15 October 2009

Shake your moneymaker

Amidst much hand-wringing over the slump in sterling over recent months, perhaps it's worth taking a slightly broader view of currency. A good while ago, our ancestors were looking for a medium of exchange to trade goods, and experimented with various things such as furs, stones, iron bars and blocks of salt. All proved to be fairly unsuccessful until gold evolved to be the most practical medium. For many years, most currencies were backed by physical gold, and the price of gold determined the value of a currency.
In today's society, the basic act of commerce has not changed, but entrepreneurs try to find new alternative ways to facilitate transactions. With the help of their new own currency, local retailers in Brixton hope to boost spending in the area, and this is just a recent example of a long list of micro-money and local denominations. There are more than 2,500 different local currency systems worldwide. All for a reason, probably.
The Internet has also created a range of digital currencies to be able to sell and pay for goods online. The Wall Street Journal recently produced a video covering this new world of peer to peer finance which also features our partner Hub Culture’s Ven, the only digital currency that can be used both online and off.
Whether this is the future of currencies, and the future of money indeed, remains to be seen. Clearly, the way we're going to pay for goods in the future is tightly connected to the way we'll interact and communicate in the future. And as far as this can be assessed today, there is an irreversible trend towards an even more digital life as we know it.

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