The Google Wave You Cannot See Cresting Yet

ξFin Wave

The Official “Time as Money” Synthetic Commodity-Based Money Discussion

The Mission

Create new systems for human symbiosis that reduce or eliminate poverty, fraud or exploitation.

About this Wave

This is the first wave I’ve ever created and its first goal is to begin a dialog that sparks the interest of everyone interested in attempting a game-changer in financial systems.

FAQs

What does the ξ represent?
ξ is the currency symbol for “value time” and it defaults to a decimal quantity of hours. These hours are a form of “synthetic commodity” managed by the market with transparent algorithms and transactions. ξ of value created under the same rules are equivalent to other ξ created under the same rules.

ξ40 is “forty hours” of value time—and you could think of it as the equivalent of an American 40-hour work week. “Minimum wage” in ξ is the equivalent amount of wall-clock time. Exclusive skilled labor is typically paid at a ξ-rate greater than wall-lock time. For example, a plumber fixing a sink in a half-hour may charge ξ3 for labor and some other amount for parts as yet undetermined. If you’re earning less ξ than wall-clock time, you’re losing money.

Shared skilled labor is typically paid by a divided amount. A teacher in a class room might work for 1.5-hours with 30 students. What should the teacher be paid? The “minimum” would be ξ0.05 per student, but a skilled and experienced teacher should be paid much more. Since the teacher is a shared resource, the individual rate per student could be ξ0.25 per class, but in the aggregate, the teacher is earning ξ7.5 per 1.5-hour class.
Why not use gold or some other form of commodity like carbon, energy or oil?
In order to “bootstrap” any failed state a universal commodity that everyone has equal claim to was needed. If ξ was based on gold, it would suffer from the universal problem of “auditing the vault”–that is, how do you know your symbolic money is properly allocated according to the “reserves” of the issuing authority? How often would you “audit” the authority? How could you trust the audit? The ξFin solution is to use time as the commodity and use a public transaction stream to document its creation by all of the participants within the market. Money cannot be created invisibly “behind the curtain” and it cannot be created in massive quantities.
How is ξ credit allocated to members?
ξ-credit is allocated individuals according to a simple formula: ξ = ln(unique people). The more people there are, the more ξ there is available per person to initiate trades or buy equity. Credit in the ξFin system is not the same as credit in the legacy financial systems everyone has been using for centuries. To defuse the systemic risk of credit-contraction business cycles, ξ-credit is only limited to each individual and requires no interest payment or return of principal to any other entity. If you use up all of your ξ-credit, you will have to wait for it to “regenerate” back into your account at the same rate everyone else does.
What was the first “thing” purchased with ξ?
The first thing purchased with ξ was a “Moka” espresso pot for ξ1. Since there is no shipping service that accepts ξ yet, the actual cost was ξ1 + shipping, but I just mailed it myself for the fun of it. Some other members of the system bought t-shirts for the “WeAreTheMusicMakers” subreddit.
When does regeneration start?
Regeneration starts when there are enough people in the system to start a diverse interdependent economy. The regeneration formulas replenish credit at a rate dependent on the number of people in the system. With too few people, the ξ made available to the market would be inflationary (too much, too fast). The proposed threshold for regeneration is Dunbar’s number, at about 163 people or the average limit where human relationships begin to break down into “stranger” or “friend” categories in our minds. With 164 people, everyone would see ξ0.196083567 deducted from their used ξ-credit until it reached a zero balance, that is ξ5.099866. The more people there are in a market, the slower the individual rate of regeneration becomes and the change of this rate is intended to be gradual to avoid market shocks. If 20 people join the market bringing it to 184 people, the default ξ-credit available to each person increases to ξ5.214935 and the rate of regeneration decreases to ξ0.191756916. New money is only created if ξ-credit is used by each individual.

Watch This Space: More Concepts To Come

Just writing this wave is a big help in organizing the concepts–if you have any questions, comments or ideas, bring ’em on!

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4 thoughts on “The Google Wave You Cannot See Cresting Yet

  1. Hello Acrylicist,

    I’ve enjoyed your @acrylicist Twitter posts and am glad to learn more about ξFin.

    On a similar note, I’ve been considering a simple path to launching personal currencies.

    Below is a brief description from a posting I recently made on a philanthropically-oriented Listserv.

    I’d enjoy your thoughts/ideas on the approach below and how it might reinforce the ξFin.

    Best,

    Mark Frazier
    Openworld, Inc.
    “Awakening assets for good”
    @openworld (twitter)

    ———- Description of personal time vouchers as a precursor to community currencies —–

    I’ve been wondering whether “personal currencies” may be in our near future, after a thought-providing Wall Street Journal feature ( http://tinyurl.com/luomeo ) and by a recent talk by NYU’s Doug Rushdoff ( http://ff.im/bKFBi ).

    Their insights, I think, point to opportunities for preserving healthy trade and exchange relationships in a world increasingly at risk from:

    – runaway inflation and/or financial collapse; and

    – rising unemployment as a result of crowdsourcing of knowledge-based services, and automated production of physical goods.

    It struck me that there may be a fast track for individuals to speed the introduction of alternative currencies, on a basis that benefits good causes in their community.

    I’d love to have comments on and improvements for the idea before we dive into a pilot in our rural community here in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

    In essence, the approach is:

    1) Prepare personal vouchers

    This would involve printing out and individually signing personal vouchers committing to do a specified number of hours of work for the recipient of the voucher or his/her assigns. The issuer would choose how many personal vouchers to issue in (for example) 1 hour, 5 hour, and 10 hour denominations.

    Each voucher that a person issued would be recorded on a web site along with a profile of the recipient.

    The issuer’s profile would set out the skills and type of work on offer through the voucher, along with experience, reference, and feedback-based reputation scores for prior work actually performed via the voucher system.

    2) Donate the issued vouchers to local good causes of the issuer’s choosing

    The next step would be for the issuer to give the vouchers to local nonprofit organizations that the person wished to help. These organizations would then make use of the vouchers directly, in cases where the person’s skills were a good fit for their needs.

    If the nonprofit organizations wished, it could also pass on the vouchers to third parties (e.g. to employees or vendors who agreed to accept them) as a way to reduce out of pocket operating expenses. The monetary value of the vouchers used in such “offset” cases would be worked out after the third party had looked over the skills and reputation of the issuer (links to the issuer profiles would be on the printed voucher).

    Should a financial crisis – inflationary or deflationary – proves to be in the cards, communities that move ahead on reputation-backed personal currencies (along the lines anticipated decades ago by E.C. Riegel) may fare better than those that put full faith and trust in fiat currencies. They may also be better able to withstand scenarios that could include confiscation of gold, silver, or other precious metals.

    Launching personal currencies on a basis that helps philanthropies and good causes from the outset may provide a further measure of insurance against political risk. Or so is the hope…

    Any observations/suggestions on how to launch — and scale — such an initiative will be very welcome!

    Best,

    Mark

    • The personal voucher for time-denominated amounts of labor seems like an interim step between simple barter and a full medium of exchange with money. The kind of labor is tied to the voucher which makes it a less than ideal medium of exchange, but combined with the directory of available services, useful for bootstrapping an economy that’s experiencing a hard-stop/currency crisis. Printing the vouchers will force the producers to evaluate the value of work they perform. In a scenario where confiscation of the medium of exchange is rampant, these reputation currencies will survive until the vouchers are outlawed (good luck enforcing that, State.) The important part of these vouchers is they’re a credit-based currency issued without interest, that is, 10 hours of labor isn’t paid back with 1 hour interest if someone is holding a voucher, its simply, 10 hours of labor. In ξFin the credit account gives all participants a limited amount of time to spend–if it was to a voucher, you could say that there was a realization of the value of the labor performed and the provider having done the work, recieves a real medium of exchange of ξ (time) not associated to any kind of fixed labor. It would prevent the issuer of the voucher from becoming overwhelmed with work they couldn’t possibly perform, if they were foolish enough to issue 500,000 hours of vouchers–the issuing of the voucher shouldn’t be where the creation of new money originates, but it would be useful in advertising a service, a kind of labor-coupon.

  2. Interesting concept. Have a look at Transformational Logistics – an umbrella term for logistics in the developinga nd emerging world. See: Blog at http://transformationallogistics.wordpress.com/ This is a wave waiting to break…

    Back to your value time thoughts – for every supply chain there are a number of variables in terms of skills and resources needed to generate an output. Take carpets. Made up in the mountains or out in remote villages; rugs will end up on sale in High Street stores and Shopping Malls throughout the developed world. Same with textiles; honey; cocoa; … Now, what is the time value element to this story all along the supply chain. Very different in the “informal” economy versus the “formal” economy.

    Any thoughts?

    • The time value of improved resources cascades down the supply chain reflecting the real cost of goods–except for the cost of the actual resources, which is a different problem. Taking the carpet example and going with natural factors (wool, hemp, cotton) we have to add up the costs of growing, harvesting and processing just the raw factors before it even begins to become “carpet.” I think in most cases, farmers in the “informal” economy mostly sell their factors at a loss (in terms of time) because of the market’s perception of “unimproved” raw materials when it should be highly valued in the sense that if the farmer is paid well, the farmer will be able to reliably produce more product without strife. Culturally, if we insist on paying “fair price” for these factors/products we reduce the number of negative externalities involved in transactions. I’m no expert in how carpet is made, so I couldn’t guess how much a final product might cost after everything cascades.

      If you knew that it took someone in Honduras 1 minutes to make a pair of socks, wouldn’t you rather be able to pay them 5 minutes because you didn’t know how or didn’t have the time to do it yourself? (Even that is “cheap” relatively to most people considering that they don’t have the tools or supply-chain ready to make their own socks and again, I don’t have the cascade of values of coming from raw cotton, carding, spinning, looming, etc.) Currently, the average these people get paid/hour is something like $0.38, so if they were only making $0.006/pair today, they’re essentially slave labor without a master. By valuing it in terms of time, transactions become simpler–no exchange rates required.

      Its a big cultural shift from “explotation” of the maker on the mountain or remote village when you insist they are paid fairly–valuing it in time makes it easier to evaluate. The pricetime of raw resources still follows supply and demand, when demand is high, the price will be higher.

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