Ever since I founded the first LETS as the Green Money Network in London in 1989 and accompanied the internet by carrying modems into Room 97 of the then Greater London Council, I was hoping for what is happening now: a conference organised by a co-founder of French AOL.
Our conventional monetary system will not last long. This prediction is shared by almost every economist today: debt-based and interest-based money is an unstable system that is condemned to die from intrinsic congenital imbalance (for instance the market cannot follow the speed of interest-based debt to pay back). No one knows precisely when the big collapse is to be expected, but everyone agrees it will happen sooner than later. The current world wide monetary crisis, as well as the effects of monetary concentration, are one of those historic social alerts announcing the big crunch.
What no one anticipates is that money is about to follow the same path the media followed during the past years; from controlled ownership of media with one-way top down broadcast systems, to peer-to-peer, participatory, open publishing. Millions of free currencies will soon circulate on the Net and through our cell phones. They will not be controlled by states or central banks, they will be issued and used by millions of marketplaces willing to free themselves from conventional debt-based, interest-based money (85% to 95% of money circulating today). Everyone will use these free currencies simply because they will be ubiquitous, easy to integrate into current media technologies, and because most people and organizations are undermonetized.
This new paradigm is likely to turn the current monetary system into a completely obsolete system. The next one will offer marketplaces the capacity to maximize their trade potential with the ever right amount of monetary mass at their disposal.
Among the current projects expressing this evolution, the FreeCurrency project is certainly the most advanced one. Next currencies platforms will be available on the Internet by 2009. It will be free and open source. It will provide the next open global interoperable infrastructure for the millions currencies to be easily issued in a peer-to-peer way. It will be easy to use via computers and cell phones, making it accessible to the majority of humanity. User interfaces will be sexy and very user friendly.
Early players such as banks, telecom companies, dotcoms, developing countries, entrepreneurs who will anticipate and accompany this evolution will get an incredible first mover advantage.
Our civilization is changing and all forecasters talk about the revolution in technology and cooperation and globalization. The shift we will see from money will be from a scarcity model to one that is sufficient. In this way, it will fundamentally shift human relationships and consciousness to a new place.