The Story of Money
Has it ever occurred to you that stories sound like store-ies? Stores-of-value. Beginning to end, stories are investments that we create and curate over time. They're everywhere around us, shaping both our subjective and objective realities. Stories also create network effects - just look at money, the most successful story ever invented and told by human beings.
"Not everybody believes in God, not everybody believes in human rights, not everybody believes in nationalism, but everybody believes in money, and in the dollar bill."
by Yuval Noah Harari
Compelling stories do indeed go a long way in attracting and sustaining resources. So if you're wondering why cryptocurrencies are on the rise, look no further from the power of mathematically-backed stories contained in whitepapers. They're rooted in objective reality, but still layered with stories nonetheless. This is all it takes for any currencies to have value. We believe. We buy into stories.
This is why Steemit's previous "Submit a Story" button has always fascinated me. Now, it's just "Post", as if to make the truth as invisible as the technology underlying our experience of the network. So here we have a kind of money that is social, and one that revolves around stories. It's beautiful. The story of Steem is compelling enough from whitepaper to implementation that people from all around the world have been buying into it ever since, mostly through derivatives of the original story.
From Bitcoin to Steem, all it takes are a small group of people united under the language of words and mathematics to make a difference. For Steem, the whitepaper was powerful enough that the founding community went on to build the platform, curating and investing in the stories of early adopters along the way. From zero to hero, the network has now grown way beyond the genesis story. This says something about money: we invest in stories, and stories have network effects.
This is the reason why I've been pushing out the message that every individual should have their own currency. It's simply because we all have our own stories and trust networks. We are social animals and we express ourselves. Smart Media Tokens are just convenient ways for us to plug our stories into blockchain networks, operating alongside others in parallel. Stories in form of money and content are required to propagate through networks to grow in value, which is why the Steem protocol is suitable for such a process. It has the right form and function.
Back then, money was about "In God / Government We Trust". You see this printed on national currencies all around the world. Now with cryptocurrencies, mainstream belief is beginning to shift into this story: "In Mathematics We Trust". Ultimately, money is all about "In Stories We Trust". So if you're trustworthy and believable enough, who knows? Maybe your SMT might end up being worth something. Let your story be known.
I've been meditating in this rabbit hole for awhile now and losing quite a bit of sleep lol. It's exciting because soon, everybody can get involved. Here are some of my broad thoughts on SMTs:-
We can bootstrap without any initial crowdfunding. Proving ourselves over time may work better in creating value for our own SMTs.
Frictionless experience is required, just like the iPhone. A Steem-like currency helps. At some point, people don't even have to know what currencies they're acquiring.
SMTs could be the unifying currency and gateway for any individual's capital, displacing traditional methods of donations, tips, and patronage.
A hub of SMTs should be integrated into our profiles / wallets / dashboards. Personal sites, with the right form and function might come back into favour in light of personal SMTs.
The major difference between individual and collective SMTs: degree of control over the currency. If I have my own coin, ultimately I am the main creator and curator of my social network.
Personal currencies wouldn't work out alone and needs to operate along with a variety of other currencies to exchange value. Collective currencies have a more distributed stakeholdership and it serves the commons rather than any specific individual. Certain individuals may be great contributors of value in their own ways, but may fall short if they're relying on collective currencies that may be thoroughly abused (but also dependable because we can rely on others to do the actual work). In that sense, individual currencies may be part solution for maximising one's creation of value.
If you think that my line of thought is ultimately flawed, please try to wake me up.
- In The Future, Everybody Will Have Their Own Cryptocurrency
- Notes on Token Design Philosophy
- iSMT: Propelling Cryptocurrencies Into The Ethers of Mainstream Consciousness
- Why Everyone Missed the Most Mind-Blowing Feature of Cryptocurrency
- What’s keeping cryptocurrencies from mass adoption?
- The iPhone’s smartphone revolution in 4 graphs
- Smart Media Tokens Whitepaper