Speaking yesterday at an event hosted by the economic think-tank Institute of Economic Affairs, Carswell clarified his view of virtual currencies by way of analogy. As CoinDesk reported, Carswell told the audience:
Bitcoin might be to currency what the ZX Spectrum was to computing. You knew it was something exciting when you saw it, but it took 20-30 years before [widespread adoption].”
Carswell’s point was clearly aimed at drawing attention to the fragile nature of innovation, recalling a time when the U.K. was at the center of the world’s desktop computing industry. In the early 1980s, the ZX Spectrum was one of the first affordable home computers, rivaling the Commodore 64 in terms of practicality and power. Although clearly a trailblazer, the ZX Spectrum was soon forgotten as more advanced, less expensive machines became widely available. Bitcoin may be the first widespread non-government backed currency, as Carswell sees it, but this doesn’t mean it will last.
According to Carswell, the future of payments is actually in corporate-backed currencies. As quoted by CoinDesk:
The intriguing question that will determine the shape of the world is ensuring that every country has access to a multiplicity of reserves […] whether it’s bitcoin, O2 credit, Tesco credit. I suspect [the dominant currency of the future] will be backed by a large company that provides something of utility. A mobile phone company, or a supermarket chain.”