by Antonio Fatás and Beatrice Weder di Mauro

Do you value bitcoin in dollars or dollars in bitcoin? Few serious economists imagine that the new cryptocurrencies, for all the hype, will make national currencies redundant. By and large they are right, because conventional money actually does a pretty good job. The U.S. dollar and other reserve currencies have historically performed well as a medium of exchange and as a store of value—the two principal functions of a currency. Bitcoin and its derivatives perform poorly on both accounts and will not disrupt money as we know it.

But that doesn’t mean that new technologies aren’t going to usher in a lot of disruption to the financial system. Traditional ...

Get HBR Insights Web3, Crypto, and Blockchain Collection (3 Books) now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.