Money Reflects Society

Anders Brownworth
3 min readNov 10, 2023

Money must reflect the values of the society that creates it. If not, it will invariably lack network effect and therefore won’t become money.

A liberal democracy generally considers privacy a core right. Some degree of privacy then must be reflected in its money.

But a purely private money conflicts with society’s need to limit financial activities it considers harmful.

The need for privacy and the need to limit bad activity seem to be more or less directly in conflict.

Balancing these two priorities is the core problem to be solved when creating a new form of money in a liberal democracy.

At issue here is the thought that to ferret out bad activity, some third party to transactions must monitor things.

But is a “god mode” whereby the full transaction graph is known a necessary component of such a balance?

Cryptography provides myriad new options here, few of which are well understood.

Consider threshold encryption and view keys. Combining these new capabilities with the existing system of checks and balances creates intriguing options.

Let’s consider an example. Revealing identity information typically found on driver’s licenses (name, date of birth and address) seems a bit much if buying a cup of…

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Anders Brownworth

Applied CBDC Research — formerly Federal Reserve, USDC @ Circle.com, Bandwidth.com. MIT / Podcaster / Runner / Helicopter Pilot