I've never been to SXSW, but I imagine that all the smart people talking about smart ideas and getting all smart with each other is nauseating. Still! If I had been in Austin yesterday, I probably would've enjoyed this Bitcoin presentation that included a heavy dose of accounting history from Jake Benson, founder of LibraTax:
Benson, in a bravura performance filled with self-deprecating humor about accounting, argues that Bitcoin is “just a system of accounting, nothing more.”
Benson, after walking through highlights of the 7,000-year history of accounting, noted the fundamental transforming moment — the “most important day in accounting history” — the 14th-century invention of double-entry accounting by the Italian Luca Pacioli.
The so-called BlockChain system of computer records that underlies Bitcoin’s use is just a form of ledger deriving from the same principles as the double-entry ledger of 700 years ago.
In concluding his talk, Benson mused about whether BlockChain could be the beginning of something big in accounting: a triple-entry ledger. “BlockChain gives us a public book of all Bitcoin transactions,” said Benson. “What if there could be another public book, beyond just Bitcoin,” meaning a ledger that would tally and keep public all transactions, including traditional real currency.