Day 160 and Starting with Money

The best articulation of why anyone gives a shit about currencies in crypto (as opposed to just focusing on bigger structural problems of macroeconomics) is that you need foundational layers to build a new economy. You need a currency before you can have an economy. Ryan Sean Adams at Bankless gave me an aha moment with this quote. You need money.

The bankless model is simple: you hold the majority of your crypto wealth in crypto money. Specifically crypto commodity money. Today that means ETH and BTC.

Wealth is different than money. And crypto wealth should be in crypto money. Like yes, we get it, assets get tokenized. Crypto folks are wild for tokens. But that’s more of a DeFi problem. Financialization has allowed us to buy so many cool kinds of financial products that we forget that shit like derivatives were invented by normal dudes who traded soybeans for a living in the 70s.

But we needed soybeans to be traded first. There is an order of operations to setting up an economy. That means a system where folks grow soybeans and sell them, or turn them into another product like oil, or sell their labor as an accountant to the oil company that buys the soybeans. Because we don’t trade soybeans for steak. We trade it for dollars and then we buy a steak to enjoy at home with our spouse and kids. Circle of life! Circle of trade.

So first things first (I’m the realist) we to understand that understand that currency is crucial to the functioning of but also the first step in an economy expanding. We need to read up a bit on the history of money. PBS has a NOVA series that is pretty comprehensive. If you like stories Thomas Levenson’s Money for Nothing is a not-actually-tall tale about how the scientific revolution lead to a financial revolution (plus it has boats). Or learn how Kublai Khan invented paper money which seemed even crazier than a digital currency at the time.

If we start with a digital currency who knows what we can build from there. Balaji believes (and I agree) that it’s the first step in forming a digital country. But money comes first.