Daily Bits – currency, tulips and tables – June 19th, 2017

A fascinating article from JP Koning on his blog Moneyness, on currency:

According to the monetary theorist Henry Dunning Macleod, currency used to be used an adjective, not a noun. Certain types of goods or instruments were considered to be “current” in the eyes of the law and common business practice. They were said to have “currency,” but were not themselves currency.

An item had “currency” if it could not be reclaimed if stolen. Coins, for example, belonged to the holder. (They still do.) But jewellery – at the time McLeod was writing, the 1800s – belonged to the original owner, and so was not “current”. The holder had to be able to prove that he/she had legally obtained the item.

Interestingly, McLeod did not consider bank deposits “currency” since they could not be transferred to someone else (back then). Stock certificates, however, were.

This illustrates that an item didn’t have to be money to have currency (e.g. bonds were considered to be current), nor did it have to be government-issued to be current (banknotes and bills of exchange were privately issued).

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This chart taken from a World Economic Forum post on the future of work is worrying, not for the overall message (because, like, we know), but for the detail offered.

via the World Economic Forum
via the World Economic Forum

I live in Spain (#3 in terms of most-to-lose), where unemployment is already the second highest in the European Union, at over 18% (not far behind Greece, in case you were wondering).

Add that to the almost 12% job loss that the chart shows, and you have an almost 28% unemployment rate. Yikes.

No doubt there will be many jobs created by automation. Someone has to take care of the machines and/or code, after all. But still, ouch.

And yet we hear nothing from the relevant ministries about plans to offset, compensate or handle this.

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Elaine Ou had some pithy observations about the ICO frenzy in her blog Elaine’s Idle Mind (a misnomer if ever I saw one):

“…the money is about as real as unexercised tulip options. Tokens aren’t sold for dollars; they’re sold for ether.”

“Today’s impressive half-billion dollar value is an impractical conversion — You can’t liquidate 1.6 million ETH without crashing the market.”

“The total amount of ether funneled into tokens is but a fraction of the 11.8M ETH dumped into the DAO.”

Worth a read. Unless you have a strong affection for striped tulips, in which case you might find it traumatic.

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A coffee table design based on Princess Leia’s buns??? Okay.

by Zaha Hadid Design, via Dezeen
by Zaha Hadid Design, via Dezeen

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