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MONEY Could be So Much Better
April 4, 2019

MONEY Could be So Much Better

Patrick Tan explains the pitfalls of existing money. There could be a better way. And Patrick has an idea.

“Reach into your wallet and if you’re lucky, you probably have some crisp green notes inside. Take them out. Feel the cotton-linen blend between your fingers (that’s right greenbacks are not made of paper as the rappers would have you believe, they’re made of cotton and linen) and notice that unmistakable smell that is money. There’s nothing quite like having that tactile experience of money — better yet if that money has a portrait of Benjamin Franklin on it. From Rai Stones to seashells, mankind’s experience, encounter and regard for things of value has evolved throughout the ages and even today we’re evolving. Because that greenback that you just molested, is probably the closest you’ll get to government-issued money again as you go about your day.

What most people don’t realize is that money as we know it, consists of two components, private and public money. Say what? Isn’t money just money. Ah dear Padawan, if only things were as simple as that. Public, or government money is made up of the stuff the green stuff you just fingered. It also consists of the change that you just spared that homeless person. Public money comes in the form of paper (cotton-linen in our case) bills, metal coins (China has some versions which feel suspiciously like plastic), plus most importantly, deposits that commercial banks have with their nation’s central bank — in our case, the Federal Reserve. The last distinction is important and I’ll get to why it’s important in a minute. Private money on the other hand is the stuff that you and I probably deal with most often.”

Patrick Tan is one of our most favourite authors. Follow his complete thoughts here.


Ecomomic design is a core topic of Tender. We ask the question: how to design a truly fair peer to peer economy? We love to be inspired by all the smart thinkers out there.


* The beautiful artwork is provided by graphic artist local_doctor

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