Peer-To-Peer Bartering To Replace Money?
from the maybe-not... dept
Nicholas Negroponte was a huge supporter of electronic currencies, even as one after another failed. Now, he's back, suggesting that the next version of "electronic currency" will simply make use of peer-to-peer technology to complete multi-party barter exchanges. Of course, the whole reason money was invented was to do away with the need for bater, since it's tough to match up an even exchange in a barter system. Instead, you use cash as a more widely accepted proxy for a product that could be traded in a barter system. However, Negroponte thinks that the ease of money has nothing on... um... the complexities of a peer-to-peer barter system. Why? Maybe because it seems cool. Otherwise, it doesn't seem to make that much sense. Admittedly, there are new forms of barter currency and things like freecycle catching on to help people give away (or get) stuff for free. However, is it really that much easier to have a P2P system find a limo driver who wants a fish you can provide, and a dentist who wants a limo ride, so that you can get your teeth cleaned in exchange for fish (the actual example Negroponte uses)? Isn't it just easier, and much more efficient, to sell your fish in the open market and pay the dentist with your cash, while letting the limo driver fend for himself?