100 years ago, Henry Ford proposed an "energy currency" to replace gold

In 1921, American industrialist Henry Ford proposed the creation of an “energy currency” which could form the basis of a new monetary sys...


In 1921, American industrialist Henry Ford proposed the creation of an “energy currency” which could form the basis of a new monetary system – offering striking similarities to the peer-to-peer electronic money system described in the Bitcoin 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto (BTC) white paper.

Front page of the New York Tribune, Sunday December 4, 1921. Source: Library of Congress

Bitcoin as an energy currency

On December 4, 1921, the New York Tribune published an article describing Ford’s vision of replacing gold with an energy currency which he said could break the hold of banking elites on global wealth and end wars. He intended to do this by building “the world’s largest power station” and creating a new monetary system based on “units of power”.

Ford, who founded Ford Motor Company in 1903, told the publication:

“In the energy currency system, the norm would be a certain amount of energy exerted for an hour which would be equivalent to a dollar. It is simply a matter of thinking and calculating in different terms from those imposed on us by the international banking group to which we have become so accustomed that we believe that there is no other desirable standard.

Details regarding currency values ​​”will be worked out when Congress wants to hear about them,” he said.

Although Ford was never able to advance its vision of a fully secured currency, Bitcoin apparently confirmed the idea a century later. Since 2009, more than 18.8 million BTC have been created through energy-intensive mining that requires computers to solve increasingly complex math problems. This proof-of-work extraction process attracted strong criticism on its alleged environmental impact – a short-sighted claim that ignores the skillfully to accelerate the transition to renewable energies.

Related: The statue of Satoshi Nakamoto rises in Budapest

Replace gold, end wars

On the relationship between gold and war, Ford explained:

“The essential evil of gold in its relation to war is the fact that it can be controlled. Break the control and you stop the war.

Some of Bitcoin’s most ardent supporters believe that the sound monetary principles of cryptocurrency could eliminate war by reducing the state’s ability to finance conflict through inflation. While a gold standard makes it harder for governments to inflate their currencies, “international bankers,” as Ford explained, controlled most of the bullion supply. This process of control and accumulation of precious commodities allowed the financial elites to create an active market for money, which flourished in times of war.

The remnants of the gold standard were abandoned in 1971 by US President Richard Nixon, who said his government would temporarily suspend convertibility between dollars and bullion. The so-called quasi-gold standard would be latest until 1973, with all dollar-to-bullion definitions abolished in 1976. However, in reality, the gold standard system was abolished by the British government in 1931, with the United States following suit two years later. late.

Related: Bitcoin set to replace gold, Bloomberg strategist says on Bretton Woods 50th anniversary

New York Tribune article circulated on Reddit’s r / CryptoCurrency page on Saturday, where it received huge upvotes. While Satoshi Nakamoto never having mentioned Henry Ford in the online forum posts, some Reddit users have speculated that the creator of Bitcoin may have been influenced by the late industrialist. Others have joked that Satoshi was in fact Ford’s reincarnation, given the latter’s apparent belief in reincarnation.