In 1921, American industrialist Henry Ford proposed the creation of an “vitality forex” that would kind the idea of a brand new financial system — providing placing similarities to the peer-to-peer digital money system outlined in Satoshi Nakamoto’s 2008 Bitcoin (BTC) whitepaper. 

Entrance web page of the New York Tribune dated Sunday, December 4, 1921. Supply: Library of Congress

Bitcoin as an vitality forex

On Dec. 4, 1921, the New York Tribune published an article outlining Ford’s imaginative and prescient of changing gold with an vitality forex that he believed might break the banking elites’ grip on international wealth and put an finish to wars. He meant to do that by constructing “the world’s biggest energy plant” and creating a brand new forex system primarily based on “items of energy.”


Ford, who based Ford Motor Firm in 1903, instructed the publication:

“Underneath the vitality forex system the usual can be a specific amount of vitality exerted for one hour that will be equal to at least one greenback. It’s merely a case of pondering and calculating in phrases completely different from these laid right down to us by the worldwide banking group to which we now have grown so accustomed that we expect there isn’t any different fascinating commonplace.”

The specifics round forex values “will likely be labored out when Congress cares to listen to about it,” he mentioned.

Though Ford was by no means in a position to advance his imaginative and prescient of a fully-backed forex, Bitcoin has seemingly vindicated the concept a century later. Since 2009, greater than 18.8 million BTC have been created via energy-intensive mining that requires computer systems to resolve more and more complicated math issues. This proof-of-work mining course of has drawn heavy criticism over its alleged environmental affect — a short-sighted declare that ignores Bitcoin’s abilily to speed up the shift to renewable vitality.

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Changing gold, ending wars

On the relation between gold and battle, Ford defined:

“The important evil of gold in its relation to battle is the truth that it may be managed. Break the management and also you cease battle.”

A few of Bitcoin’s most ardent helps imagine the cryptocurrency’s sound cash ideas might get rid of battle by lowering the state’s potential to fund battle via inflation. Whereas a gold commonplace makes it tougher for governments to inflate their forex, “worldwide bankers,” as Ford defined, managed the majority of the bullion provide. This means of controlling and accumulating valuable commodities allowed monetary elites to create an lively marketplace for cash, which thrived throughout wartime.

The remnants of the gold commonplace have been deserted in 1971 by U.S. President Richard Nixon, who mentioned his authorities would briefly droop convertibility between {dollars} and bullion. The so-called quasi-gold commonplace would last till 1973, with all definitions linking the greenback to bullion eliminated by 1976. Nevertheless, in impact, the gold commonplace system was eradicated by the British authorities in 1931, with the U.S. following swimsuit two years later.

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The New York Tribune article circulated on Reddit’s r/CryptoCurrency web page on Saturday, the place it acquired appreciable upvotes. Whereas Satoshi Nakamoto by no means talked about Henry Ford in on-line discussion board posts, some Reddit customers speculated that Bitcoin’s creator could have been influenced by the late industrialist. Others jokingly mentioned Satoshi was really Ford’s reincarnate, given the latter’s obvious perception in reincarnation.