There has been much speculation recently about the role Facebook Credits could play in becoming a global virtual currency, and even the possibility of Facebook becoming a bank. In many ways, it already is becoming a bank – just not in the traditional sense. Facebook is harnessing the power of the social graph, and has certainly adopted an expanded definition of what ‘currency’ means. It’s time for the rest of us to hop on board.
As I’ve been conducting research for The Future of Facebook Project, the experts and thought leaders interviewed shared some compelling views about the evolution of virtual currencies, and Facebook’s potential role in their development. A big takeaway is that while we typically associate currency directly with money, the rise of the social web and quantification is shifting that reality to become more inclusive of kinds of capital that were formerly intangible.
Money is a tool we use for arms-length transactions, where there isn’t an assumption of any kind of relationship or trust between parties. But as data is being mapped at an accelerating rate – from self-quantifiation, to the contextual and relational data about our location and interactions, to our preferences and opinions, to our exchanges and transactions – we are being granted access to a much richer base of information in our decision-making toolkit.
What this means is that money isn’t the only kind of currency that can facilitate a transaction anymore. Trust networks are able to be tapped for recommendations and referrals, while predictive analysis algorhithms can suggest the kinds of people, products, services, or events that would resonate with our personalities or value set. A new set of filtering tools are emerging that are shaping where we direct our attention and resources, namely intentions and actions.
These contextual clues around data become currencies in themselves, as they give us more information in order to make a choice or decide who to trust. Below are three examples of currencies that are having an impact on the formation of a new economic paradigm and redefinition of how we define, generate and exchange value: Facebook Credits, online identity, and reputation.
Credits as Currency
Facebook Credits are a virtual currency used within Facebook for the purchase of virtual goods related to applications managed on the Facebook platform. They’re like tokens you’d use to play games at Chuck E. Cheese’s – great for casual entertainment, but not particularly threatening to the real world economy. Yet.
What happens when individuals and companies become more comfortable with the idea of accepting virtual currencies in exchange for various types of interactions, goods or services?
“Increasingly as we move later into the decade, physical currency will be harder to differentiate from virtual currencies like Facebook Credits,” said Brett King, author of Bank 2.0. “We’ll start to see a new economy emerging through social media where virtual currencies will be a very real part of the way people trade and sell information, collaborate on ideas and value various products and services.”
In the near term, we’re likely to see retailers find creative ways to use Credits to entice people to interact with them, evangelize their brands, and gain customer loyalty. For example, every time you take a poll, watch an advertisement, or tell your friends about a purchase you made, you could receive Credits from that company that would then be redeemable for goods or discounts.
“We may see a kind of gamification of the real world take place through Facebook Credits, where a variety of outside vendors, businesses, and service providers can give us Facebook Credits, enable us to pay with Facebook Credits, and reward us with Facebook Credits for taking actions that they want us to take,” explained Nova Spivack, a technology entrepreneur and founder of Lucid Ventures.
In the longer term, Facebook Credits could become truly disruptive by becoming a currency for peer to peer lending, microtransactions, and for usage by the unbanked in emerging markets around the world. For instance, imagine the next time you clicked the “like” button for that social activism campaign you support, you could also add a small donation to the cause via your Credits account. Or what if Facebook evolved to have a functionality like Zopa or Lending Club, allowing you to directly lend and borrow with other Facebook users, and earn a great rate of interest. Extend that one step further to Facebook offering an entire mobile based money transfer system, something like M-PESA, which could then create a simple mechanism for international microfinance. If Facebook goes this far, Credits could quickly face regulatory scrutiny if they actually influence or devalue currencies in other markets.
As venture capitalist Eghosa Omoigui posited, “I suspect that Facebook may eventually have to create a trading platform that allows them to constantly mark-to-market what those Credits look like.”
The possibilities here are only limited by our ability to extrapolate out scenarios of what happens when transactions are made easy, secure, and frictionless. So Credits are a clear example of an emerging virtual currency that could have some far reaching implications, and will certainly face new regulatory challenges as well as a new set of competitors as they expand their offerings. But are there other currencies that Facebook is creating within its ecosystem?
Identity as Currency
How do you construct your online identity, and where is that information stored? Does it matter?
Every time you upload a photo, make a comment, add a friend, click a link, or make a purchase, that data is being harvested to create a map and a simulation of you. This is tremendously valuable information, and Facebook gets that. It hasn’t been by mistake that they’ve created a simple go-to portal to the social web, where logging in via Facebook Connect gives access to any number of other sites and services.
By analyzing even slices of this data, a wealth of information can be extracted and predicted about you. As a related example, Google vice-president Marissa Meyer was said to have claimed at this year’s SXSW festival that credit card companies can look at spending habits and predict with 98% accuracy, two years in advance, when a couple is going to divorce. Interesting. I wonder what Facebook is able to predict, and how that information can be served up to advertisers.
If the trend continues where logging in via your Facebook profile is the simple method for verification, some speculate this could lead to Facebook evolving to being an actual utility for identity. We’re already seeing companies advertising themselves through their Facebook profile (www.facebook.com/company). It seems possible that Facebook users could do the same. After all, if people are willing to trust sensitive data to Facebook, companies could use that info to offer better rates on car or health insurance, or help you secure a loan, via the platform. While this could seem convenient for the average user, it does carry serious implications in terms of how governments will respond.
“[Identity] will become the battleground within which this entire learning will take place, because today all the artifacts of a human being belong to physical and logical governments, and not to social networks. But the ability to move any form of asset between the virtual world and the physical world needs a commonality of understanding of identity,” said JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist for salesforce.com.
The discussion around who owns your data and online identity and why it matters hasn’t really hit the mainstream yet, though there are communities like the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium that are pushing for individual ownership, open standards and interoperability. A person’s identity is highly valuable information, and some would argue that despite the convenience of having a third party own that data, it rightly and ethically belongs to the individual. In the meantime, Facebook is playing a strong role in how we use identity on the web, and what information about ourselves and our social graph is shared every time we log in and interact.
Reputation as Currency
If you’re familiar with services like Klout and PeerIndex, you’re aware the task of quantifying reputation, authority and influence online is well underway. Just as a positive score in your eBay account matters if you plan to continue doing business there, we’re on the verge of having robust social scoring metrics that will become increasingly important for businesses and individuals to consider.
For example, when searching for a product or service, not only will we see a range of comparisons between companies with similar offerings, but also how our social network perceives the performance and quality of that brand. We can already see which of our friends “likes” a particular website that happens to display the Facebook social plugin in their sidebar. When the opinions about a brand can be displayed more robustly, we’ll know not only that you “like” a brand, but why. This gives information on both sides – the reputation of the brand, and the values of the individual. So if I choose to only interact with brands that have project both intentions and corresponding actions of what I consider “good,” which could include sustainable business practices, financial transparency, social responsibility, and, dare I say, corporate ethics, only those with a reputation that falls within that spectrum will make it through the filter in my stream.
As Brett King pointed out, “Social metrics, and the use of platforms like Facebook will have very real feedback in respect to the valuation of a brand economically, and obviously that will have an effect directly on revenues that are possible for providers in that space. So unless you’re playing in the social brand space, unless you’re engaged in the conversation, your social metrics are gonna be affected in a negative way, and that will have an effect on revenue, profitability, and the value of your brand.”
The power of this kind of sentiment analysis around brands, issues, events, people, or topics of any kind can’t be underestimated. As these metrics become more granular, it becomes easier to to make purchasing decisions and support initiatives that are more fully aligned with our values. One’s reputation and social standing, and the way they are perceived based on their words and their actions, are most certainly a currency.
Beyond its functionality for how we interact with brands, and perhaps even more interesting to consider, is how this reputation currency could impact peer to peer relationships and potential business partnerships. I’ve always felt rather disappointed in the type of information that passes for a Facebook profile. Sure, you can show where you went to high school and the kinds of entertainment you like, but none of it is particularly useful in terms of finding ways to generate economic value together with others.
Facebook has the opportunity to create a marketplace for intention, innovation, and entrepreneurship, if it expands the degree to which an individual can express their human capital and find others with common interests or goals. When I am able to express the types of skills I possess, resources I have access to, my intellectual capital, my relationships and social connections, and the types of projects or business ventures or causes with which I would like to be involved, a whole new dimension of interactivity will emerge. When others can vouch for the quality of my work or my knowledge or expertise, the kind of robust profile and reputation that then exists is incredibly valuable for me and for the potential economic opportunities that I can get.
None of these examples should seem like a stretch. In some ways, this is the next logical step in the evolution of Facebook. As technology writer Kevin Kelly said, “What we know from our very short history of living online is that community precedes commerce; there’s no commerce without community. What Facebook is doing is sort of blowing up the community to be 500 million or even a billion very soon. When we have a community of a billion, that means that the potential for commerce is enormous, is immense, and we’ve never seen that before.”
To me, that statement is speaking to us as the users, and how we can potentially be interacting with each other, not necessarily how we can interact with corporate entities or brands. Facebook has corralled us all within its walled garden, and created a place to share photos with friends, keep up on events, and perhaps click some ads. But the opportunity to use sentiment and predictive analysis to actually facilitate the connection of people around common desires and goals could be truly transformative in accelerating the rate of social innovation and job creation.
It’s not a matter of if this will happen, but when. Users already pump tons of data into Facebook about their preferences and tastes – it just hasn’t quite been served back to them in a way that’s economically useful. But if and when they do, it’s going to create a marketplace where your reputation is going to be quite important in getting prospects for what may be called ‘the future of work.’
New Currencies = New Banks
I hope this provided some food for thought on the evolving definition of currency and what we may consider a bank. We’re making formerly intangible and invisible things transparent, measurable, and tradeable, and that opens the door to a lot of new possibilities for what economic transactions and exchange look like. Social media companies like Facebook understand the enormous value in being the connective tissue of the social web and provider of your data and the social graph.
Facebook will continue to grow and face new challenges as it threatens the control traditional institutional structures have had over currency and personal identity. The implications of one entity owning this amount of information is beyond the scope of this article, but it certainly deserves a critical assessment. That huge privacy breach and wake up call hasn’t happened yet, so it’s not too late to ask what’s at stake when your data is contained in someone else’s silo.
Content based on ongoing research for The Future of Facebook Project. Big thanks for support from our Corporate Patron, Innotribe, Zev at Averbach Transcription, Executive Producer Sean Park, and Producers Dr. William J. Ward, Debra Farber, Bill Lefurgy, Guido Stevens, and Nicky Smyth. Image design by the fabulous Erica Glasier.
Tom Crowl said:
I like much about Facebook… I’m there… but for more reasons than I’ll get into in this comment…
It’s very, very important that this opportunity for an Internet distributed financial structure NOT go to either a private corporation nor a government… nor even a non-profit.
That doesn’t mean I oppose private business. It means this is a critical corner which must be protected. This relates to the ‘soft’ technologies surrounding their harder cousins and how mis-development can result in permanent loss of capability (I commented recently here about how that happened with television).
For what its worth, an individual’s account within this system may be the proper place for control of certain individual information… may best be protected by some form of Commons-owned Pay System which I’ve been laying out in brief in your Google groups section.
It may further be possible that such a network (or network of affiliated networks) … more particularly the individual’s account within that network may provide a best anchor out of which other tools of barter via reputation or otherwise may develop.
I understand it can’t all be clear at once… and maybe I”m wrong… but that’s where I”m going.
And I believe there’s a real race on… once some patterns are set… they can stick around for centuries. And we may not have that long.
Nothing against Facebook individually… I just think there may not be any other opportunities.
So it’s true… I am impatient.
monika hardy said:
this is huge:
When others can vouch for the quality of my work or my knowledge or expertise, the kind of robust profile and reputation that then exists is incredibly valuable for me and for the potential economic opportunities that I can get.
transparency is the only currency that can buy trust.
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Awesome post, Venessa.
We don’t need (and probably don’t want) Facebook for this. We need Personal Data Stores. Reid Hoffman was talking about “Data as the Platform” last week at the Web 2.0 Expo: http://meme-shift.posterous.com/48152779. Watch for LinkedIn to compete in this space, though I agree with Tom Crowl’s comment above that ultimately these ideas are pushing the boundaries of our inherited institutions, demanding new ones.
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks, and agreed. there wasn’t really space in this article to get into all that, i was just kind of setting a foundation of what’s at stake. i’m putting together another post about the open web and data ownership, probably with an overview of a few of the contenders in the space (i.e. http://www.personal.com/, http://projectdanube.org/, http://mydex.org/, http://www.projectnori.org/, etc).
i’m hoping the push for personal data ownership will gain more traction when people understand the value of it, and the risk of giving it up to a 3rd party.
Cool, looking forward to your post on the open web and data ownership. You may find this panel discussion at SXSW relevant: http://umbel.com/blog/events/marc-davis-krasinski-discuss-privacy-digital-self/.
Philippe Verstichel said:
This post is interesting for it lays down, naked, the potential “exploitation” of thousands of records stored by Facebook about our habits (like credit cards company). It is also a good indication of the necessity to create new organizational structures to shape ethically the future of “social networks”.
Indeed, what I can read is nothing but a good-old trick by neo-corporatists to bend out of shape the true nature of “social networks”. The “Market / Globalization / Monetary systems” trinity strikes back … to spoil what was IMHO a great opportunity to re-humanize our civilization based on the creation of true social wealth.
Like Tim Berners Lee, I also think that the ‘invisible hand’ is again clawing back the Web. I am not saying that capitalism is bad or that we need to find some regulation mechanism. No, I am just a bit puzzled by the lack of ‘humanity’ in all the references you are making.
Fortunately, one can still post his views on great blogs like yours (what I am doing). This is a great opportunity to endorse the great Voltaire: “I totally disagree with what you are saying, though I will fight to death for you to have the right to say it !”.
Venessa Miemis said:
what do you mean by ‘lack of humanity in all the references you are making’?
Philippe Verstichel said:
I just noticed that I forgot to reply to your comment. Accept my deepest apologies. English not being my native language, I made a slight mistake. I wanted to mean “humanism” or from a philosophical perspective “essentialism”. You recently raised a very good question on twitter: “Are we going to see the end of corporation personhood?” So, what I meant with my comment is that I fear we may experience something like “Facebook unpersonhood” whereby people are gradually denied their genuine essence. In French: “déshumanisation”. This is not a crude debate between determinist and essentialist as one could have it about technology in general. It is something more serious that could lead to new form of constructivism, a kind of non-human constructivism. You may look at the book of Berger & Luckman “The Social Construction of Reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge” in order to learn about my understanding of constructivism. Of course, I am not saying this is good or bad. It is simply very important for people like you to revisit such books in order to rate the impact of Facebook. BTW, thanks for the lively debates you initiate.
Ann Holman said:
Absolutely fascinating post. Its implications are significant and I can see where this could go not just across Facebook but other platforms too. Kevin Kelly’s point about community before commerce has struck a huge note. Thereby Twitter will have this influence and so will many others in the future.
Thanks Venessa, a post worthy of sharing right across all our individual communities.
Brett King said:
Great coverage of the shifting view of the roles of banks, currency and modality as per the networking effect around social media. The challenge is not so much with platform, as we already have heaps of platform possibilities, it is changing philosophy and thinking. Millennials don’t have the same restricted view of currency and economy. Jurisdiction, regulation and national borders don’t represent a constraint in their view of the world. This will ultimately drive a very different view of the way value is transferred, measured and traded.
Disruptive? Yes, but also exciting.
Thanks for the mention and the great article.
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks for the interview and the great quotes! 😉
Philippe Verstichel said:
Looking at the reality (who is involved and why the people are involved) many of the ‘future’ uses of FB as a alternative to create a new banking platform keep on with the same mercantilist approach as before, believing that money is a value by itself. What I like in some projects listed in #futureofthemoney for example is the possibility to create public social wealth. When reading the ideas that you are reporting here, and I am talking about the message not the messenger, many are strongly about personal wealth (recognition of my reputation) or corporatist wealth (around a brand). Moreover, monetization of ‘identity’ or ‘reputation’ will start being driven by the market, not the authentic identity or reputation (human value), because people will match their conduct to the ‘free market’ not to their human reality i.e. they will spoil their real identity. Last but not least, my feeling of ‘humanity’ loss comes from the recognition that technologists are confusing ‘knowledge’ and ‘information’. As you know, ‘Knowledge is Power’ is becoming ‘Information is Power’ and, in Facebook, it is owned, traded, controlled. It is almost as if knowledge was the currency of a virtual corporate system. I do believe that a better way of leveraging Facebook does exist. Unfortunately; looking at how my four children use it, I doubt more and more about the ‘humanity’ of the experience offered due to the kind of services offered. It is just a humble opinion of someone confronted to down-to-earth reality.
And what do YOU think? As a futurist ethnographer, I’d love reading about your perception of all that new Facebook as Bank 2.0 movement?
Venessa Miemis said:
i don’t really have much of an opinion. i log in to facebook maybe twice a month to check about an upcoming event or to respond to a message that a friend or family member may have sent me there instead of via email. other than that, i haven’t really found a way for it to bring me value. so ‘facebook as bank 2.0 movement’ – i really don’t care. i spend my online time looking for people and projects that are doing something that i find interesting and beneficial to humanity, and finding ways to connect them, collaborate with them, or amplify their efforts. if facebook helped me do something like this, maybe i would use it more. i guess it’s really about the intention of the user. facebook seems to be good for staying ambiently aware of your friends and playing quasi-social games together. i’m trying to focus my efforts on building relationships in physical space and shaping a career for myself, so i just don’t really have time for what facebook currently provides.
Colin Hawkett said:
Great post Venessa. I’m definitely in the camp that trying to do all these new age progressive things things under the blanket of an old-school corporate structure is not the right solution for the ‘good of humanity’. They may succeed in creating the ecosystem(s) you discuss, but it would be truly scary in my mind if the sole and legally binding motivation of that over-arching entity were the interests of Facebook’s shareholders. Essentially there is a large part of this discussion that is about moving governance responsibility from government to corporation. That might sound good to Facebook, but not to me. A battle looms in this space, and I suspect that government is far too compromised to put up much of a fight. The reaction of other corporations will be interesting, but they too are acting for their shareholders, so in my book they’re faux allies.
We are the shareholders of our government, and government is acting less and less in our interests. This farce is the real crucible. From this angle, Facebook is not the problem – they are acting exactly how we should expect them to. With effective government (acting in our interests), most problems dissolve into challenges that we feel empowered to resolve. We wouldn’t need to ‘trust in the Facebook’.
For me it seems absolutely clear that the future of the social graph and its associated data can’t be corporate monopoly – not just philosophically, but also practically: opposing forces are aligning against each other and it will become more and more painful until we reconcile them. Facebook is not that reconciliation.
The world is getting… interesting. 🙂
Ronald Lewis said:
The future of money and government is the Internet. Like most other things.
This really comes across as surreal. I am a geek that just said no to FB from the get go. It seemed smart at the time too take a pass after remembering the old AOL days and this seeming to close to that.
Now it is a Web behemoth and everything FB is gospel and I get beat over the head with how its going to change our lives and the truth is it a non-sequitur in real life and I laugh at it’s ubiquitous stature and how it bears absolutely no relevance to my life what-so-ever.
FB the New AOL same as the old AOL HAAAAAAhahahaa
Alisha Outridge said:
@Ric It is interesting that you mentioned AOL. AOL was a game changer in the 90s, it still exists as a top company in the industry today and it’s the perfect business case study for what a company should and should not do on so many levels. It helped blaze a trail for a lot of techie things like email, IM & virtual community mainstream. Facebook is a contemporary rendition of AOL in many ways, the pace is even faster and it’s on a global scale so let’s see what business students will be learning a decade from now.
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your post is really exciting and is giving way to some possible evolutions in the banking market. Yet, passing on my monetary transactions on to Facebook or any other private organization will not change the banking system – at least, not for good, IMHO. I assume that most banks are more than happy to get rid off the low-margin transaction products so that they can focus on the high-margin investment stuff.
Just imagine: Facebook may bundle a surplus of transaction credits on their trading platform, sell it to Goldman Sachs who rebundles it according to a complicated risk matrix and then distributes it back to the “traditional” markets, possibly using Facebook again as channel. Do you like this idea? I am pretty sure, I don’t.
Apologies for the name confusion. I meant to say “Venessa”…
Venessa Miemis said:
no problem 😉
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Venessa, I love your blog and point of view. Thanks for your honest approach. You are truly inspirational. I have bookmarked your site and read it weekly, as you are always covering the topics I find most meaningful.
Venessa Miemis said:
thank you justin
Tjarko Holtjer said:
I got those 25 ‘free credits’ from FaceBook but after a while they showed to have an expiration! FaceBook stole them back from me… So to have FaceBook as a bank – I don’t feel comfortable with that (yet?).
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Tom Crowl said:
Okay Venessa, thought I’d prattle on one step at a time till Godot shows up…
As I mentioned, you got that synopsis pretty good:
“…there needs to be a p2p network controlled by its users and not governments or corporations, and that transactions should be able to be made via this network with no transaction fee.”
and my assertion that the framework for such a general purpose Internet wallet is built… and that arose out of these origins:
An old post of mine (5-31-08) :
And if this is making any sense I’ll move on to whatever seems might be the next question of interest. But maybe good to go small bites…
Its not too long and maybe actually less confusing since it deals on a more concrete level.
Venessa Miemis said:
good luck gaining traction with your prototype and ideas, tom!
do you have a core community that is already using chagora?
Tom Crowl said:
If you try the demo you’ll see that its now only for demonstration since I lost funds for launch back in ’08. It was fully ready at that time but since then, without funds I’m just trying to get seen and meet people. I used all I had getting demo built and then financial crunch hit. That situation has also take up a lot of my attention but won’t go into here.
Feel free to check my LinkedIn network…
This is gaining notice… not only the specific model but the ideas behind it. But I can’t do this by myself. That’s why I posted here months ago and in similar places. I”m seeking help.
This is not about creating “Tom’s Handy-dandy Donation Spot”… this is about a needed structure for reform in both political and economic technologies. Its not a complete fix but IS a critical design for getting there.
My blog gets hits from around the world and numbers grow. Yet I seldom post. My old posts have long legs… and the PowerPoint is now at almost 15,000 hits.
No one can use it till I can launch… and I can’t launch till I get help financially and support from some key quarters… those targets are first the ‘meta-political community’ and certain others. I’ve been hoping to reach the meta-community… (that “Why Chagora” post is 3 years old and counting)…
But its really only now that I’ve been getting into that ‘theory’ shit that anyone is noticing. I suspect that w/o the theory crap… it just seems too amateurish for those more schooled in the field to take notice. And, sadly, it takes a patent before ‘business’ ears begin to perk up… especially for the lone, and non-experienced ‘entrepreneur’. Further, confoundingly, biz types are scared to death of anything smacking of the political… even when neutral.
This creates a ‘Catch-22 for anything attempting to address issues in this area… no wonder our virtual landscape is evermore filled with nothing but appeals to the lizard brain.
I can’t gain support without a chance to spread the ideas. That’s what I”m doing in my clumsy and frustrated way. I need to do it better. Time is short. This is too critical an opportunity and too many opportunities have been lost already… (again television is an important example but not the only one.)
This is a carefully thought out model for a still non-existent but needed ‘distributed’ institution. The method of ownership, its management, governance, policies and network architecture are all part of a integrated vision.
I’ve had a good email exchange with Mr. Rushkoff. And a couple of other people interested in these issues were also part of that conversation. I don’t mean to imply that he’s now ‘on-board’ but I believe I may have at least prompted some curiosity. And you’re welcome to check for his feedback.
I don’t want to start long comments here but its important to get across WHY this is important and that there’s (in my opinion) some reason to get moving on this before potentials are lost.
This is neither anti-business nor anti-government… but is part of a necessary effort to address problems in both… ultimately at a much more root level than is likely apparent on the surface.
This is about creating a distributed network NEVER BEFORE POSSIBLE with certain essential characteristics.
This network (unlike facebook or similar whether corporate or govt controlled) can provide the backbone for addressing problems in Identity protection and Independent network resilience… if neutral and user owned I believe it will ultimately establish an new kind of ‘information utility’ WHEREBY USERS OWN their information and the system has the capability of defending the rights of its owners.
I believe there’s a critical opportunity that won’t be open long… to at least begin to make changes in the structure of finance, money and credit-creation generally… as Internet payment systems become more established.
And I’m convinced that there are a few key principals underlying this idea that have a more general utility.
I’m a charming, hilarious, brilliant, third-culture creative guy… but I wouldn’t be good at all running this on a day-to-day basis. Bookkeeping, checks, customer service would all be completely disastrous if I was physically running it.
So that’s also what I’m looking for. Sooner or later I’ll find it.
Here’s my problem… I know I could be wrong… But I think I may be right! This landscape is rapidly taking shape and once that happens inertia makes some changes very difficult. I feel like I’m running against a clock. But unless I can find out that I’m wrong I’m pretty much stuck in this race. And if I’m right… I feel rather bad that I haven’t been able to run faster. Its a dilemma.
Again, this work rests on some specific ideas… Not just a light bulb going off in my head one day that it would be great to shoot quarters at politicians.
The critical controllable element for a social organism (or any organism for that matter) is the quality of its decision mechanisms. Money is a necessary but inherently flawed ‘decision technology’ founded in biological drives. This has implications I’m looking at.
Decision Technologies: Currencies and the Social Contract
Venessa Miemis said:
perhaps people within the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium would be interested in what you’re doing –
Tom Crowl said:
Thanks much for that! I immediately signed up!
P.S. The following really doesn’t get into the weeds of that altruism problem within our decision systems and its relationship to ‘natural human community size’ which I’ve mentioned …
but just after leaving my previous comment I saw this in my inbox from a friend.
From arXiv this morning:
Interstellar Predation Could Explain Fermi Paradox
It needs to be understood that the root of biological altruism is about where the line is between in-group and out-group… being nice to the other guy is about which side of the line you’re on!
I want our ‘tribes’ to expand… to be universal… but to do that we have to be realistic about issues arising out of our roots… and devise practical ways to address them.
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Matthew Slater said:
Never forget, Facebook is EVIL!
They are not a threat to the banking establishment, they are cooperating fully with the banking establishment. The new currencies they introduce will be presented as an alternative to crashing fiat currencies but they are likely to be even more effective at extracting value out of the economy.
All the stuff about reputation and new kinds of currencies is very exciting, yes, but this stuff is too important and too sensitive to leave to private interests.
We have to take a step back and develop our own platforms, which we can trust.
Money is nothing without trust in the issuer.
Who trusts that Zuckerberg tool?
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John Harold said:
What will prevent huge corporations from inventing “virtual” people on FB who will then do nothing more than create a huge marketing campaign for a new/existing product and/or idea?
Venessa Miemis said:
nothing’s stopping the government from doing that, so why wouldn’t corporations?
and does it matter? i mean…. that huge marketing campaign won’t “work” unless i’m interested in being advertised to, whether you’re a real person or invented.
it’s as much an issue of people being addicted to consumption as corporations being addicted to marketing. a vicious cycle!
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Juan - Vender en internet said:
What a huge article! But very informative, as always. I never saw from that point of view, I’ll try to be more careful. Thanks for this information.
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Jamie Mordaunt said:
Great article – thanks Venessa.
I run a UK business which needs to check out its customers quite carefully: we rent out fine diamond jewellery for weddings and other special events.
We’ve been using Facebook in an informal way to add to the existing, more traditional, checks that we run.
If we see a credible Facebook profile (& LinkedIn even more so) then we have greater confidence that our customer actually exists and we’re not being targeted for fraud – simple as that.
In fact, we might even start to ask for Facebook & LinkedIn profiles/pages as a routine part of our KYC checks!
Having read your piece I blogged about it on our website here:
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This is all hype. don’t worry about facebook becoming a currency to replace the dollar. it will collapse immediately.
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