalls of a single nation holding the primary reserve currency trace back decades. In 1959, Yale professor Robert Triffin warned the Joint Economic Committee that this system was destined to fail.

Triffin foresaw the conflict of interest leading to trade deficits and international tensions, a prophecy that has materialized. Given human nature’s inclination toward self-interest and tribalism, achieving a balance between national and global interests proves challenging.

Triffin’s insights on trade deficits have proven accurate, with the U.S. maintaining the world’s largest deficit since 1975. In 2022, the US trade deficit was a staggering $943.8 billion according to Statista.

Which Countries Are Net Exporters And Importers
The US Runs The Largest Negative Account Balance (Deficit) in the World. Image Source: Statista

A more telling example is seeing what transpired as soon as America went off the gold standard:

United States Balance Of Trade
Image Source: Tradingeconomics.com

In just a few decades, America has amassed the world’s highest government debt, transitioning from the largest creditor to the largest debtor nation, plus holding the highest trade deficit. With a currency rapidly losing value, many are concerned that the financial system in the US is broken.

Is Bitcoin the Answer?

Many advocate for Bitcoin to replace traditional currencies as the world reserve due to its decentralized and neutral nature, levelling the playing field and avoiding the currency weaponization seen with governments. But another major advantage stands out.

History shows that all fiat currencies have eventually failed, losing significant purchasing power over time. Even the longest-standing currency, the British Pound, has lost 99.5% of its value over its existence. With the decline of the U.S. dollar in mind, it’s clear that all fiat currencies are on a path towards eventual failure.

Value Of The Pound's Purchasing Power
Image Source: blog.bitstocks.com

A concept that has captured the minds of some of our best and brightest over the centuries is that of “sound money.”

Essentially “sound money” is a currency that is stable in value and maintains its purchasing power over time. The key characteristics of sound money are:

  1. Fungibility – the individual units of money must be interchangeable and capable of mutual substitution.
  2. Durability – the money must be able to withstand repeated use without degrading in value.
  3. Divisibility – the money must be divisible into smaller units.
  4. Portability – the money must be easily carried and transported.
  5. Stable value – the money’s value should not fluctuate significantly due to inflation or other factors that would erode its purchasing power over time.
  6. Difficulty in increasing money supply- no central control to inflate the money supply

Sound money allows money to effectively fulfil its core functions as a medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value. Prior to Bitcoin, a gold-backed financial system was the closest humanity has ever gotten to sound money. Fiat currencies issued by governments have historically not met these values.

Traits Of Money
Image Source: medium/coinmonks

Bitcoin critics are quick to point out that Bitcoin fails in one key aspect of meeting sound money principles and that is its fluctuating value. The counterargument is that Bitcoin’s market cap is still relatively small, which makes these value fluctuations more volatile. Over time as the market cap grows, Bitcoin’s value will stabalize. There is also the issue that Bitcoin is priced in dollars, Bitcoin proponents argue that eventually, we will not see Bitcoin’s value in fiat terms but that assets will be valued in Bitcoin, which will also reduce Bitcoin’s volatility.

Bitcoin’s capped supply stands out as one of its most potent features. Bitcoin cannot be inflated into oblivion as fiat currencies are. You might wonder why governments don’t simply cap their money supply. The answer, unfortunately, is complex and debated among economists and a full exploration of this topic is outside the scope of this article.

In the most simple base of reasoning, countries print money to boost wealth, enhance purchasing power, achieve short term goals and elevate global status. Human nature, driven by greed and power, favors this approach. A capped money supply would necessitate governments to generate value equal to tax revenue collected, challenging the status quo of easy money creation. Many monetary theorists feel that capping money supply would utlimately stifle innovation and growth of a country.

Utilizing sound money like Bitcoin experiences the converse of inflation—the preservation or increase of purchasing power. Its finite supply ensures value retention over time, safeguarding against debasement and fostering purchasing power growth.

Bitcoin price and the Purchasing Power of euor, dollar, and yen
Unlike Fiat Currencies, Bitcoin’s Purchasing Power has Increased Over Time. Image Source: Wermuth Asset Management.

Many anticipate that economies will thrive under sound money frameworks, claiming that when currency remains stable and untouched by governmental interference, trading becomes smoother, savings increase, and prosperity rises. Moreover, the predictability of sound money fosters effective planning for the future, spurring advancements in various sectors, including industrial output and innovation.

Some believe that individuals benefit significantly from a sound money monetary approach, allowing societies to avoid the struggle of keeping pace with inflation that erodes their earnings.

The belief is that when individuals aren’t burdened by financial worries, stronger social bonds emerge, and they gain the freedom to pursue diverse interests, fostering creativity and innovation. The surge in entrepreneurial ventures during lockdowns serves as evidence of this potential. Conversely, when the majority struggles to make ends meet, innovation takes a back seat to survival and we see an increase in social unrest and conflict, which is evident today.

Credit Card Debt vs Savings
Household Debt Increases and Savings Decrease in Response to the Cost of Living Crisis in the US. Image Source: Penn Mutual Asset Management

It’s important to note that this line of thinking about nations flourishing under a sound monetory or gold standard is largely theoretical, and there are only a few historical periods in history that offer intriguing support for the idea:

The golden age of Rome, spanning from 1 BCE to the 4th century AD, thrived under a sound monetary system centred around the Aureus, a gold-based currency. This period witnessed Rome’s ascent to superpower status and saw remarkable achievements that continue to impact society today. Thus, Rome’s golden age stands as a compelling example of the potential benefits of sound money systems.

From 1792 to 1933, the United States operated on variations of a commodity standard, with all dollars backed by gold and silver reserves. This era witnessed unprecedented growth and prosperity, establishing the U.S. as a global powerhouse despite its relatively short history.

Within just a couple of centuries, America ascended to economic superpower status. However, its departure from the gold standard marked a significant turning point, leading to a notable decline in financial health. For compelling visual evidence, check out the website wtfhappenedin1971.

While speculative, it’s intriguing to note that two of history’s most innovative and prosperous periods—Rome’s golden age and America’s early growth—coincided with the use of gold-based (sound) monetary systems. The subsequent declines of both civilizations after abandoning the gold standard raise thought-provoking questions.

How Might the World Look on a Bitcoin Standard?

A Bitcoin-based world would indeed reshape our reality, possibly for the better. Such a system would eliminate inflation, currency manipulation, and government restrictions on bank access, fostering trust among nations and streamlining global payments.

This shift would level the financial playing field, reducing the wealth gap and encouraging saving. Embracing the principles of sound money theory could undoubtedly lead to thriving societies worldwide.

In a Bitcoin-based economy, corporate bailouts would diminish, urging companies to prioritize responsible wealth management for survival. This shift would require corporations to generate value before seeking capital, discouraging reckless borrowing based on speculative promises.

Furthermore, Bitcoin adoption could revitalize global equity markets. Currently, these markets are evaluated in dollars, subject to fluctuations due to money printing by the Fed. With Bitcoin as the standard, valuation analysis would be more rational and consistent, as the unit of measurement remains constant. There is much more exploration we could do on this topic, but I recommend reading The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous as he is one of the leading subject matter experts.

Challenges

It is in our very nature to be resistant to change, and that base human quality extends to broader societies, resulting in a hesitancy to adopt new systems, even when faced with overwhelming evidence that the current system is flawed. When it comes to economics and finance, the reluctance stems partly from the desire to retain control, the comfort of the status quo—despite its fragility—and partly from a lack of understanding of alternatives like Bitcoin.

While Bitcoin offers simplicity and guarantees through its mathematical design, the inertia of governments, fueled by concerns over destabilizing their reserves and the learning curve involved, slows its adoption.

Additionally, the dominance of the dollar, coupled with its liquidity and widespread use in global trade, presents a significant obstacle to Bitcoin’s widespread adoption. Yet, as Bitcoin’s market cap grows, so does its liquidity, gradually challenging the dollar’s supremacy. While the journey to Bitcoin’s widespread adoption may be slow and fraught with challenges, its potential to bring transparency and simplicity to the global financial system remains undeniable.

Bitcoin Price vs Silver Price
Too Large to Be Ignored. Bitcoin’s Value has Surpassed Silver, Meta, and Others to Become the 8th Most Valuable Asset in the World. Image Source: Talk Markets.

This is an evolution that will not happen overnight, yet we are already seeing Bitcoin gaining awe-inducing traction as it has surpassed the likes of the Mexican Peso, Russian Ruble, Australian Dollar, and even Silver in terms of base money value:

Base Money Value In US Dollars
Image Source: Porkopolis Economics

The U.S. bond market plays a crucial role in bolstering the dollar’s status as the primary reserve currency as well. Few countries boast a bond market large enough to challenge the dollar, and Bitcoin presents a wholly distinct alternative. Japan and China are the only contenders with sizable bond markets, but neither has shown interest in replacing the dollar. Japan prioritizes maintaining a current account surplus, while China holds significant U.S. reserves and aims for the same surplus.

The European bond market is too fragmented to pose a challenge. Consequently, the U.S. remains the dominant player, and solutions for Bitcoin to address U.S. bond market dependency are scarce.

World Bond Market by Country
Source

Not only are nations hesitant to give up their places of dominance on the global stage resulting in little desire to adopt Bitcoin, but the digital asset faces another challenge with the emergence of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) from governments worldwide. While the crypto community recognizes Bitcoin’s superiority over CBDCs, the average person may prefer the familiarity of their national digital currency. Without public support and governments favouring CBDCs, Bitcoin’s path to widespread adoption becomes more challenging.

An intriguing possibility arises as governments delve into digital currencies: Could CBDCs be backed by Bitcoin, akin to dollars once being backed by gold? This digital-aged take on having a sound monetary policy makes for an interesting consideration.

As countries race to develop CBDCs and explore blockchain technology, there are currently over 100 countries exploring this digital revolution.

Countires exploring digital revolution
Image Source: Atlanticcouncil.org

While the obstacles to Bitcoin becoming a reserve currency seem daunting, there are indications that its adoption could happen more swiftly than anticipated.

Today, a new digital “space race” is underway, with nations competing for “financial superiority” through blockchain technology. The winner stands to enjoy long-term dominance while losing may mean decades of underperforming. Bitcoin serves as one of the primary catalysts for this race.

Countries like the U.K. and Singapore see the importance and are positioning themselves to become leaders in blockchain innovation. With momentum building, the prospect of increasing levels of government adoption of Bitcoin appears increasingly likely.

Here’s a glimpse at a few global governments that have disclosed their Bitcoin holdings. However, this chart doesn’t capture the full picture. Government agencies from the UK, Germany, Sweden, Bulgaria and others reportedly hold substantial Bitcoin and digital asset reserves seized through law enforcement actions. For instance, Bulgaria acquired 200,000 Bitcoin following an organized crime crackdown in 2017 and the US government has substantial Bitcoin holdings from Silk Road seizures.

Countries And Governments that Own Bitcoin
Leading Governments That Own Bitcoin. Image Source: Cryptonews.net

Final Thoughts:

While nobody claims to have all the answers or knows for sure, many Bitcoin proponents can’t help but ponder the potential outcomes of adopting a Bitcoin standard or making it the world’s reserve currency. It’s tempting to believe that such a shift could lead to a better world, given the fragility of our current system. However, there’s a risk of causing more harm than good if we move too hastily and disrupt the status quo. A significant change in global finance could have far-reaching consequences, some of which we can’t foresee.

We must also acknowledge the immense power of Bitcoin as a technology. Powerful technology in the hands of certain authorities can be used for good or nefarious purposes. While it holds the promise of freeing us from corruption, it could also be used to exert control, as seen with centralized cryptocurrencies like CBDCs.

Crypto founders Vitalik Buterin, Charles Hoskinson, Senators Ted Cruz, Bill Hagerty, and Rick Scott and politicians such as Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Junior, among many others, have all raised valid concerns about the dangers of centralized cryptocurrencies in government hands, with Bitcoin representing a safer alternative. Despite the risks, many remain hopeful about Bitcoin’s potential to benefit humanity if utilized correctly.

While it’s uncertain whether Bitcoin will become the world’s reserve currency, it’s likely to gain significance alongside traditional currencies. As fiat currencies decline, Bitcoin may find a place on central banks’ balance sheets in increasing quantities, especially after 2025 when central banks will be allowed to allocate up to 2% of their reserves in Bitcoin, a number that will likely increase with time.

Finally, the significant impact of game theory on Bitcoin adoption cannot be overlooked. While I can’t delve into the intricacies of game theory here, it essentially examines multi-person decision-making using mathematics to analyze strategic interactions among rational decision-makers. Game theory finds applications in social, logical, and scientific contexts, both on individual and national scales.

Bitcoin stands as one of the most groundbreaking and influential inventions in history. Its game theory has the potential to drive rapid adoption.

Consider the consequences for a nation today if they had chosen to forgo adopting the internet in the 1990s/2000s—they’d be isolated from the global community in almost every aspect. Similarly, opting out of Bitcoin adoption could lead to severe disadvantages, a realization gradually dawning on governments worldwide. Bitcoin’s global adoption rate surpasses that of the internet’s early years, evident in its achievement of a trillion-dollar market cap in just 12 years—an unprecedented feat in asset history.

The Time it took Assets to reach 1 trillion market cap
Image via Visual Capitalist

The risk of not adopting Bitcoin is too significant to be overlooked and we are seeing nation’s waking up to that fact. It’s similar to the Artificial Intelligence adoption trends we are seeing. The world is becoming a more digital and interconnected place and the importance of remaining technologically competitive is among the highest stakes competitions humanity has ever participated in.


About the Author

Tayler McCracken is the Editor-in-Chief of the Coin Bureau, a leading publication that provides cryptocurrency education. Tayler is a seasoned writer, analyst, and researcher with over 6 years of experience in traditional finance and cryptocurrencies.

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Tayler McCracken

Tayler McCracken is the Editor-in-Chief of the Coin Bureau, a leading publication that provides cryptocurrency education. Tayler is a seasoned writer, analyst, and researcher with over 6 years of experience in traditional finance and cryptocurrencies. Formerly a financial advisor at a major bank, he left to pursue a passion for blockchain-based financial education. Recognized as a key opinion leader in the cryptocurrency and blockchain security fields, Tayler is dedicated to providing accessible financial education and has collaborated with industry leaders to share his insights through various publications, reaching a wide audience.