BBC’s The Real Story Explores the Promise of Cryptocurrency

Apr 21, 2023

Filecoin Foundation Board Chair Marta Belcher joined the BBC’s Ritula Shah on The Real Story to discuss the promise of Filecoin and the future of cryptocurrency.

Belcher began by explaining the built-in economic incentives of the Filecoin network. “Filecoin allows you to write a program that says, ‘Store my files on someone else’s computer, chopped up and encrypted, and then check whether they’re being stored and automatically compensate people for storing my files,’” she said. “That creates an incentive layer, potentially, for a web that is decentralized.”

Asked about the recent surge in Bitcoin’s price, Belcher responded, “The price of these coins is actually the least interesting thing about them. I think that, for me, the value is actually all the cool things you can do with the technology.”

She also talked about the importance of cryptocurrencies for protecting civil liberties. Pointing to the 2019 protests in Hong Kong where pro-democracy protesters waited in long lines at the subway stations to pay for their tickets in cash so that their electronic purchases would not place them at the scene of the protest, she underscored the importance of anonymous financial transactions for civil liberties.

“A cashless society — a society in which all transactions are digital [and recorded] — is a surveillance society,” she said.

Asked about the winners and losers in this new crypto economy, Belcher said, simply, that the winners are individual users. “They’re people who don’t have to worry anymore that traditional financial intermediaries are going to shut off their access to accounts because they don’t agree with what they have to say.”

Belcher was joined in this discussion by Timothy Massad, former Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Garrick Hileman, visiting fellow and alternative currency expert at the London School of Economics; and Catherine Mulligan, visiting researcher at Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research.

Listen to the full session here.