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Jeff Porten

Not sure whether gold can properly be considered a nongovernmental currency, as laws enforcing who can own, mint, and mine gold are as old as coinage, possibly older. More accurate to say that it started as a nongovernmental currency that was subsumed by government.

This history might be relevant to Bitcoin as well, since there's no protection against government meddling in the future. I'm pretty sure US law protects Bitcoin ownership in the absence of interstate trade concerns, but I can certainly see other governments outlawing using Bitcoins as a means of commerce. (And I strongly suspect that the US government will strongly promote such laws overseas, depending upon the paranoia of whomever is in office at the time, on the grounds that it promotes crime and terrorism.)

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