The Story of Money

in #life4 years ago (edited)


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.


  1. In The Future, Everybody Will Have Their Own Cryptocurrency
  2. Notes on Token Design Philosophy
  3. iSMT: Propelling Cryptocurrencies Into The Ethers of Mainstream Consciousness
  4. Why Everyone Missed the Most Mind-Blowing Feature of Cryptocurrency
  5. What’s keeping cryptocurrencies from mass adoption?
  6. The iPhone’s smartphone revolution in 4 graphs
  7. Smart Media Tokens Whitepaper

Not to be taken as financial advice.


I think you're the best contributor that I've discovered on this platform yet. Fantastic insights. Resteemed :)

Thanks @louisthomas that means a lot to me. Been a long time subscriber on your channel. Didnt know your up here on this platform!

Excellent post, Kevin.

You got me thinking out personal currencies in a whole different way. I was wondering, what would it be like to have a lukestokes coin? What if I looked over the comment/vote history on my blog over the last year and determined who my biggest fans and supporters are and then created a coin and distributed a bunch to them. I could then have special events or live hangouts where the "entry fee" is a certain amount of that coin. If I created exclusive events/content/products which could only be obtained via that coin backed by the story of being a member of a community, then it's possible they could create a value all on their own as others might want to join that community, even if they haven't put in the time to do so organically. Stories are all about value transfer. We like them because they stimulate our emotional responses and our own ideas about reality. Talking about that transfer of experience in terms of value is quite interesting.

That's quite like Patreon! Also there's another matter of honoring the value of the token. Back when Steemit started a year ago, the period before 4th July was a time when stakes were actually distributed without any real payout (other than expectating that 4th July will be the day when payouts are released). Do you think SMTs can disrupt the likes of Patreon? (well other than the analytics and management features on the platform)

Really enjoyed reading this thought provoking piece! Actually I've just hibernate through a bunch of your old posts and I just really enjoy your writing. Read one talking about your childhood and how you pretended you were in control of the rainstorms. I too did that. I thought that the rain used to come just for me... I also used to think this about the sunset. It was a magical moment meant just for me! What country did you grow up in if you don't mind me asking? Also I what brought me to your page was to say thank you for supporting me and my blog! I really appreciate it! Also really glad I found you... actually you found me but whatever, so I can now follow you and read all your future sharing! Lots of love!

Ah thanks for dropping by and reading through my stuff! Grew up in KL lol. I do follow Keni's blog once in awhile which is how i stumbled on your newly made blog :)

Wow! Not all that far from here! You still live out there? Cool that you found me through Keni! He's one of my favorite people! Always so super supportive! And of course I'm going to show love to the people who support me! Also helps that you are really great writer so thank you for that! ❤️

I think ive got a couple thousand names i remember on steemit lol. Yup im still around although looking to be mobile. Been saying that for a year but difficult having a baby (my dog lol).

Word. Traveling with a baby is fir sure challenging. Though I only have experience with human babies, I'm sure fur babies would have a whole other list of challenges

Excellent post, rare to read something that really shifts your thinking.

I never realized the dollar is the baseline "story" of our culture. Or gold or diamonds, whose "intrinsic" value actually does have to be explained a bit. Gold, we're taught, is pretty because of its shine but valuable because it has the unique property of being slightly more malleable than human teeth, so you can bite it and confirm the metal easily.

Individual SMTs sound ludicrous at first because there would be so many, and it seems immodest to expect anyone to accept the value of your individual coin. But it's the same with many small country currencies like Lao Kip in @world-travel-pro's comment. As you said SMTs would stream together much more efficiently than existing foreign exchanges. It could catch on as a way to financially support people in a much more direct way than Twitter.

Haven't learned yet exactly now ERC20/SMTs work but I guess the risk then becomes protecting your private key for an entire currency rather than a wallet.

SMT is so genious! The revolution of social media!
The quote at the beginning of your post is either so true and sad at the same time.
Trusting a central autority that have the power to decide the value of your wealth is just crazyness.
Bitcoin though, has value but it isn’t controlled by anyone!

Satoshi is the hero of mankind.

The problem is that it is still relatively small compared to world currencies and governments can still destroy it if they want to.

They can dump it again for sure...but there is no way to destroy it

All they need to do is control half of miners.

The 49ers could just fork indefinitely.

Well it's not all that bad since we do depend on society one way or another. It's just that it has gone out of control..

You are deep into the rabbit hole but I think you are definitely not hallucinating, quite the opposite I think you are seeing the future.

I really like how you say that with crypto it's In "Stories We Trust", because this is what crypto is backed by - mathematics and a story or idea.

Having said this though I think that while most crypto is a story today Steem is already something physical and functioning thus if you ask me the value should be much higher then most other currencies who are still just stories some might even be called fairy tales.

tip! 0.5

I guess the main point of steem might be the way it packages story and currency together in a social network. Well most users are passive investors so having to "work" on steem instead of running a mining machine might seem like a daunting task :P

For me it is perfect because I don't think I could set up a mining rig hehe , I prefer grinding here on Steemit.

when you say it packages story and currency together that makes me understand a little better what you are getting and at with the unique nature of Steemit.

Currency is in a sense now being redefined. I mean before we did bartering, changing one thing for another, then we changed different kind of services which we value differently, now we are sharing stories hehe . I really like the ladder form of sharing as I believe that nothing is worth more than good knowledge

True. I don't understand why it came down so fast after the announcements of SMTs. It was up only a few days.

I was totally with you Kevin until you state that everyone should have their own currency. I don't know how well the world would fare with 8 billion currencies, let alone a million, or even 1,000. Maybe a little hard to valuate.

But I'm getting into the crypto world now, better late then never and I believe in the story of steem, bitcoin, and cryptos in general. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case the valuation and growth. As long as the world governments don't unite and drop the hammer on this form of money I believe the sky is the limit.

If you want something interesting to listen to in this realm, search on you tube Peter Schiff Max Kiser bitcoin debate. That's one hell of debate by two heavy weights in the economic, crypto, and precious metal analyst world.

Where do you think Steem will be in 6 months? bitcoin? Any prediction?

And here is one last fun quiz question.....

I'm now in Chiang Mai Thailand. How many hour long Thai Massages does one bitcoin buy you?

Great post Kevin and hope you are still living the dream!

-Dan "World Travel Pro!"

Yeah I've probably gone over the edge just putting shock value as part my assessment on SMTs. Most likely not every will do it, but would be nice to see people experimenting with the technology :)

I'll be happy with Steem @ 10 bucks :) more conservatively let's say 5 in six months.. wow, about 200-300 hours of massage? haha. Thanks for dropping by @world-travel-pro. Appreciate it. I guess cryptos are really a good deal for travellers eh?

Cryptos are great for everyone! Last month I did my first crypto transaction in Luang Prabang Laos. I turned steem into Lao Kip! And it was easier than I could have imagined. Took me a total of 15 minutes starting in steem here at, moving it to bitrex and bitcoin, then to bitpay, and then going to the exchange booth with my bitpay card ending in Lao Kip! Steem to freaking Lao Kip! Who would have thought?

Regarding Thai massages for Bitcoin. Guess again my friend.......At $5,175 bitcoin/USD price and a Thai hour long massage at $4.50, that's 1,150 hours of Thai Massage!

That's lying on a table getting massaged for 48 days straight! Bit more than I can handle! lol, even though the girl today was really cute!

Just incredible knowing that just a few years ago one bit coin equaled one massage, now it equals over 1,000!

Kevin, thank you for stopping by my page, you really made my day :)


So true my friend. Funny thing is crypto is a universal language that everyone can speak as well. "Hi, I like what you are selling- holds out money" everyone speaks that language. LOL----by the way, I am new to and I think I un-voted my original up vote. It won't let me fix it. Sorry homie.
Edit: I figured it out. I just needed to wait a minute. LOL #noobproblems looks better for writers, i tried it yesterday.. lol no worries buddy, posting and voting were kinda wonky past few days!

"But everyone believes in money" great quote. You have some interesting ideas in this post. Thanks for sharing.

Truly amazing article Mr. Wong. But did you know that we are using the same money trading techniques since the medieval times ? I believe crypto and steemit are the first steps for humanity towards a brighter future. And it only took to reverse the current system :)

P.S Also money is just paper, it is the attachment that drives humans to be what they turn into.

Yup we're just in a brief moment of centralisation before it breaks again :D

Kevin! Great article really! I love how you put it. Stories are so moving and powerful. They help us learn about the past, keep us inspired, stories are in our DNA, even in Steemit! :)

I saw a really funny SMT right after writing this lol. Quite an antithesis to stories hahah. Wait til you see the announcement.. maybe theyve announced..

Ha ha, glad to get my props in sentence two, beginning to end.

i was about to write alpha to omega, but your account popped up :D

In Mathematics we trust

Definitely! Just like science, it is amazing how Mathematics have evolved so much to come up with this idea of cryptocurrency!

Yeah the fact that it's not so easy to absorb and not as romanticised by any literature in the past kinda says that it's something.. lol

Wouldn't be great that Steem one day will became the most popular cryptocurrencie around with millions of people use in it...
Just imagine that time "from zero to hero" that you mention!
100% SMT's will make Steem more powerful and more popular and i think it's just a matter of time.
Till then all we have to do is just Steem On!

Yup, I see social networks as a great way for anyone to diversify their investment. Anyone can be a black swan :)

I think it is too early to see how SMT will really work - but it is pretty clear that there will never be "one coin" or "one token" that we will all use. So I like you idea of radical multiplicity of coins to the point that every person has one, every website has one. I mean it's a logical extension of companies having stocks, and people who allow others to "invest" in them taking some fraction of their earnings or something like that (I think some celebrities have done that). Why can't we all have an ICO at birth, and ICO after graduation etc. etc. If nothing else it would give us a good reason to keep working (contributing usefully to community) hard to maintain the worth of our "coin".

Anyway a multiplicity of blockchains and coins all interacting seems to be what the Cosmos blockchain is looking to support - although I'm not sure if it would scale to billion coins or blockchains.

Hahah really, human beings have made money as gods

it can be used for good. not a bad system to encourage cooperation if used rigthly..

I still find it difficult to envision how SMT's will replace donations, tips, and patronage. Maybe if you would write about a realistic use case scenario it would be much easier to imagine.

Coming to that after Steemfest. Have a lot of things to clear up with the devs and all!

Ok, take your time :)

"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

Money is everything to an individual,some people serve money just like a god which is bad.

"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." :D
most people like that ....... for example like this, I talked to my men, "you try to lift that thing !!!" but he did not hear, then I added his sentence "you try to lift it, bonus $ 2 for you "he immediately heard and worked on, money efficacious heal deaf ..... LOL

you can now take a rest now after a brilliant post :)

For me it's always inspiring to read stories of success. Steemit is becoming to be one of the greatest.
Together we're strong. Together we're knowing.

Thanks for sharing your perspective!

I like your play on words for stores of value = stories. Your concepts are very interesting

Word play is always fun :D

its great article @kevinwong, thanks for sharing with us on steemit, hopefully there are a lot of people will read this article. glad to know you @kevinwong

Like the statement "in the stories we trust", and the article make me more understand about SMT in the simple way, thanks @kevinwong

Glad it is so! thanks for dropping by @rayfa :)

Hi kevin. Currently our legal system is facing a problem with the recognition of crypotocurrency. It is still considered as an asset and not a currency.

In SMT there will be pairing of the token and steem which means a DEx will be in place and floated to give the token an appreciable value. This would fall under definition of a regulated market. Regulated market's operation requires license and approval from central regulatory bodies. So people who trade in the DEx would be facing a legal hurdle in the absence of proper approval depending on the jurisdiction that they are in.

Our? There's plenty of stories in there assuming inclusion of strangers and all.

I hope it's not a fairy tale or a horror story. There are definitely also monsters in this space or are just about to come in. But we have to hope for the best and believe in bitcoin and steem of course :)

bad apples are just a small portion ..

We need money every day. Nothing is free. I really like Yuvali's quote

sounds great all!

Great post and an amazing video

Wow.. I am rather blown away by your post. But I am in absolute agreement.

As a matter of fact, someone has already begun this process of tokenization of self! : This Techie Is Using Blockchain to Monetize His Time

I also remember a video from AMTV on Youtube, where he mentions something along the lines of:

"The world has no idea how truly revolutionary the blockchain technology is, as of yet. It is my belief that the blockchain technology is so pervasive, that a light bulb, will be self-sustaining and monetizing itself directly from the beneficiaries of the light."

Now that's crazy.

The challenge, just as you have identified in your post as well, would be the issue of bridging the gap of tokenization, between interchanging between this currency to that token and so on. However, I believe as we continue to progress at such a rapid pace, there will soon be an innovation that will bring the seamless transaction between al existing token and currencies that are of value.

What a crazy world and an amazing time to live in.

I absolutely loved your post, 100% upvoted, resteemed and followed.
Hope to connect with you more often.

God Speed Brethren.

Fully agree with the above, I think Steem is really undervalued, and once the world understands how to leverage on SMT's. We will finally see the meteoric rise everyone is waiting for

very interesting post @kevinwong



Greetings NSC



Regards KSI.


Congrats you see them. :) nice post.. you living your life to the fullest. i want to see more of your post. done following

such deep analysis @kevinwong

thumbs up ! follow me as well plz

Nice idea you gat here @kevinwong
But everyone having a personal currency would eventually make the currencies depreciate.
This has happened to me, i am a visual artist and i do free toons for steemians and they do tip me after that but since almost all artist bougth the idea, No steemian tips me again. :-(
Thats eventually what would happen if we all have personal currencies

Excellent story. Upvote and resteemed

You are [email protected] that is why cryto make more of the news today. It is a perfect idea making SMT a unify currency and integrating it into our profile will create more value to us.

A New CryptoCurrency Will Launch Soon.
The SmartPhone Mining.


Buy The Coin Now for Only 1$=100Electroneum

Plus another 1% Sign up Bonus Upon Signing Up Using My Link Down Below👇👇👇


"They're rooted in objective reality, but still layered with stories nonetheless. This is all it takes for any currencies to have value." - this tells it all - way to go man!

I love thisstories are investments that we create and curate over time" people understand is a language

SMT is a revolution in its own way. There could be adoption by the media and publishing houses too.

Keep telling those stories @kevinwong ! A great read :)

nice to read this story.....

Awesome Post !

great article.
from zero to hero. :)

Daily Learn some new from your post. Love to read it.

i enjoy this.

This is the second time you are writing about everyone having their own Cryptocurrency.
The first time u didn't make any sense to me. It was even a scary idea but reading this post in enlightening. Impossible is nothing. The fact that you can think of it means that a creation process has already begun because the mind is where creation starts from.

So if you're trustworthy and believable enough, who knows? Maybe your SMT might end up being worth something.

So the value of ur coin may be based on ur contribution to humanity, your integrity etc. Right?

PS In God we trust

Wow @Kevinwong
That video was 100%

U deserve a standing ovation for this post sir @kevinwong

Story told by us people, yep. The human value of it all I believe.

Thanks for the post... still learning about smts but they seem like game changers.


I think everyone having their own currency sounds like a nice idea, but it all depends on the underlying system it is built on. Just as someone owning their own house is marvelous, but if it takes 30 years to payoff or costs 10x his or her income, then that's the problem.

Great! Fantastic

Its a revololution..!!!!

amazing post @kevinwong. The Story of Money.

@hansikhouse and I have been talking about this ALOT recently. I completely agree that we'll all have our own equity soon, and SMTs are a huge leap towards making that a reality.

We can bootstrap without any initial crowdfunding. Proving ourselves over time may work better in creating value for our own SMTs.

I like Steem's proof-of-brain as a launch point. Now there are some baseline metrics to determine the value of each user's currency. This stuff is going to evolve like wild fire next year. There will be more and more mechanisms to determine our internet footprint. Perhaps our currency can be directly linked to that footprint as it fluctuates over time. Awesome article @kevinwong. (Sorry I missed the payout window!!)

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 1.35
TRX 0.15
JST 0.145
BTC 57669.82
ETH 3517.65
BNB 626.53
SBD 8.62