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On the Use of Computer Programs as Money


  • Ross D. King


Money is a technology for promoting economic prosperity. Over history money has become increasingly abstract, it used to be hardware, gold coins and the like, now it is mostly software, data structures located in banks. Here I propose the logical conclusion of the abstraction of money: to use as money the most general form of information - computer programs. The key advantage that using programs for money (program-money) adds to the technology of money is agency. Program-money is active and thereby can fully participate in economics as economic agents. I describe the three basic technologies required to implement program-money: computational languages/logics to unambiguously describe the actions and interactions of program-money; computational cryptography to ensure that only the correct actions and interactions are performed; and a distributed computational environment in which the money can execute. I demonstrate that most of the technology for program-money has already been developed. The adoption of program-money transfers responsibility from human economic agents to money itself and has great potential economic advantages over the current passive form of money. For example in microeconomics, adding agency to money will simplify the exchange of ownership, ensure money is only used legally, automate the negotiation and forming of contracts, etc. Similar advantages occur in macroeconomics, where for example the control of the money supply could be transferred from central banks to money. It is also possible to envisage money that is not owned by any external human agent or corporation. One motivation for this is to force economic systems to behave more rationally and/or more like a specific economic theory, thereby increasing the success of economic forecasting.

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  • Ross D. King, 2016. "On the Use of Computer Programs as Money," Papers 1608.00878,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1608.00878

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Herbert A. Simon & Massimo Egidi & Ricardo Viale & Robin Marris, 1992. "Economics, Bounded Rationality and the Cognitive Revolution," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 409, June.
    2. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475, Fall.
    3. Ali, Robleh & Barrdear, John & Clews, Roger & Southgate, James, 2014. "The economics of digital currencies," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 54(3), pages 276-286.
    4. Ali, Robleh & Barrdear, John & Clews, Roger & Southgate, James, 2014. "Innovations in payment technologies and the emergence of digital currencies," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 54(3), pages 262-275.
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