Daily Bits – alternative forms of money, governance and glass – June 17th, 2017

My article on CoinDesk this week: Bitcoin, Ethereum and a New Direction for Cryptocurrency Investment.

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From The Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined, by F. A. Hayek:

“Although we usually assume there is a sharp line of distinction between what is money and what is not – and the law usually tries to make such a distinction – so far as the causal effects of monetary events are concerned, there is no such clear difference. What we find is rather a continuum in which objects of various degrees of liquidity, or with values that can fluctuate independently of each other, shade into each other in the degree to which they function as money.”

Airline miles? Loyalty points? Gift vouchers?

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The above made me think a bit more about the story on CoinDesk that I mentioned a couple of days ago, about Kazakhstan’s trial of a blockchain-based mobile app that aims to sell government debt directly to investors.

Could government debt be used as a form of payment?

It’s the only idea that I have come up with so far that would justify using a blockchain for this.

Would this then run as a parallel currency? Or would the government debt currency and the traditional fiat currency morph into one? In the end, is there really much of a difference?

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I find myself agreeing more and more with Izabella Kaminska’s comments in the FT. I’m not sure if it’s me changing, or her. Probably me. How frightening.

Her piece this week on governance issues was excellent. She highlighted what I’ve been ranting about for a while now – that the vast majority of us don’t actually want decentralization. We want to be able to hold someone accountable.

“As blockchains become DLTs, shared databases and permissioned consensus networks, what the techies working on these systems fail to publicly highlight is that much of the time, “advance” means returning to tried and tested paradigms, or reintroducing trusted or governance-focused nodes.”

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Two of my favourite things – books and rocks – with slabs of embedded glass, by artist Ramon Todo. I can’t stop staring, and I so want to be able to pick them up. (Via Colossal.)

by Ramon Todo, via Colossal
by Ramon Todo, via Colossal
by Ramon Todo, via Colossal
by Ramon Todo, via Colossal

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