A purely private banking system is impossible today. It is worth considering for tomorrow.
The future has a lot of potential awe-inspiring inventions coming down the pipeline. But while daydreaming about these, we shouldn’t forget to be in awe of the invention of fractional-reserve banking. Long before fancy apps, and indeed long before the internet even, it was solving our problems and making our lives better.
Cryptocurrencies are still quite new and seem to just be scratching the surface of their potential. If they are to succeed — not only as a fringe medium of exchange or speculative investment, but as real competitors with government currencies — some new programmers are going to have to come along and make currencies whose digital coins are created in a much different manner than the current ones. Perhaps digital coins whose supply is determined by demand will lower volatility enough to cut the future uncertainty of prices. Those may be adopted as true media of exchange. Until that time, Hayek’s vision of private currencies will not be quite realized.