Back in 2013 when Bitcoin was starting to climb, I began to research and try and understand what was going on. I explored mining them or buying them but what I got really interested in was the way that we were watching money become separated from governments and power. In that time there was a bunch of other currencies popping up. One of them was called Ripple. I signed up for a Ripple wallet, got 1000 free Ripples for signing up and then forgot about it.
Today, a ripple is worth $3.00 or so CAD. I have $3000.
At first I was excited. A bunch of money comes into my life and I can pay down my mortgage. But quickly I was overcome with sadness. That I live in a world where people do not have enough money to pay their rent and are choosing between dinner and their gas bills and I get money sent to me over the Internet for signing up for a newsletter one day. How is it possible that the world is so imbalanced? How is it possible that billions of dollars just came to exist out of thin air? How is it possible that I’m on the receiving end of these funds?
What is more frustrating is the fact that I cannot use that $3000 in any meaningful way to make the world a place where it is more just. I can use it to help a few people pay their bills so they can make it through a few more months. But any attempt to use money to try and create a world in which we are less dependent on money will fall flat. That money will get eaten up by the system and serve to further the system. It’s quite disheartening.
As a side thought, I had an idea once to start an organization of sorts called Money Eats Itself (inspired by Google Eats Itself) where every dollar that the organization made was invested into ways that made money an irrelevant part of someone’s life.