Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A New Form of Currency

In the world of bits where most work is created, stored, tranmitted digitally, the inescepable result is copying someone's work becomes all too easy. Looking at nature's way of finding the "least energy states" we can easily conclude that since rampant copying _can_ happen, then it most likely _will_ happen (and indeed it does). Since we cannot enforce copy protection, we need go in the other direction -- make it very easy for people to "pay" eachother.

The question is, "in what form?".

A payment does not necessarily have to be in hard currency. Let's say we create a new form of currency called Goodwill Dollars. If you like a song, something, someone, you can send him/her bunch of GWD. Anyone can 'generate' this payment out of thin air, and give. I believe assignment of GWD from one to another should not be permanent -- if I sent Mel Gibson 10 GWD for Bravehart for example, I should be able to retract part of it when he loses his shit on Jews.

I am listening to a jazz song by Scott Hamilton right now, and I would like to send this person some GWD. He is jammin' brother. Very good.

Anyway. To make the currency "real", governments can back up GWD with real money, and offer an exchange rate. The important thing though is that people should not have a quota of GWD for giving, they should feel free to give it to anyone, just as in real life, a piece of their goodwill if they feel like it [1].

GWD received will be collected (an Inbox of sorts), and it can also act as a multiplier when you give to someone else. Say Bill Gates is a GWD millionaire, when he gives 1 GWD, its effect is multiplied by his "goodwill wealth".

Xchange rate takes effect for trades on perishable, diminishing items, that is the area of "old" economics.

Any such spending would decrease someone's GWD "inbox".

People indicate this form of goodwill in many ways on the Internet already. On sites like Stackoverflow.com, there is serious community based education taking place, people vote up or down eachother's answers, questions, and you can see people with mad skillz climbing up the ladder in Stackoverflow hierarchy very fast. It's an amazing process to watch -- this needs to be tied in to a form of monetary flow. I claim what is taking place in these sites, ad-hoc communities are more important than our current, backward factory-style, four-walled, classrom, teacher based "modern" schools.

Of course my suggestion is also little self-serving. If such payments are possible, and let's say a dinky little blog like this one is providing valueable advice to Presidents, ex-Presidents, strategists, columnists, "weekly newspapers", then maybe, it can also receive some kind of GWD, and use it for some coffee from Starbucks [whip-cracking noise + winking]. Ha ha ha. Yeah, you know who you are.

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[1] To stop abuse, maybe a system can limit giving of GWD amount from a unique person to another unique person by a certain amount. This way people wont give eachother millions just for the hell of it. Or, limit can be time based, I can give Michael Jackson $100 for Beat It, but then I cannot give anyone else for a month.

[2] People abusing the system by forming cliques of GWD payments can be detected easily. CLIQUE is a typical problem of computer science (NP-complete [3] but solveable). Payments within cliques could be less in value than payments outside of cliques. This could help stop people forming quid pro quo kind of payment structures that are not wholly genuine.

[3] Finding the solution requires the iteration of the entire problem space, but once a candidate is found, verification is in linear time.

[4] "Sending payments to someone" simply based on a name / reputation assumes a uniquely identifiable name can be associated with a real person on the Net. But this problem will be solved pretty soon, if not already. Twitter provides the "Verified Account" service, Google, Facebook can easily create their own solutions.

[5] When payments are in complete digital form and are "smart" we can associate a multitude of logic variations to it -- a payment can have a half-life, be valid for a certain duration, be non-transferable (or not) .. you name it.

[6] The amount of overall GWD in the system (bcz ppl generate the stuff, and population increases) will obviously effect the Xchange rate btw real money and GWD. More GWD in the system means Xchange rate goes down. On the other hand, the increase of GWD rate can be a campaign pledge to people during a democratic election, just like say, the amount allocated to R&D, candidates can pledge they will expand GWD money "pool".

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