When we last visited this series, I had established that by using services like Gyft and eGifter you could very readily meet your fundamental shopping needs without so much as earning or spending a single US Dollar.
Since then there have also been a number of developments relevant towards breaking the dollars stranglehold on our everyday lives. Not the least of which was Paypal’s announcement to integrate Bitcoin into its payment system… but only for digital goods (close but no cigar).
Still, progress is progress and the fact that Paypal (a company that processes close to US$200 Billion a year via its 152 million active accounts) has even uttered the word Bitcoin in public is likely a good thing for the market. However, I have a hard time making practical use of purely digital goods in my day to day life so for now we’ll file this recent development under the “wait and see” category. If Paypal was really serious about cryptocurrency, it would probably just make its own fungible token anyway... though I probably shouldn’t give them any ideas.
Problem with Banks
For now the biggest hurdle in dropping the dollar completely remains to be the problem of paying both rent and utilities without first having to transfer value into the legacy system.
A point made extra poignant by a recent incident in which my bank decided to hold 80% of my latest deposit for the sum total of 10 days (meaning although I deposited on Sept 25, it is not slated to clear until Oct 4, so I can forget about using that deposit for rent).
There are few things that point out the gross inefficiency and learned incompetence that defines our current banking system better than sitting on the phone with an “executive” clerk who cannot explain to you why the bank needs 10 days to move value from point A to point B.
The truth, of course, is that they profit from not moving your funds as quickly and as efficiently as they should. So there is little to no incentive to improve their services. After all, what are you going to do? Go to a different bank… that is likely owned by the same parent company or at the very least has the exact same operating protocols?
No, the answer to bad banks isn’t more banks. The answer to bad banks is no banks. So with that in mind, I have scheduled a meeting with my landlord on the first in which I will hand him my rent in cash to avoid late fees and regale him with the merits of digital currency. I’ll give him his first few milibit to get the ball rolling and then… who knows?
I’ll explain to him that Cross River Bank in New Jersey and Kansas-based CBW Bank have already begun using the Ripple protocol to create zero fee international transfers. I’ll demonstrate how fast and easy it is to both send and receive value. How with the aid of these exciting new technologies late payments will be far less frequent as it completely removes any of the friction caused by banks… except that he works at a bank (that’s definitely another snag).
Now whether or not I can convince him to accept my shiny unforgeable tokens in lieu of germ infested cotton is likely to be a bit more “trench warfare” than “blitzkrieg.” I am prepared for that eventuality and fully accept it as the price I pay for being an early adopter. The benefits of being an early adopter of course far outweigh the problems of wrestling with the pre-existing legacy system.
A “Real” Job
For starters, I’m finally generating more revenue through cryptocurrency activity than I was in the legacy system. More importantly, I’m doing it on my own time, on my own schedule, without having to punch a clock, or follow someone else’s rules. Whereas, to mainstream culture the “work from home” dream may still be perceived as a left over cliché from the 90s. With a payment protocol as smooth and effortless as those available to us now, one has to wonder… why would we work any other way?
Sure it’s nice to get out and socialize every now and then. Sure slogging away in the man cave, writing articles no one reads (except you, you’re definitely reading this one right now so I’m safe) hardly seems like “real work.” Then again what’s “real work”? Is it anything like “real money” in that it’s designed and controlled by people who are out to exploit your vitality and intelligence?
If it was up to the powers that be, we’d all be stuck in manufacturing plants in unsafe work conditions putting widgets together for 10 hours a day or working in the service industry trying to be as polite as we can be in the desperate hope that someone should deign to grace us with a tip (to make up for the fact that service workers in the United States are one of the few groups that you can legally pay below minimum wage because their “tips” are expected to make up the difference).
No, faced with those kinds of options I suspect this current generation of young, educated workers would much rather opt for working in their pajamas, thank you very much.
I suspect we will see them move over in droves once they start to savvy to the fact that they can make as much, if not more, than they currently make by participating in the global online economy (assuming you’ve got some kind of good or service you can offer online, of course). This will be especially true once they figure out that people have been making money off their online activity for years. Money that they themselves are rightfully entitled to and will soon be able to access through online services that pay you to participate; such as newly announced GEMS.
Now this doesn’t mean that you should all run out and quit your jobs just yet. However, it does mean that you can and should begin to supplement your income in small increments by participating in this exciting new economy. You may not make a mint at first but when the market finally shifts you’ll be glad you got involved ahead of the curve.