Sir Richard Branson: Bitcoin is ‘the pioneer of a global currency’

These days, it seems that the peer-to-peer decentralized virtual currency bitcoin needs a shot in the arm because the negative publicity it has garnered over the past month or two. Enter: Sir Richard Branson.

Branson, a billionaire entrepreneur who made headlines late last year after announcing Virgin Galactic would accept bitcoins for space flight, reaffirmed his commitment to the digital currency by calling it “the pioneer of a global currency.”

Speaking in an interview in the April issue of Delta’s SKY Magazine, Branson briefly touched upon the cryptocurrency and labeled its creator as “a genius” for producing bitcoins and creating a technological breakthrough. He did concede, though, that there are some flaws in it, including transparency and that nobody knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is.

richard branson“It may not be the perfect global currency of the future yet, but it’s the pioneer of a global currency,” stated Branson.

Is bitcoin the future of global currency or will somebody else establish something better?

Echoing earlier sentiments from other investors and entrepreneurs, Branson argued that the future will likely bring about a successful digital payments method with transparency, such as Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, and his Square firm, a company that specializes in making credit and debit card transactions simpler.

“He’s the kind that’s more likely to come up with the currency of the future that would be completely transparent,” Branson noted. “Maybe using the Virgin Money brand.”

This isn’t the first time that a prominent individual has espoused the possibility of a virtual currency of the future that would perhaps the correct the past mistakes of bitcoin, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies dominating the marketplace today.

Aside from the debate as whether to classify bitcoin as a currency or innovative electronic payment tool, finance and tech experts have speculated that there will inevitably be a successor to bitcoin.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates responded to questions on Reddit in February and projected that the digital currency industry could soar within the next five years and could very well revolutionize the banking system. However, he did not cite bitcoin as being the only tool to perform that function.

“The foundation is involved in digital money but unlike Bitcoin it would not be anonymous digital money. In Kenya M-pesa is being used for almost half of all transactions,” wrote Gates.

“Digital money has low transaction costs which is great for the poor because they need to do financial transactions with small amounts of money. Over the next 5 years I think digital money will catch on in India and parts of Africa and help the poorest a lot.”

We even reported in March that some believe central banks will enter the virtual currency market. Many believe this will transpire because the industry has become both “persuasive and credible” within the past year.

“It’s fair to point out that even with today’s very low interest rates, there’s something very attractive about having your own currency and, basically, those bills that we carry around with us don’t pay any interest at all,” said Peter Warburton, director of U.K.-based Economic Perspectives, an economic consulting firm, in an interview with Newsmax. “It’s free money for the issuing body and so this is a privilege that central banks want to hang on to.”

Whether or not bitcoin will go the way of MySpace or persist as being as dominant as Facebook remains to be seen. Whatever the case, bitcoin will likely be placed in the history books as an important innovation in technology.

  • jerry

    First Bitcoin is Digital Cash (or Currency). The way it is programmed and operates is exactly the same as cash. It is not virtual currency just because it isn’t physical. Dollars are not virtual even though 97% of it are entries in digital form. They must get this terminology right. Look at how bitcoin operates – Jane buys from Joe for 0.5btc but her account has 1btc. The whole 1btc is sent and change in the form of .5btc is received. The same way as if she handed a $100 note and received back $50 note from Joe. This is not like cash, this is cash, albeit digital in nature. Virtual currencies are more properly attributed to miles/game credits etc. Get it right!

    • dude

      Sorry. If Jane has 1 BTC, then she sends .5BTC and has .5BTC remaining. She does not send the whole 1 BTC.

      • jerry

        Hey dude, sorry to disappoint but that’s not right. See, all outputs (here, the 1BTC) must be spent in a bitcoin transaction and change (the 0.5BTC) is received by the sender unlike what people are accustomed to in game credits/centralized currencies or virtual currencies. The blockchain is a chain of ownership title. This is only the tip of the iceberg however.

  • HLTGRP

    Keep in mind that Bitcoin is “programmable money”. So any comments about it not having all the features necessary for a global economy reflect a lack of understanding about how it’s designed. It was designed to be open source. It can be enhanced. Features can be added. Weaknesses can be addressed. That’s the beauty of the first programmable money. Sidechains are the latest innovation in Bitcoin and will allow for unlimited extensibility as far as features go. Anyone who tries to come up with their own digital economy, will not have the world’s largest computing power to back it, and provide the necessary security like Bitcoin mining does. That can’t be reproduced willy nilly. It has to be a fully decentralized, peer-to-peer infrastructure or it will eventually die just like every centralized entity eventually does.

  • Kenton Sallee

    History/Hindsight is 20/20 when mentioning myspace. Using it as a “doomsday” model isn’t accurate but I guess it works. Myspace wasn’t some bomb that crashed immediately; It was a doorway/step toward facebook and BTC could very well be the same. Digg/Reddit is another example…Natural Selection at work. Cool thing is BTC is open source and there are a huge amount of developers making “pull/push” requests, coming up with new ideas (sidechains) etc. BTC might fold tomorrow, but it definitely woke up a huge amount of people. I’m an ex-programmer-turned IT sysadmin and this is the absolute coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I think it takes awhile for the more traditional industries to catch up on the crazy opportunities involved, and BTC might be too bleeding-edge currently but it, like myspace, has opened the door. Things are going to get interesting!

  • Freethinker

    Stop quoting FORBES when it comes to BITCOIN. DO you really trust a magazine who lists the filthiest richest people in the world in a “top” chart — with bitcoin? GTFOH.

    Good for Richard Branson though, that man is a bad mofo!