Tag Archives | Currency

PayPal And SETI Are Working On An Off-Planet Currency

off-planet currencyEarthly problems are being spread to outer space. The International Business Times reports:

On Thursday, the online payment giant PayPal announced PayPal Galactic, a collaboration with the SETI Institute aimed at developing new payment systems for the final frontier. The frontier is here: Virgin Galactic is launching its first public flight this Christmas, and space hotels could be in orbit around Earth as early as 2016.

“As space tourism programs are opening space travel to ‘the rest of us,’ this drives questions about the commercialization of space,” PayPal President David Marcus said. “One thing is clear: We won’t be using cash in space.”

There are lots of questions about what form a space-friendly money system might take. Will spaceships and habitats have the communications technology needed to transfer money? How will banks manage accounts for people living off-planet? How will government financial regulations pertain to people in space (perhaps to curtail a new kind of “offshore banking”)?

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Bitcoin Currency Tops $1 Billion In Total Value

Are we living in a video game? Quartz writes:

Digital currency bitcoin continues its remarkable and somewhat inexplicable run. It’s up 152% this month, and today the total value of all outstanding bitcoins topped $1 billion for the first time before settling back down.

That’s quite a milestone, considering bitcoin isn’t backed by any real asset or faith in any government. What makes bitcoin so maddening to explain—no, there’s no central bank; yes, it really is just a bunch of people creating money out of thin air—is precisely what makes it so powerful.

The estimated margin on “mining,” or creating, new bitcoins has already recovered from December, when the rate at which new bitcoins could be minted was cut in half, part of the currency’s intentionally deflationary design. Anyone, from hobbyists to bankers to thieves, can mine bitcoins, which requires raw computing power dedicated to solving cryptographic puzzles.

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State Government Of Texas Moves To Hoard Its Gold

Does a Texas legislative session resemble a Yosemite Sam Looney Toons clip? Because that’s what I’m picturing. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

Call it the Rick Perry gold rush: The governor wants to bring the state’s gold reserves back from a New York vault to Texas. A bill from Rep. Giovanni Capriglione would establish the Texas Bullion Depository, a secure state-based bank to house $1 billion worth of gold bars owned by the University of Texas Investment Management Co. and stored by the Federal Reserve.

The idea isn’t entirely new. Gold-standard-backing Ron Paul has raised repeated concerns about the safety of states’ gold supplies. “If you think gold is a hedge, or a protection, you always want it as close to the individual and the entity as possible,” Paul told The Texas Tribune on Thursday.

“If we own it,” Perry said, “It’s not someone else’s determination whether we can take possession of it back or not.”

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Arizona Moves To Approve Gold And Silver As Legal Currency

The return-to-old-timey measure follows a similar development by Utah. The Arizona Daily Star explains:

State senators voted [last] Wednesday to make gold and silver legal tender in Arizona. They persuaded Sen. Chester Crandell, a Heber Republican, to give privately minted gold and silver coins the same legal status to pay bills. The proposal, SB 1439, stems from concerns of some that the paper money is losing value.

The U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits states from creating their own currency. But supporters contend that does not preclude states from recognizing coins minted by private organizations. The legislation would not require anyone to accept these coins.

Crandell acknowledged his legislation probably is unworkable, for now. So he agreed to delay its effective date until after 2014, giving lawmakers a chance to work out any of the kinks. A final roll-call vote is needed before the measure is sent to the House.

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Greece’s Cashless, Euro-Free Currency Working

HermesReports Jon Henley in the Guardian:

In recent weeks, Theodoros Mavridis has bought fresh eggs, tsipourou (the local brandy), fruit, olives, olive oil, jam, and soap. He has also had some legal advice, and enjoyed the services of an accountant to help fill in his tax return.

None of it has cost him a euro, because he had previously done a spot of electrical work – repairing a TV, sorting out a dodgy light – for some of the 800-odd members of a fast-growing exchange network in the port town of Volos, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki.

In return for his expert labour, Mavridis received a number of Local Alternative Units (known as tems in Greek) in his online network account. In return for the eggs, olive oil, tax advice and the rest, he transferred tems into other people’s accounts. “It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services,” said Bernhardt Koppold, a German-born homeopathist and acupuncturist in Volos who is an active member of the network.

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13 States Considering Alternative Currencies

gold“We don’t want yer Yankee dollars ’round these parts.” CNN writes that a string of state currently have a crush on the idea of of gold and silver-based money:

A growing number of states are seeking shiny new currencies made of silver and gold. Worried that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. dollar are on the brink of collapse, lawmakers from 13 states, including Minnesota, Tennessee, Iowa, South Carolina and Georgia, are seeking approval from their state governments to either issue their own alternative currency or explore it as an option. Just three years ago, only three states had similar proposals in place.

The Constitution bans states from printing their own paper money or issuing their own currency. But it allows the states to make “gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” To the state legislators who are proposing state-issued currencies, that means gold and silver are fair game, said Edwin Vieira, an alternative currency proponent and attorney specializing in Constitutional law.

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Man Arrested For Paying With $1 Million Bill At Wal-Mart

Walmart-Million-Dollar-Bill-MugshotTo you, this may be a case of a mentally ill person at Wal-Mart. However, I see it as highlighting the implicit absurdity of money, and an admirable insistence on defining one’s own reality. Winston-Salem Journal reports:

A Lexington man is accused trying to use a fake $1 million bill to pay for his purchases at a Walmart.

Michael Anthony Fuller, 53, of 3 Parker St., walked into the Walmart on Lowes Boulevard in Lexington on Nov. 17. He shopped for a while, picking up a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other merchandise, totaling $476, an arrest warrant says.

Fuller was later charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument, both felonies, court records show. A warrant says of the fake million-dollar bill: “There is no such thing.” The largest bill in circulation is a $100 bill.

Lexington police Sgt. Shannon Sharpe said the case is unusual.

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Occupy George: Fix Your Money

Occupy George is a (presumably illegal) attempt to convey the reality of wealth distribution in the United States to the public by adding pertinent information to paper currency and circulating it as needed. Now your money will have informational as well as purchase value. Download their templates or order the custom stamps, and you can begin minting your own Occupy George bills at home:

Money talks, but not loud enough for the 99%. By circulating dollar bills stamped with fact-based infographics, Occupy George informs the public of America’s daunting economic disparity one bill at a time.

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Fiat Money Explained (Video)

From YouTube description: "Despite every effort by governments, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. It is now the biggest it has even been in history. All sorts of reasons for this have been proffered, but few, however, seem to realise that is a simple, inevitable consequence of our system of money and credit. This video, a shorter version of which appears in the film The Four Horsemen, explains ..."
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World Bank: MMORPG Gold Farming Is A 3 Billion-Dollar Industry

Via BoingBoing:
A research arm of the World Bank has produced a comprehensive report on the size of the grey-market virtual world economy in developing countries -- gold farming, power-levelling, object making and so on -- and arrived at a staggering $3 billion turnover in 2009. They go on to recommend that poor countries be provided with network access and computers so this economy can be built up -- a slightly weird idea, given how hostile most game companies are to this sort of thing...
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