Many people know that the events that inspired what now has become The Ingenesist Project originated with my personal observation and experience of the Mexican Peso Crisis as a visiting professor. Very few people in America realize the implications of a real financial crisis and associated currency collapse. Unfortunately, many people in the World have – perhaps we should listen to their ideas.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
As recently as 1999-2002, Argentina experienced the type of worst-case financial collapse that America narrowly avoided only a few months ago – but that may eventually happen. The simplest reality is that when things go really really bad, people need to continue trading among each other for basic needs using a functional and relevant currency. When things are really good, people need a currency that reflects productivity, not debt – i.e., social capitalism priorities, not necessarily Wall Street capitalism priorities.
It is not surprising to me that great applied currency applications would be coming out of Argentina today. The Whuffie Bank is an exciting new project that introduces a reputation based currency inspired by several science fiction authors of the past, specifically Cory Doctorow. Likewise, the founders of the Whuffie Bank demonstrate the perfect combination of humility, openness, and inquisitiveness that is required in the emerging social media space. Everyone realizes that the Whuffie is not a perfect currency, but the story has to start somewhere and TWB has something important to say.
It’s Time for a Reputation Based Currency
I’ll talk more about the Whuffie Bank as I learn more. First, it would be best to describe the origin of the term. I lifted the following description from Wikipedia:
Whuffie is the ephemeral, reputation-based currency of Cory Doctorow’s science fiction novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. This book describes a post-scarcity economy: All the necessities (and most of the luxuries) of life are free for the taking. A person’s current Whuffie is instantly viewable to anyone, as everybody has a brain-implant giving them an interface with the Net. (Cory’s Blog)
The term has since seen some adoption as a synonym for Social capital, including its use in the title of the Tara Hunt book The Whuffie Factor.