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The future of money, from the institutional side

Some interesting links gathered here about a conference organised by Swift, and a look into how they are looking at innovation in the money space.

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I think it is valuable to bear in mind that when the Payments industry talks about the future of money what it means is the future of payments. Payments and money are very closely intertwined but the difference is critical for those like me who want to envisage a different future for money itself.
SWIFT and the big institutions are perfectly happy to continue assuming that money is and only is hard, legal tender money. That makes payments difficult and expensive which means lots of revenue for them and not so many threats to their cartel.
The banks making up SWIFT cooperative collectively own all the payment rails and there is no alternative but to use them for all but the most parochial of payments. This is one reason why Bitcoin must never be allowed for legal tender transactions, and why they are hard at work building their own blockchain!
So we need to be having our OWN discussion about the future of money (and payments).

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Well said! That’s an important point to make.

ps: I am a big fan of your work and your philosophy of gifitvism, which I try to implement myself. Where are you standing now in the credit commons building process?

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Hi Steven thanks for asking.
I’m not building the credit commons now because I have neither the money nor the skills to do it alone.
Instead I’m working towards it in the following ways

  1. Upgrading CES to drupal 8, open sourcing the code
  2. connecting my drupal software to the CES clearing server
  3. Preparing a white paper for publication next month, which I would like to be as widely read as possible.
    The first white paper deals with the monetary theory and justification for it, the second with possible technical approaches.
    Contact me privately if you want to preview the first.
    Matthew
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Thanks for the answer, Matt!

I’m not educated enough to be able to give you any kind of useful feedback on it, I fear. But if you post the link on the forum when it’s ready, I will be happy to learn about it. Very exciting idea.

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So we need to be having our OWN discussion about the future of money (and payments).

@steven @matslats thanks for the references, I totally agree. I recently attended the Blockchain Workshops in Sydney and my sense is that there’s a lot of talk about adding “layers” to the blockchain (i.e. ownership layer, trust layer, human layer, etc.) without however questioning its “core”. I believe that it’s still fundamental to discuss the present, future but also past of money, in order to think about the design of media of exchange suitable for the collaborative economy. I myself am trying to wrap my head around these issues. I also find D-Cent very fascinating in this regard.

Matthew – I’m really excited about the credit commons, would love to read your white papers when they’re ready.

Cheers
Laura

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Hi @lotti and @steven I’m throwing open the credit commons white paper to anyone to read and comment.HERE
Enjoy!

Fantastic, thank you @matslats !

Wait, I’m afraid the link doesn’t work…

ok link is working here

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@matslats @lotti I made a new topic for comments on the white paper -> Credit commons white paper

Very difficult topic, I guess if it would be easy we wouldn’t need to talk about it so much. I noticed on the recent MoneyLab in Amsterdam a few people were saying “perhaps we should stop thinking that inventing a new type of money or exchange system will make all our problems go away, and accept the fact that all money comes with some issues.”

Do you think that is a valid idea, @lotti ?

Great, thank you!

@steven yes, it’s a tough topic, and I don’t have many answers myself (still learning to ask the right kinds of questions…) I agree that a new kind of money wouldn’t make all our problems go away, but to me that sounds like giving in to the evolutionary tale of an economic teleology as an unstoppable law of nature: “we can’t do anything about it, so let’s stop thinking about it.”

I recently read The End of Finance by Massimo Amato and Luca Fantacci (this) – it traces the history of money and finance from the GFC backwards and shows how the current monetary and financial system is the result of a series of contingent decisions taken at institutional level throughout history. It also shows that the current monetary architecture of medium of exchange + unit of account + store of value comes from very precise political decisions. It really helped me look at money from a different perspective and start to break it down in its separate components. If anybody has read it too, would love to hear their thoughts.

If instead we look at money as a technology, something inherently artificial, perhaps new possibilities open up in terms of design and reengineering, especially in the case of “digital money”. Sure, every tool comes with its trade offs but perhaps it is a matter of trying to fail better? I am still grappling with Robin Hood cryptoequity but I believe it’s about to do something radically new, that perhaps raises other questions but that it’s certainly worth pursuing and experimenting with. There’s always the risk that Crypto 2.0 turns into Economics 2.0, for that reason (human) constraints are important : )

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Totally agree there. I think the general thinking is that we should devise and experiment with as many different types of currency possible to solicit a diversity of behaviours, rather than expecting one type of new panacea money.

Nice book tip! I think this is the other key: to sustain new economies we need new institutions. Will see what I can learn from that.

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The End of Finance was my book of the year!
I suspect that money is a reflection of power and that we can’t really ‘change money’ because it is so collective and so embedded in law.
What we can do is build a new collective which has a different approach to value, exchange and wealth, and gradually put our creative energies in that direction.

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@matslats @lotti If it’s in e-book format, could I borrow the End of Finance from either of you?

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@matslats great to hear you enjoyed it too! I found it very inspiring and really made me understand the role that the money form plays in the perpetuation of a power structure. And I totally agree with your point – if we can’t change a system from within let’s build a new one, through an emergent swarm-like approach and a technology that can accommodate it.

@steven unfortunately I just have a hard copy!

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