In brief:

  • Erik Voorhees says the Fed's ability to print money out of thin air makes it like a pre-mined cryptocurrency.
  • Except, says Voorhees, they didn't declare it up front in the whitepaper—and it shows no sign of ending.
  • Shapeshift CEO claims Bitcoin's "real money" characteristics would be able to withstand government intervention.

The Fed’s ability to print money out of thin air makes the US dollar equivalent to a pre-mined cryptocurrency, said Shapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees, speaking at Consensus 2020 on May 11.

Referring to the Fed’s decision to print money in response to the coronavirus shutdown, Voorhees agreed that money printing was the equivalent of a pre-mine in crypto terms. Voorhees said:  “It’s a pre-mine that isn’t stated up front in the whitepaper. It’s a pre-mine that’s ongoing, and no one is clear on how long it will occur, or how big it will be,” adding, “It’s just theft.”

Voorhees’ stated his case for the use of what he terms “real money” like Bitcoin, and said it could withstand global disasters like the current coronavirus lockdown. Voorhees said:


“In a world where people are using real money, it would be one in which viruses could not change the long term relationships of economic actors. In a world where people are using real money–market-based money–the marketplace would be less influenced by governments who are quick to jump into complex systems which they don’t understand, and cannot affect as efficiently as they believe,” he said.

When it was put to Voorhees that the cryptocurrency space might also contain economic actors who don’t fully understand those complex systems, he replied:

“Well with Bitcoin it removes the ability of humans to change the monetary policy. And that’s good, in the same way we don’t have the ability to affect mathematics, we don’t have the ability to affect gravity or the changing of the seasons or how the planets orbit the sun,” he said.

Removing the ability for humans to exercise arbitrary power seemed to be a theme of Voorhees’ talk. The CEO said that while vaccines for the coronavirus may be found, no vaccine will stop government intervention into people’s lives.

“The virus will go away. What won’t go away is the intervention; the habit of intervention. That doesn’t recede, that doesn’t go away when the vaccine is found,” Voorhees said, adding, “I’m not so concerned about the effects of the virus, but of the effects of government intrusion into people’s lives.”


Voorhees said the habit of running to the government for help usually causes more problems than it solves. And he thinks their hold over the apparently pre-mined money supply has to be loosened.

“Something as crucial as money… that kind of thing should not be within the purview of any small group of people to unilaterally change,” he said.

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