Money has been something that’s always fascinated me. Not in the sense that I’ve been obsessed about getting it — though I do what I can to get as much of it as I can.
No, the thing I’m fascinated with is our obsession with the idea of money.
Money is just really an object that is a promise to someone. I have a $10 note, and in giving you this note I promise that it’s worth whatever I’m getting in exchange for it.
Let’s say I’m buying a hat. And the merchant prices their hat at $10. Their idea is this hat is worth $10. Part of that is materials they’ve had to buy to make it, part of it is their expertise in making it. Part of it is the extra they feel they deserve for selling the hat. The amount they want as extra to help get more money.
My idea is that by giving them my $10 note I too believe that hat is worth $10. Hence I’m happy to pay $10 for it. Therefore we have a meeting of the minds. I think the hat is worth $10, the merchant wants $10 for it, we agree to exchange this little plastic note for the hat.
But for many people $10 might seem a rip off. They might not think that hat is worth $10, they might think it’s worth $5 and only be willing to pay $5 for it. They could offer the $5, but the merchant will likely decline.
In this case there’s no meeting of the minds. Your $5 little plastic note is insufficient for the hat. No deal.
Someone else may feel like $10 is an absolute steal. They might have been willing to pay $20 for the hat. But at $10 they feel like their money is getting even better value. They decide to buy the hat for $10, feeling like the merchant has left money on the table.
Again, a deal is done.
We all place value on things in different ways. In my household I’m apparently notorious for placing more value on goods that have electricity running through them. Whereas I’m told I should place a little more value on things that make the house look nice.
I’m a work in progress…
Nonetheless we all know what money is — or at least we think we do. But we’re all also taught over decades that the money in the bank is the only money we need. We’re told the financial system can be trusted.
But it can’t. It’s flawed and it’s failing. And money as we know it, the idea of money is rapidly changing in the technology revolution of the 21st century.
Back to the future
On July 2013 I wrote an article for the publication Sound Money, Sound Investments. It is a former publication from Port Phillip Publishing that Greg Canavan was at the helm of.
Here’s what I wrote:
‘Future generations are going to grow up in a vastly different world to what we grew up in. What we determine to have value is not the same as what the future generations will value. The world 15 years ago is so different to today even that it’s nearly irrelevant.
‘When you grow up in a world where a Bitcoin is already a legitimate form of ‘money’ then you know no different.
‘It might now be something that happens overnight. But a slow shift towards a new reality of what the definition of money is, is already underway. Money as we know it is shifting and our reliance on its traditional form will be very different in the next 20 to 30 years.
‘Our near future might be one not with government controlled currency but a range of digital currency. It could be Bitcoins, but also perhaps Amazon ‘Coin’, Facebook ‘Thumbs’, Apple ‘Seeds’. The world’s largest currency cross rate could be the Amazon Coin and the Google Gollar?’
A bit later in September 2013 I wrote another piece on ‘money’ in Money Morning’s ‘Scoops Lane’, a special premium edition of Money Morning Port Phillip Publishing used to publish.
Here’s what I wrote then:
‘Imagine being on train to work. You’re browsing through an online store on your phone. You see a great bargain, 75% of shoes. But you left your wallet at home. Hang on a sec, you don’t have a wallet anymore. Why? You don’t need one. You simply add the shoes to the checkout basket, click pay, and one single button pops up. It says, “Autofill with Facebook”.
‘You click the button, confirm the payment, you’re done.
‘That’s what we’re calling the end of money as we know it. But you might say, well no, I’m still using credit card details or bank account details to make my purchase. And it’s all being done in Australian dollars.
‘That’s true…for now. But how hard would it be for Facebook to start providing its own form of money for people to earn? What if for every Facebook ad you click on Facebook rewards you with 0.05 Facebook Dollars? After 100 ads you’d have $5. After a year you might have $50. Your kids might end up with $100 each. The family combined might get to $500.’
But it was in the August 2013 monthly edition of Revolutionary Tech Investor, titled, ‘There’s No Need to Sign for That Sir…the Tech Future of Money’ that things got far more specific.
‘In today’s world, you connect with other people more than ever before. You can Skype relatives in Europe, Vietnam or South America, while buying shirts from an online store in the UK. At the same time you could be watching an Italian football game while sitting in your local café ordering a coffee and lunch through a system operated out of the US.
‘It’s as easy to transact with people in three, four or five different countries as it is to buy lunch at a local store. This type of interaction still feels novel today.
‘But future generations will grow up in a vastly different world. To them these transactions will be the norm.
‘For instance, what happens when the value of a digital currency (such as a Bitcoin) is as valuable and useful as a bar of Gold? Or even more valuable…and more useful.
‘What if kids’ pocket money wasn’t a $2 coin, but a Facebook Credit? What significance would a $2 coin have to someone who doesn’t need to use it? And where would they use it if the only way to pay for things is electronically? And what if digital money became completely private, independent of nations and borders?
‘Rather than Aussie dollars, British pounds or euros, you could use Amazon Chips, eBay Bits, or Facebook Dollars.
‘Think about it this way: Facebook [NASDAQ: FB] has over 1.2 billion users — more than three times the number of people who use US dollars. Apple’s [NASDAQ: AAPL] iTunes has 400 million active accounts — more than the number of people who use euros. Amazon [NASDAQ: AMZN] has over 182 million active users — three times the people who use British pounds. Google’s [NASDAQ: GOOG] YouTube service has over 1 billion active users per month — more than three times the number of people use the Brazilian real.’
That was six years ago, what happens over the next six?
To me, six years ago the idea of a company like Facebook creating their own digital currency wasn’t wild. It was inevitable. When you combined the development of bitcoin and cryptocurrency at the time with the huge network value of a company like Facebook, or Amazon, then the vision of this future was clear as day.
The idea that the creation and dissemination of currency wasn’t at the hand of central bankers, but huge networks and the peers on those networks — that might sound wild even today.
But to me, six years ago this was the future we were (are) marching towards.
In my view when we look at what’s happening now, it’s playing out exactly as I had predicted six years ago. To be fair I expected a time horizon of around 10 years. So realistically we’re already ahead of schedule.
The future of money is simple, it’s not how you know it today. It’s corporation backed and issued digital currency, it’s reward and equity and utility tokens. It’s bitcoin, Ethereum, it’s cryptocurrencies used as giant decentralised networks.
Money won’t be paper, plastic or even the code that makes up the fractionally-backed numbers in your Netbank account. It will be a whole new world of money in different digital forms, all accepted, some more widely than others, but they will all be — they all already are today — money…just not as you know it.
Of course, my predictions from six years ago have played out quite perfectly. And along the way we’ve made recommendations to subscribers in stocks and crypto that have seen more than half a dozen 1,000%+ winners.
My next six-year cycle is just beginning. I believe we’re assembling a buy list of stocks that will not only achieve just as good an outcome, but smash it to pieces. If you want to find out more and join us on this revolutionary technology journey, click here to find out more.
Editor, Money Morning
PS: Bitcoin buyer’s guide: everything you need to know to buy your first bitcoin today. Click here to find out more.