3 min read

The need for ethical money

The need for ethical money
Atlas holding up the world

Most people don't think about choice in terms of what money they use. There are dollars and that's it. However, we can choose and it is an ethical decision. People understand how they spend their money is an ethical choice – choosing not to buy meat, choosing to buy local, choosing to buy fair trade goods. Which currencies we use are an even more important choice. Unfortunately, there are no "vegetarian" currencies. I feel compelled to make one.

Money is created by governments and spent to fund their operations. Many of these are engaging in unethical actions for they are not accountable. It is the lack of accountability that incentivizes them to go on behaving unethically. By earning their money, and spending it, we enable these institutions. If everyone refused to use currency created and spent by unethical governments, they would not be able to operate. Using an alternative currency is an effective way to express your voice, and simultaneously hold these institutions accountable.

All other options have been exhausted. We live in a democracy, and hypothetically we could vote to change what the government does, in practice our votes mean very little. Most people don't want war, and most people would like the government to be less wasteful. These things are never the major issues that are being discussed. Government spending continues as-is regardless of who is in office. Engaging in politics has proven to be futile.

Many people share this view and have tried to make alternatives. People have created thousands of cryptocurrencies which have turned out to be impractical. Others advocate getting back to a gold standard so governments must spend wisely. After ten years of crypto, and close to forty years of "gold bugs," nothing has changed. Promoting cryptocurrency and gold has proven to be futile.

Fiat is still the only real option that meets most people's needs. There are several reasons for the failure of cryptocurrency to deliver an alternative. These problems are fixable but crypto advocates have become preoccupied with personal profit. There is no longer any effort to address the problems of crypto. However, if we understand these problems – and we don't get greedy – we can overcome them.

The first problem with cryptocurrencies is that they are too volatile. It would be insane to denominate anything in terms of them – and nobody does. They are used often for cross-border settlements, but the value of the transactions are always denominated in dollars. This makes them useless as a true alternative currency. The need for a solution has generated many stablecoins, but these are all pegged in some way to dollars. A true alternative needs an unpegged, automated, mechanism to adjust to demand and keep price stable. Automation is required so that the creators of the alternative cannot simply decide to print themselves more, as they do with dollars.

The second problem with cryptocurrencies is that most are economically structured as get-rich-quick schemes. They prey on greed. Most normal people now believe that cryptocurrencies, with all the rug-pulls and pump-and-dumps, are just ponzi schemes. They are looked at with suspicion, and people shy away from them. Who can blame them? How can we expect everyone to pay to get some? Even if you're sold on the idea of cryptocurrency, they require too much effort to get and use. A real alternative must be given to them initially.

Lotus is an attempt to solve these problems – and several others. It is a monetary system not based on credit, to not force people to be in debt. It uses trustless data to automatically adjust issuance to demand. Freshly minted Lotus goes to projects which promote the public good. And, people have a way to get some freely. I give it to anyone who asks, and I hope you will do so too.

Distributing Lotus must happen at the interpersonal level. Automated systems will not distribute it effectively. Computers do not know how to be generous, nor exercise discretion. The best way to give it is gratuitously to people who are already improving the world in small ways, without any expectation of personal profit. Lotus is gratuitous and unnecessary.

The Lotus flower already symbolizes many higher values. Lotus is also a symbol of these things and allows that symbol to spread both locally and over the internet. Giving Lotus exercises our "spiritual muscles" without it costing anything – and hopefully will make us more likely to be generous when doing so would cost us something.

If we give Lotus, we can onboard the world to a different way of valuing. Slowly, we can lessen our dependence on money that serves evil and increase investment in something that improves the world.

It is unlikely that Lotus will ever be adopted by 100% of people for 100% of their value exchanges, and that's okay. Each time it is used, it has a small impact on removing value from systems that create war and debt, and moves that value to a system that does not.

This is why I work on Lotus, and why I give it away. I hope that more people will participate with me. If you would like some to give away, sign up for this blog, or reach out to me and ask. I don't expect anything in return.