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Mission

"I don't believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government... We can't take it violently out of the hands of government. All we can do is by some sly, roundabout way introduce something that they can't stop." -F. A. Hayek

Monero gives me the hopeful feeling that Bitcoin first gave me years ago - freedom can't be stopped, and the rights of the individual will ultimately be upheld. Bitcoin will always hold a special place in my heart, but I have come to believe that fungibility is necessary for any crypto to be a good money in the sense Hayek refers to, and therefore a maximally useful tool for freedom.

Fungibility is a characteristic of a good or commodity where the market values each unit equally. For example, gold is considered fungible because you can always melt it down and sell it for the spot gold price regardless of what specific gold you have. One could say, ‘an ounce of gold is an ounce of gold.’ The same is true of USD cash. Every $20 bill holds $20 of purchasing power, and the bills are interchangeable when it comes to spending them. The USD has many problems of course - fungibility isn’t all that’s required to be a good money.

Right now, Bitcoin is effectively fungible for most users. However, there are alarming exceptions, such as some miners selling ‘virgin’ bitcoins to investors who are willing to pay a premium over the market Bitcoin price in order to be able to prove their coins have never been used in a crime. And because Bitcoin transactions are permanently and publicly recorded, each coin maintains a traceable, unique history forever. Governments are able to follow coins on the blockchain and declare ‘anyone who uses coins in or originating from address X is going to jail.’ The coins might still be spent, but they will likely trade at a discount due to the risk associated with holding and spending them. As the field of blockchain forensics matures (see companies like Chainalysis and Ciphertrace), I expect we will see more instances of governments ‘tainting’ coins and thus affecting their value.

Fungibility being ‘broken’ (different prices for different coins) is a significant problem because it goes against a fundamental quality we look for in money - the expectation that we will be able to trade it later for the same price we ‘bought’ it for. We want money to hold its value and to provide a reliable unit of account. To the extent the gold market could be fractured into sub-markets of varying prices and depths depending on spendability and other risks associated with each ounce, it would be difficult to feel confident you could trade your gold later for the value you invested. With regard to Bitcoin, I can imagine a future in which prices for coins vary depending on factors like state jurisdictions, whether the coins are virgin, have a verifiable history, have been mixed in the past, their likelihood of having been used in criminal activity, and so on.

Bitcoin offers significant advantages over the USD and other fiat currencies, and it has a tremendous lead in terms of network effect - maybe it will become a global money. But at some point I think these (and other) issues will be significant enough that people will move to another money the same way they moved from their local currency to Bitcoin.

If you accept all that and begin looking for coins that offer fungibility (along with the other qualities of a good money), you quickly realize nearly every cryptocurrency has a public transaction record and is subject to the same traceability and lack of fungibility concerns as Bitcoin. And among the few coins attempting to offer fungibility, Monero is miles ahead in terms of decentralization, adoption, established codebase, hashrate, market cap, probable coin distribution, dev team, principles, and so on.

I consider Monero to be one of the greatest tools for freedom in history. I want more eyes to see the word “Monero”, and I want to affect how it is perceived. I figure we’ll get plenty of “Monero is the coin used by tax evaders and drug dealers", and I want to make designs that tell the story that, while Monero is subversive and ready to aid in resistance against power, it's actually a message of love. Every voluntary exchange further organizes the scarce resources of the world in a way that most serves humanity, and Monero peacefully enables trade even when an outside force would seek to use violence to prevent it. The oppressed and impoverished benefit the most. That feels like love to me, and it’s the reason I created Club Monero.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you see something you like!

Mike

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