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Digital crypto-currencies like Bitcoin were predicted 18 years ago, an interview from 1999 has revealed. Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman envisaged a future where electronic money would be used to make transactions between anonymous parties online. The bitcoin music rapper eminem economist made the claims during an interview filmed by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. MILTON FRIEDMAN Milton Friedman was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century.

He headed the Chicago School of Economics, a group of economic thinkers associated with the work of the faculty at the University of Chicago. He was a strong advocate of economic liberty, free markets and free enterprise, and opposed the interventionist Keynesian economic policies of the US government in the 1960s. He received a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1976 for his work. He died on November 16, 2006, three years before Bitcoin’s release in 2009. Footage of the conversation has re-emerged periodically on the internet ever since and has recently been shared widely again. Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by a person or group of people operating under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and then adopted by a small clutch of enthusiasts. As the market matured, the value of each Bitcoin grew.

Friedman, noted for his forward thinking on economic issues, made his prediction about the rise of crypto-currencies a full decade before this. Speaking in the footage, he said: ‘I think that the internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash, a method whereby on the internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B or B knowing A. 20 bill, hand it over to you, and then there’s no record of where it came from. Friedman was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, receiving a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1976. Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman envisaged a future where electronic money would be used to make transactions between anonymous parties online.

Friedman studied at Rutgers University, where he majored in mathematics and economics, graduating in 1932. A LOOK AT THE DIGITAL CURRENCY What is a bitcoin? Bitcoins are lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they travel from one owner to the next. They are the basic unit of a new online economy which runs independently of any company, bank, or government. Because Bitcoins allow people to trade money without a third party getting involved, they have become popular with libertarians as well as technophiles, speculators — and criminals. Nakamoto dropped off the map as Bitcoin began to attract widespread attention, but proponents say that doesn’t matter: the currency obeys its own, internal logic.

Dr Craig Wright was suspected as the creator following a report by Wired last year and he has now confirmed his identity as the cryptocrrency’s founder. Like any other currency, Bitcoins are only worth as much as you and your counterpart want them to be. In its early days, boosters swapped Bitcoins back and forth for minor favors or just as a game. One website even gave them away for free. Businesses ranging from blogging platform WordPress to retailer Overstock have jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon amid a flurry of media coverage, but it’s not clear whether the currency has really taken off. On the other, the total number of Bitcoin transactions has stayed roughly constant at between 60,000 and 70,000 per day over the same period, according to Bitcoin wallet site blockchain. Is Bitcoin particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting?

The Bitcoin network works by harnessing individuals’ greed for the collective good. A network of tech-savvy users called miners keep the system honest by pouring their computing power into a blockchain, a global running tally of every bitcoin transaction. The blockchain prevents rogues from spending the same bitcoin twice, and the miners are rewarded for their efforts by being gifted with the occasional Bitcoin. As long as miners keep the blockchain secure, counterfeiting shouldn’t be an issue.

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Armed robbers broke into a house in a wealthy Home Counties village and forced a cyber-currency trader to transfer a fortune in Bitcoin to them on his computer. Four thugs in balaclavas broke into the house, which is owned by trader Danny Aston and his wife, Amy Jay. They tied up Ms Jay and put the couple’s baby outside in a pram, before threatening Mr Aston with a gun and forcing him to transfer his Bitcoin into their control. The target of the robbery on Monday morning was a trader in the Oxfordshire village of Moulsford, where several episodes of Midsomer Murders have been filmed. Bitcoin is favoured by criminals because it cannot be tracked by government officials, making it extremely difficult to track down the raiders. It exists only in cyberspace and can be exchanged anonymously at the click of a mouse and then exchanged for normal money. Horrified staff and children were locked inside a nearby independent school, Cranford House, as police deployed a helicopter to track the suspects while detectives quizzed locals and trawled through their bins for clues.

I saw four young men in black tracksuits with the hoods pulled up, crossing the road to the property where it took place. They were aged 18 to 25, dark-skinned and super-fit. They jumped over the fence on the other side of the road. I didn’t see either, just the hoodies pulled up.