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Excellent stuff as ever, James.

This is a massive topic. There are certainly more different kinds of "money" now than there have ever been, and the concept of privately issued currencies is not a new one. (All banks used to make their own money, of course).

My concern is that as more and more people amass credits that in some sense have "value" (whether convertible to "real money" or not), we will see increasing numbers of incidents where the issuers of those credits fail/default/abuse their power and effectively render credits valueless. I'm sure that the small print in all TOS agreements indemnify issuers from any liability and get them off the hook, but the knock-on effect of an ever-increasing number of ever-less-reliable types of money is likely to be negative. People are pretty skittish about the whole topic of money right now. I doubt this will help.

I'd cautiously predict the future path as follows: Speculation -> Bubble -> Crash -> Recriminations -> Regulation -> Rinse -> Repeat

Basically, if I had any "real money" right now, I'd be buying real gold rather than FB credits ;-)


PS: On the zeitgeist as ever, Cory Doctorow's new book "For The Win" is all about this stuff. http://craphound.com/ftw/

James Cherkoff

Hey thanks Ian, too kind...

Yes I suspect this isn't really money at all...but more akin to Air Miles and supermarket coupons. That said, both are obviously massive businesses. And when taken online the world of incentives could become much more interesting and less of an austerity measure.

Yes plenty of opportunity for the next bubble here. However, there is also the semblance of some fundamental shifts as Jesse Schell indicates here... http://bit.ly/aHvA6q


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