It’s amazing to think that we’re merely two weeks away from the one-year anniversary of the M2 bankruptcy, after a year of [mostly losing] the battle for my life, fortune and sacred honor. But today, what remains of our team is back doing what we do best – creating value and profit by pushing forward decentralized commodity monetary systems.
Towards the end of 2013, I decided that I’d be more effective a continent or so away from the drama. I needed some time to clear my head, take a step back, and objectively evaluate all that transpired. So I booked a flight to SE Asia and haven’t looked back since.
Eating at street vendors and sleeping next to strangers in hostels is very humbling, and has afforded me several important learning experiences. One that stands out in my mind is the fact that merchants in the region, surrounded by a wide variety of cultures, religions, cuisines and languages, care very little about what kind of money you spend.
It’s so refreshing: business owners appear to care only about the value, not the currency’s issuing authority.
It’s a stark contrast from the states, where most businesses exclusively accept US Dollars, and believe there’s a law restricting them otherwise. Rupiah, Ringgit, Sing Dollars, gold, silver, Bitcoin…most vendors just don’t care. You show ’em what you got, they pull out a calculator, a friendly negotiation takes place (mostly with hand signals and gestures), and both parties walk away happy.
In SE Asia, it’s common for merchants to defer to the preference of the consumer, eager to earn a sale. This accommodating attitude is not born of desperation – after all, most of the region is abundant with a rapidly growing middle class, flush with cash and eager to shop, dine & trade.
In the USA, my experience has been completely opposite. On multiple occasions, I recall pleading with business owners to barter for silver. Unwilling to consider trading on any terms, I was never surprised to return later and find closed doors.
Fortunately, all of this is finally evolving: just as Ron Paul brought money and banking policy into the mainstream conversation, Bitcoin has encouraged a public interest in questioning currencies themselves. Merchants in the USA may finally be understanding & embracing the difference between money and value. Even large retailers are jumping on the bandwagon, rushing to get their share of the market.
But for most participating merchants, Bitcoin serves only as a medium of exchange; it’s unlikely that participants are holding large stores of volatile bitcoins, and are instead probably converting Bitcoins to dollars at the time of transaction.
As explained in detail here, this is the bright side to Bitcoin – it’s a decentralized currency that operates outside of banking institutions and their KYC requirements. It makes a great medium of exchange, even if it has no intrinsic value.
Think of it like this: right now, you can own physical silver, quickly convert it to Bitcoin, shop almost anywhere, accept payments in Bitcoin, and turn it back in to physical silver, in near-real-time, with very low transaction costs, without having to go anywhere near dollars or banks, and with incredibly low probability that your account will be seized by the federal government because they don’t recognize your state license to grow plants.
The only thing required to take advantage of this is a little creativity, which people in less developed parts of the world embraced out of a similar necessity a long time ago.
For our team, we’re pushing forward hard, making up lost ground quickly, and getting back to leading the way to value-backed monetary systems. But it’s a big world, and currency alternatives don’t just have to be local any more. So today, I announce the American Open Currency Standard is no more. Instead, I’d like to introduce The OpenCurrency Standard; our mission is to tackle currency challenges wherever people value our solutions.
Stay tuned for a lot more.