Bitcoins is the focus of this issue. We endeavour to look at this development in a non-mystifying, even de-mystifying way. The rise of the crypto-currency has been dramatic, but does it point to a new underlying phenomenon, or just a more efficient extension of current thinking.
We begin with the Sign of Our Time, a brief history of Bitcoins as described by Wikipedia. This may not be the most professional of sources, but it gives an informative lay view. The article also touches upon recent developments, in particular its approval as a financial product.
A more mainstream view is offered by the Bank of England, Distributed Ledger Technology, which focussed on Bitcoins in its 3Q 2014 Report. Unlike some treatises on the topic, the item chosen is both technical and in plain English. An explanation is given for the four categories of recent innovations; wrappers, mobile money, credits and local currencies and digital currencies. This is complimented by a brief history of money and payment systems.
In A Flawed Propotype, Ben Dyson, a proponent of ‘Positive Money’, completes the description with a piece that also highlights Bitcoins flaws, as he sees them. The article expands on these three flaws before contemplating a way forward through the numerous alternatives undergoing constant development.
In World Economic Money, Sebastian Bilboa asks if Bitcoins – or rather crypto-currencies in general – provide a means for realising the associatively managed one-world economy that Rudolf Steiner describes as the true economy for our times. To this end close attention is paid to lectures 12 to 14 in Steiner’s economics course asking if the development of crypto-currencies would also provide a useful foundation from which to tackle concrete and abstract challenges arising in Steiner’s economic paradigm.
AEX Page this month considers relativism with an in-depth exchange between participants over the merits or otherwise of alternative sources of ‘Steinerian economics’. The continuation of this discussion can be found on the AE-Exchange, details of which are included at the top of the article.
The Rare Albion Blog rounds off the issue with its consideration of Glass Steagall V2, a discussion of twin money looking at monetary sovereignty and the consequences of making our money problems tractable.