There is no shortage of articles waxing aloof about how Bitcoin is just another example of a very few people controlling a very large percentage of an impossibly scarce object. Others argue that the carbon footprint of Bitcoin mining is so excessive that the last coin will require all the energy of the Sun to finally extract. Finally, Bitcoin are not backed by real form of productivity, instead, they are backed by the “the full faith and credit of the issuing algorithm”…. and, we all know how that goes.
What if all three of these problems could be solved quickly, cheaply, and permanently? Suppose then that every person was represented by his or her own colored coin? As such, each person owns all 21 million shares. Proof of work is, in fact, a real proof of having created something through thoughts or actions managed through smart contracts in the block chain protocol.
You don’t need to understand the mechanics, except that your currency is backed by your true net productivity. Simple.
But the plot thickens. A person with 21 million shares can give those shares to another person in exchange for something valuable. The holder of the shares now has it in their best interest that the issuer is successful in life so that holder may enjoy increased valuation as the issuer’s coin become scarcer. Of course it would be wise to diversify one’s holdings so an investor would try to hold as many different coins representing as many different people as possible, you know, in case one of them gets hit by a bus.
Talking about busses, it would be in the best interest of society to make sure that public transportation is safe and efficient because at any given time, they carry a valuable collection of social agreements to their collective proof-of-work event – an social analogy to a block chain itself.
Now if we were all issuing currencies to each other and it was in all of our best interest that the other is successful, then a “generalized reciprocity” of favors, exchanges, and values would emerge in society. The value of one’s community would reflect on the value of one’s personal coinage and vice versa. The incentive to innovate new ways to create value in a community would be staggering having an impact on everything from governance to medical care. The highest impact humans would become wealthy as everyone invests in their coinage. Volatility would be reduced as everyone learns to be high impact as well.
Not unlike any talented actress or gifted athlete, a form of human agency would emerge where some people specialize in the support and representation of high impact persons. Teachers for example, would forego tuition in exchange for a dividend in their student’s future productivity. Mentors would “cash in” their world experience by teaching people how to be successful instead of competing to the death (literally and figuratively). The things that people would build and create will reflect things that are useful to their stockholders.
So as we look at the Block Chain Protocol for social utility far beyond Bitcoin, consider that the current flaws may be the future cures in disguise for some of our own deepest societal failures. Do not overlook the implications of an economy where the intangibles become tangible. This fact alone will measure into existence trillions of “units” of invisible value that are nowhere to be found in current accounting balance sheets. That may be the fastest and most practical way to pay off the debt we owe to ourselves and our planet.