All posts by Alexandra Coym

EcoDollars – Colin & Alexandra

This week we began speaking about need-based economic models (food stamps initially, and then other theoretical, fixed value assets). We expanded upon this in thinking of the implications of value based systems upon climate change and the potential for incentivizing economic activity that benefits short term and long term ecological stability.

We thought through several scenarios around the concept of EcoDollars – a value system based on the ecological status of a city/country/region:

1. What if for every purchase you make with EcoDollars for a product, you retain some monetary value, which incentivises you to spend your money on ecologically friendly products.

The core idea here is that we thought about was the infrastructure costs of building higher sea walls, disaster prevention, etc. These are vastly more expensive than incentivizing purchases of ecologically sound products that if purchased en masse, could at least minimize the acceleration of climate change. From a purely fiscal standpoint, it’s more expensive to pay for the aftermath of a Hurricane Sandy etc every decade than incentivizing change in social behavior in aggregate.

2. What if you you has a currency that could be used like a normal currency for everyday transactions but the inflation rates were based, again, on how sustainable a region is doing.

Essentially we are considering an alternative system for taxing companies, but instead of focussing on creating constraints and regulations in the market, we incentivize the public and in essence give them the power to decide how heavily the factories that primarily responsible for environmental problems would be taxed (hypothetically).

Here are some of the questions we have and additional elements of consideration:

  • What are the benefits of the additional currency?
  • Do we want to avoid just thinking of a traditional currency with a tax on climate negative purchases?
  • What is the value for the end consumer actually comprised of?
  • Who owns and operates it? Crowdsourced or GOV sponsored or agency NGO?
  • What do we need to consider about building another currency on top of an existing currency?

Bitcoin and the Block Chain

What is Bitcoin trying to be?

With the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, supposedly having been found in California these last weeks, it came up a lot in our discussions as a group where the concept for Bitcoin came from and where it is today. This prompted us to take a closer look at his original paper and better understand what his vision for Bitcoin was. According to the original white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is intended to provide a safe mechanism for internet-based payment that doesn’t rely on a centralized trust authority. Nakamoto articulates three problems with the current way we complete online transactions: transactions are reversible; small, causal transactions are impossible because of fees; and they rely on trusting a central third party. While these complaints are not completely apolitical, I find it interesting that Nakamoto seems less interested in providing a substitute for centralized currency at large, and more with finding a viable alternative to how we conduct financial transactions on the internet (the two are obviously connected, but not the same).

Continue reading Bitcoin and the Block Chain