Economist William J. Luther speaks at a Praxis event about the future of Bitcoin, a digital currency. Evan Carter | Collegian

Economist William J. Luther said he doesn’t think the dollar will be challenged by the Bitcoin or any other digital currency any time soon.

In the Jan. 9 talk held by Praxis, Hillsdale College’s economics club, the assistant professor of economics from Kenyon College said he thinks Americans will continue to use dollars, even while financial institutions adopt some of the technologies used in Bitcoin transactions.

“I think we will adopt that technology in one way or another, that is we’ll use that technology to process dollar transactions,” Luther said. “Most people just aren’t interested in using some new money and so they won’t.”

The blockchain, which Luther described as a sort of public ledger, distributes transactions across the entire network of currency users without the need for a third party. Traditional financial transactions all require money transfers to go through a third party, making them more expensive.

But while Luther said he doesn’t believe Bitcoin or its competitors will displace the dollar, he said he believes it could be a viable option in countries like Venezuela, where their currency is hyperinflated.

Luther also said Bitcoin may get overtaken by another digital currency in the future.

“I liken it to 1998,” Luther said. “You know search engines are going to take off but which search engine? How many people would have selected Google — I would have put my money on Ask Jeeves.”

Junior Summer Burkholder, who said she didn’t know much about Bitcoin before attending the talk, thought the talk was very informative and appreciated that Luther gave both the pros and cons of Bitcoin. Still, she doesn’t plan to purchase any cryptocurrency.

“I would like to keep my money,” Burkholder said. “Maybe if I was a little richer.”

Freshman James Millius said he appreciated learning how the digital currency actually works.

“A lot of people know it as some esoteric currency that lots of people like to use,” he said. “Actually learning how the currency functions was interesting to me.”

Millius said he would buy Bitcoin, if he had more money, too.

Praxis President junior Emma McCormick said the talk was the first of five talks Praxis is holding this semester. The next will be from Steven Horwitz on inequality and income mobility in America on Feb. 22.

  • Sun Drez

    Evan this is a good article. I will state William Luther is narrow minded and has no insight. Bitcoin will be used for a storage of value and will hit astronomical levels.

    Bitcoin will become the new gold standard.

    Ether will also do amazing as the first regulated and corporate blockchain.

    Anyone who is reads this and does not understand the importance of security will never understand.

    Bitcoin will surpass $3,000 USD this year easily.

  • There have been so many “Obituaries” over the years predicting the death of bitcoin (there is even a website – google it – that so far contains over 100 from “experts”) but each time bitcoin rises renewed and regenerated. The Rat would recommend all Collegians read up as much as you can about this ground-breaking innovation in how decentralisation can verify digital proof of existence without the need for any third party or central authority.

  • Chad Doebelin

    It’s sad that at the talk William just spread misinformation about bitcoin. People left thinking that they can’t afford bitcoin, not understanding that you don’t have to purchase an entire bitcoin, or that they are broken down into satoshi with eight decimal places.

  • Peter Langelaar

    I think he is not as smart as he looks … Banks will drop and why ? They invest money in wars , weapons , bigpharma etc etc …people who are aware about the askinazi jews controlling the world with their banks will go to coins like bitcoin ,zcash etc etc …big elite mafia is behind fiat money that enslaves humanity …we have to get rid of these parasites that rule 99% of the people in the world …. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency is the best option to take down their little game…. Just start this and become your own bank by start mining your own bitcoins.

    • Claudiu Gafton

      Great post! BRAVO

      • Peter Langelaar


  • Emma McCormick

    I think there is a misunderstanding between Bitcoin dying and America replacing the dollar with Bitcoin. Bitcoin will not die, and Luther isn’t arguing that it will. Rather, Bitcoin will not be able to overcome the huge network barrier of replacing the current fiat currency (in other words, because not everyone uses Bitcoin and it isn’t accepted in all transactions, not everyone has a reason to switch to Bitcoin, and they won’t until everyone does, which circles right back to the original problem). The block chain is here to stay, but so is the dollar.

  • Paul Bond

    Made me laugh when comparing to search engines “Google or Ask Jeeves?”

    He forgets that in the 28Kbit modem days, advertising was killing load speeds. Google won because it was *fast* and it was *simple*.

    When you can make a transaction quicker than pulling the correct fiat notes out of your wallet to make a payment will be the day fiat dies.

    I would also argue that the petro-dollar is already dead, it just doesn’t know it yet. If they replace it with a US dollar instead of an international dollar then they can reset their game and start again, but they’ll be several blocks (‘scuse pun) behind it that point.

  • Jan Jansen

    Ive heard the search engine comparison before. Its flawed. There is no penalty to switching search engines, you can use any one you like, you just pick the best at any time as there is no network effect. With crypto, there is a huge network effect. Think facebook. You can make a better social network, but no one will switch to it because the chicken and egg problem. Or, since bitcoin is a protocol, a slightly less flawed comparison would be internet protocols. Sure, some might have bet on gopher, but most would have seen HTTP was there to stay.

  • Russell Spears

    This is what happens when people in big places make predictions about a technology they don’t understand.

    Bitcoin is not going to get replaced by a better coin, because any better coin that threatens Bitcoin will be part of Bitcoins new update.

    Experts have always been capable of providing rationalizations for governments and for other quasi totalitarian institutions..

    If Bitcoin becomes big I would predict that people who did not understand Bitcoin and are related to economics or finance will be irrelevant.
    ….. and this prediction is coming from a nobody

  • Andy Tron

    lol i guess this so called economist guy doesnt know that bitcoin has died 120 times already…

    aren’t these guys tired of being wrong?lol make that 121 times if we include this article lulz

  • Camus53

    Interesting to note so many…so, so many individuals arrested and convicted for bitcoin transactions connected with so many nefarious and illegal activities.

    Want to attract the attention of the US Government…let alone other international agencies? Start dabbling in bitcoins. It’s not “someone is watching you”…more like EVERYONE is watching and monitoring you.

  • DocScrapper

    The headline is misleading. Nowhere in the article does William Luther predict that bitcoin will “die.” Yes, he expresses skepticism about bitcoin replacing the dollar, but he acknowledges that bitcoin “could be a viable option in countries like Venezuela.”