Michael Lewis loves to write about irrational, inefficient and inscrutable economic concepts, but he is not writing about the growth of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum--not yet.

Lewis, author of “Moneyball,” “The Big Short,” and most recently “The Undoing Project,” addressed attendees at the 2017 Schwab IMPACT conference in Chicago on Wednesday, spending some time describing why the “Bitcoin revolution” is not yet a topic he wants to tackle--though it’s not from lack of reader interest.

“People keep telling me that Bitcoin is one of those things that I should be writing about,” said Lewis, who explained that several years ago he was invited to research the Bitcoin trend in Silicon Valley by visiting a house occupied by “Bitcoin revolutionaries” who were mining and trading the digital currency.

“I was asking skeptical questions; they were all smoking weed,” said Lewis. “There was something surreal about it to me. If we started the Bitcoin revolution and did away with government currencies, if you lose your phone and your digital connection, you lose your money. Then, later, if someone says you can have paper money from the federal government, it comes from a bank, that would be an improvement over Bitcoin. Prove to me this is real – what can I buy with Bitcoin?”

Lewis described accompanying the “Bitcoin revolutionaries” on a visit to a local vendor who purportedly accepted Bitcoin, noting that after 30 minutes of trying to pay with the digital currency, he finally gave up and paid with cash.

In the short term, the volatility of cryptocurrencies makes them difficult to use as a mode of exchange, said Lewis.

“Their insecurity as a store of value is a big problem,” he said. “The merchant then has a real problem with this asset exposure” if he accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment.

Still, Lewis said that cryptocurrencies still have some utility, especially for families trying to transfer money across international borders. Lewis also said that the blockchain technology that underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies would lead to other important advancements in financial technology in the long term.

Bitcoin might be more useful in the near term if there were a sudden spike in people’s confidence in the U.S. dollar or the monetary system in general, said Lewis.

“If people didn’t trust the dollar in the same way they don’t trust the Argentinian currency or the German currency during the Weimar Republic, then Bitcoin would be more useful and more popular, but I don’t see that happening,” he said. The best chance for Bitcoin was the election of President Donald Trump, whose populist, economic-nationalist policies could have eventually debased the U.S. dollar.

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