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Is the world ready for a new form of currency and a 21st-century payment system?  It seems long overdue.  The last twenty years have seen exponential growth and unprecedented change in so many sectors, yet money has remained much the same.

It’s easy to imagine how helpful it would be if exchanging money was easier and more secure.  For example, how many times have you had to replace your credit card because of fraud?  How much money is lost to the middle man in each credit card transaction? And what about that credit card bill you forgot to pay that’s due tomorrow?  Amazon could deliver a purple beanbag chair to your doorstep faster than your check will reach the “Members Services Center” in Illinois.

Considering all of the other real advances we’ve made, from transporting people to a permanent space station to exchanging information in real time across the globe, you’d think we’d be able to figure out a better and more efficient way to transfer funds. (We happen to have a coWORKer working on just such a project – and it’s very exciting!)

But the really exciting part is imagining how modernizing the exchange of currency could also change the very nature of money.  What if transferring funds was as simple as a click, and no value was lost in the transaction?  Then that inspiring blog post that you gave a “thumbs-up” could also get a dime.  Multiply that by a thousand followers and a daily post, and the author would now have income to support that writing.

But our 21st-century world is still operating on 20th-century models in this area.  Ads and subscriptions were what print media used; the digital world has an opportunity to do something new, and fresh, and much more suited to the medium.  I don’t want to pay the minimum price required by a credit card company to read a blog, nor do I really want to have more advertisements thrown in my face, but I really would like to support the content I value with micro-payments.

This is only one small idea.  It’s easy to think of more…How do we place a value on social capital or public art or pollinators or soil health?  And, most importantly, how do we shift money from a paradigm of scarcity to one of abundance?

P.S. I actually checked my beanbag chair statement above….and it’s true. 

Published June 25th, 2015

Written and photographed by Natasha Juliana. Edited by Linda Jay. Curious about Coffee Social?  Join us Tuesdays at 10 AM.