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The Editors

Bitcoin Isn't the Future of Money

How should central banks proceed with cryptocurrencies? Very carefully.
Not so fast.

Not so fast.

Photographer: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

If the Bitcoin bubble has a redeeming feature, it's that it has started some interesting conversations. One is about whether governments should get into the cryptocurrency business for themselves.

The unsatisfying (though undoubtedly correct) answer: It depends. A cashless future is indeed on its way, and governments and central banks have no choice but to prepare for it. But a cashless future doesn't necessarily require government-backed digital currency. And while the technology underlying Bitcoin and other such cryptocurrencies will almost certainly have many useful applications, replacing physical cash is unlikely to be one of them.