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09 December 2006

Chinese characteristics versus the aether

From Smartmobs, a note that the valuation of Chinese currency may be affected by the popularity of the virtual QQ currency.

Since virtual worlds exchange rates can match real world currencies ranging from the yen to the Iraqi dinar, this really shouldn’t be a surprise. However, this is not how anyone pictured digital currency to evolve. It was supposed to be in either the typical evil self serving corporate world domination master narrative, or the untraceable money laundering of organized crime syndicates in obscure third world data havens. The idea that it would all start from chat and games is simply mind boggling.

It also speaks to the vast and untapped realms of human expertise and activities that have not been monetized yet, but will be changed by the introduction of new enabling technologies and new social mechanisms that will liberate the flow these goods and services in the traditional economic spectrum. Then it all becomes a question of competition among forms of wealth, for intelligence officers and investment bankers.

There are other such currencies lurking on the horizon, some glimpsed in Proteus, some in the writings of the many court jesters, and others as yet unimagined but vital to the next generation.