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Single Global Currency

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My ideas from 2009 for a decentralized digital currency, inspired by the success of the Linden Dollar in Second Life. I met with some board members and execs to suggest that I thought a decentralized version of our currency could be built, using a number of 'balance servers' to keep an identical chart of accounts.

I didn't try to suggest a way to make new currency or reward participants, instead simply suggesting that money could 'neither be created nor destroyed', inspired by how the Linden Dollar had a public money supply balance that was slowly changing. I figured that some sort of similar distribution - maybe giving everyone worldwide an equal starting balance - could work out fine.

I focused most of my design energy instead on the problem of how two people who didn't know each other could quickly exchange the currency as easily as cash. I suggested that a system of revolving 4-digit short codes that could be exchanged easily by voice or by showing one's phone screen to another person would be an effective way to do it. This inability to quickly transact still plagues cryptocurrency today, and either this or something like QR codes still needs to happen to make digital currency useful for everyday transactions.

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Single Global Currency

  1. 1. Single Global Currency
  2. 2. Two Pieces: 1. A single global currency that everyone can trust 2. Better and faster than cash
  3. 3. A Single Global Currency that everyone can trust: Open public servers store global account balances Servers owned by different people and countries Money is never created or destroyed Open conversion into local currencies
  4. 4. Faster and easier than Cash: Exchange money using any web- connected mobile phone 4 keystrokes to make a payment Works both for web and person-to- person
  5. 5. How to make money? The 4-keystroke payment system for faster transactions must be supplied by a single global server (like domain names) Though not required or exclusive, it is very likely that most transactions will use this server (network effects) We monetize the enormous traffic and data flow through the system
  6. 6. Why will it work this time? Because now everyone has a web- enabled cell phone. Because no one company owns the servers - it's an open system than can't be stopped by regulation.
  7. 7. Appendix
  8. 8. User Experience: Buy Lunch Storeowner types price of item (5 secs) Storeowner displays 4-digit code ('XP5R') Buyer starts SGC app (3 secs) Buyer types code into app (5 secs) Buyer App displays the amount/items Buyer confirms amount/purchase (2 sec) 15 Seconds to buy in a store (faster than making change for a $20 bill)
  9. 9. User Experience: Buy Online Click 'pay using SGC' button on website popup displays 4-digit code ('XP5R') Get iPhone out of pocket (3 secs) Start SGC App (3 secs) Enter 4-digit code (5 secs) Confirms amount/purchase (2 sec) Website popup confirms that you paid 15 Seconds to buy online (at least 10x faster than entering Credit Card info)
  10. 10. Revenue USA = 1,300 debit/credit card transactions per second $400M year revenues at 1cent/transaction
  11. 11. Scaling (it's not hard to do this anymore) Single 1U linux server can store and update account balances for entire planet - 10B people. ~1Mbps traffic can handle all current USA debit/credit transactions Easy to make 100's of redundant copies of data on servers worldwide
  12. 12. Secret Sauce #1: ShortCoder A simple web service that helps make a transaction really fast. Person wanting to request payment sends amount and description, gets back a 4-digit alpha code, i.e. "D4F2" The payor need only enter the code to make payment The code has to be used within 2 minutes 4 digit alpha codes with 2 minute lifetimes allow 1.2 Billion transactions per day.

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