[ExI] De-Orbiting Gold

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Mon May 21 17:53:19 UTC 2012

On Mon, May 21, 2012 at 8:58 AM, Kelly Anderson <kellycoinguy at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think this story could be sold. If you can sell Bitcoin to some
> people as a valid government independent monetary unit, how much
> easier would gold in orbit be? I can't imagine that it would be
> harder.

You have no idea of how many years of effort, and how many
peoples' labors, it took to get Bitcoin even the nominal legitimacy it
now has, do you?

Just because a thing is possible, does not mean it has already
been accomplished.

> I'll admit to living in the future a bit more than is healthy. But on
> this point, I'm living in the present. I can almost guarantee you that
> if I had an orbiting bank that demonstrably held a thousand pounds or
> more of gold, that I could sell shares in that bank TODAY and that I
> could create a currency based upon that gold that would circulate

I disagree (at least on the currency part - you can sell shares in a
company with no assets, as I've seen people do way too often, so of
course you can sell shares of a company that arguably does have
assets), for reasons that have little to do with it being in orbit.

If those thousand pounds of gold were in a vault at the bottom of the
middle of the Pacific or Atlantic, could you do it?

What if they were in a vault somewhere within the continental US?

Unless by "currency" you mean "bank notes denominated in some
already existing currency, probably $US" - but then, are you
actually creating a currency?

> As a numismatist with 30+ years experience in studying money in
> its myriad forms, I can assure you that this would be accepted as real
> money by a very large number of people. It might even become more
> accepted than government fiat money if there were enough precious
> metals collected.

And what would you do when - not if - lawyers come after you for
trying to force the US to break its treaty obligations against
nationally appropriating a celestial object by recognizing private
ownership of one?  This is different from private ownership of a
satellite launched from Earth, since we're talking about gold that
never was on the ground in the first place.

>> Would you?  Then would you invest in a venture that sought to
>> create a space elevator?  How much are you willing to part with?
> If a company had a plan that sounded plausible, primarily in terms of
> the material to build the tether, I would definitely invest in it.

What about a company that's aiming to dramatically increase
public access to space, so that enough demand for space access
arises that funding for a space elevator may materialize?  If you're
serious about that, and have a few million dollars to spare...well,
so am I.  If you really mean it, let me know and I'll brief you on my
idea offlist; it's something that could be started today if the funding
was in place, and could be profitable (with enough customer
acquisition) in less than 5 years.

> In fact, if you really want to stretch it, you might be able to build
> a currency based on the gold that a certain company WILL collect at
> some time in the future.

That currency is called "derivatives".  I reject the notion that it is
possible to build this currency, only because this currency already
exists, and any effort to build it anew would almost inevitably fall
back into using what already exists.

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