Money with a purpose

Author's note: This article is part of an ongoing blog about my adventures in the world of alternate currencies.

There is a new crypto on the block. It's called UFO coin, and it has attracted the interest of the extraterrestrial believing community. Several famous publications have already contacted the development team because they want to write articles about the coin. If you enjoy reading about UFO sightings, and you believe that one day we will make contact with beings from another planet, then you now have a cryptocoin tailor made for you and your compatriots.

I personally am not into the whole UFO/extraterrestrial scene, but there was one thing I noted about UFO coin that I do find very interesting, even exciting. The Bitcoin PR Buzz press release mentions plans underway to build “a community website similar to which will pay users in UFO for contributing stories, news, sightings and videos.”

Did you catch that? Someone wants a website with lots of cool content about aliens and UFO sightings. In order to entice readers to contribute, he or she will pay contributors. In order to come up with the funds to pay them, he or she has simply invented a currency in which to pay them.

It's a similar story with Datacoin, except the flow of pay goes the other way. The project is this super secure redundant cloud data storage. Anyone can upload a file to the Datacoin block chain and it will remain there, with copies on every single miner's home computer, for ever. This kind of storage is not free; you pay for it with Datacoin.

The Next network is developing decentralized, encrypted SMS chat and other social networking features which won't have to go through anyone's centralized servers where it could be hacked into by malevolent creatures such as certain kinds of extraterrestrials. The NXT coin almost seems like the something you need in order to garner the interest in maintaining that network, which is again maintained on users home computers–at least the ones who manage to keep it working properly.

I've shared some of these stories with my dear husband, and he's getting some interesting ideas about creating a cryptocoin that would aid in the translation of ancient manuscripts. I think it would work a little bit like Google's ReCaptcha program, only there would be a reward of the crypto paid out to those who filled out the challenges or maybe those who used those challenge boxes on their websites.

There is one common theme going through all these cryptocoins, both the ones in existence now and the ones which are at this time mere ideas. In each case, there is both a coin and a project for that coin to fund or otherwise support.

We tend to think of money as neutral, as if it were this medium of exchange that just happened to be developed or just evolved for no particular reason other than to facilitate complicated trades. That's how most people view fiat money, anyway. But if you read any of the well researched exposes on money such as G. Edward Griffin's The Creature from Jekyll Island you will quickly learn that money is not necessarily neutral. The money itself can be developed and directed in a certain direction with a specific agenda in mind. The working theory of people like G. Edward Griffin is that our monetary system, as much as it is based on debt, is designed with enslavement of the majority of people in mind. This, of course, would be a much more sinister purpose to money, and reasonable people can disagree on whether or not this is actually the case. But I do think that it is well worth considering that money itself may actually not be neutral and that it may very well have been consciously developed with an overall agenda in mind.

It just means that when the UFO people decide to create a coin with at least part of the purpose being so they can pay people to contribute to the UFO-related information, or when the Datacoin people create their coin so that people who want to store files in its block chain have a way to pay for it, these developers may very well be in good company. In a sense, they have become money masters. Rather than submitting as slaves to the fiat monetary system (mainly playing by its rules), they have simply created their own money which better suits their agendas.

A little over two years ago a visionary computer programmer who goes by Unthinkingbit wanted to be able to pay artists, programmers and developers for contributing open source work. Everyone knows that artists often don't make ends meet, and certainly not when they just give away their work, which is essentially what open source means. The fiat monetary system simply doesn't have a way to easily reward open source work or even art in general. Rather than fret about how to come up with enough money to pay everyone who was interested, Unthinkingbit simply created his own money, setting it up as a cryptocurrency to be merge mined with Bitcoin but where the majority of the generated coin would go to people like me. Rather than writing a bunch of grants trying to convince benefactors to pay these artists and developers he simply invites investors to buy and hold this coin telling them that just by doing so they are supporting these artists and developers, and all the work they do. In other words, he set up the system to allow people motivated by self interest to play a crucial role in supporting these worthy projects.

Unthinkingbit's cryptocoin is of course Devcoin, and it just might be the cryptocoin that frees me up from some of my own personal crushing debt. They say when you take the money issue off the table for people, they are then freed up to be truly creative. Devcoin's ability to do that is based on various factors beyond its control which include the Devcoin/Bitcoin exchange rate and the Bitcoin/fiat exchange rate, as well as the number of places which will accept Bitcoin or Devcoin in payment for needed goods and services. Nonetheless, what the Devcoin project has started is significant: a megaproject made up of a bunch of smaller projects involving the development of useful and interesting open source work and the actual money to pay for it all bundled together. Money with a purpose.

One day, when there are enough Devcoins out and they are worth enough to add up to a significant market value (and I'm not sure exactly what the actual number is), Devcoins will be used to fund a project to build a spaceship. This will give a somewhat more literal meaning to the cliche which is used for alt coins which experience a steep and sudden surge in value on the currency exchanges of “going to the moon.”

It makes me think about things that I do in my own community which I consider to be valuable, or things I'd like to see done. I'm thinking about various kinds of humanitarian efforts which are always bogged down by limited resources and manpower. And I wonder about the possibility of inventing a cryptocoin to essentially fund these efforts. OK, I'm not a programmer and I don't know the first thing about how to set up blocks or program their intervals and difficulty levels so I'd need to partner with someone. Anyway, I'm a long way from doing anything like that. But it does make me think about resources differently. Accomplishing what I want to accomplish could be as simple and complicated as changing the money.

In the mean time I'm happy to have found a form of money that is a very good fit for my skill set. It's actually quite possible that the money I need has already been invented and that I've already discovered it. Even money designed with a specific purpose in mind can and does get used to fulfill many other purposes and agendas. After all, it wouldn't be money if it didn't.

Devtome Writers | Economics | Cryptocurrency

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