Bitcoin is as digital as any other money used by modern banks, according to a prominent figure in the U. S. banking system.

In a recent interview with Coindesk, David Andolfatto, Vice President and Research Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, explained why, unlike many of his colleagues, he is interested in digital currency. The Bank of St. Louis is one of the twelve that form the U. S. Federal Reserve System.

“What is bitcoin?” asks Andolfatto and gives an answer: “It’s a protocol, it’s a computer program, it’s a constitution, it’s a law, it’s a legal code, it’s basically a constitution that governs the supply of its money and that governs the processing of payments”. It means there is no essential difference between the bitcoin network and the Federal Reserve System. “The way I view the Fed, and any institution, is it’s basically a computer program. Just like bitcoin, it’s an open-source computer program”.

Therefore, there is nothing innovative in “digital money”. In Andolfatto’s view, since all the money in modern economies is digital. What really matters is the blockchain that he calls a “stroke of genius” and the underlying philosophy. While traditional banks use a centralized system, controlled from the top, the bitcoin network is decentralized and can rely on the enthusiasm of bitcoin fans.

A distributed ledger means that every computer has a copy of all the transactions. If the Federal Reserve banks could adopt the blockchain, the system could be more stable and more transparent. “You could actually see which bank is sending money to which bank on this ‘Fedcoin blockchain’”. Andolfatto does not propose adopting a public ledger now but does not exclude this possibility for the future.

For the Bank Vice President, all current systems are evolving. The Federal Reserve might move towards more decentralization. And the bitcoin network might prove to be not cost-effective enough. Andolfatto does not exclude the possibility of a new system that would be better than bitcoin or Federal Reserve and solve existing problems.