Giants, Titans, and the video game Eve: A bold new proposal for the Bank of England

While reading Marc Rubinstein’s Net Interest I had one of those Wait-Why-Don’t-People-Talk-About-This-More moments when I read this:

When the Scottish banking system was formally brought under the control of the Bank of England in 1845, Scottish banks retained the right to issue their own banknotes but they were required by law to set aside assets that are worth at least the value of all of their banknotes in circulation. To this day, the Bank of England employs a small team of staff within its Notes Directorate to monitor compliance. The team conducts physical checks of the assets ring-fenced to back the notes – which can include £1 million Bank of England notes known as Giants and £100 million Bank of England notes known as Titans – and analyses daily data reported by the authorised banks.

A quick search confirmed that £1M Giants and £100M Titans are indeed a type of English banknote which is delightful.

Victoria Cleland, former Chief Cashier signing £100 million Titan note (Good reminder that money is made up).
Source: BoE’s flickr account? Wait, does the Fed have a flickr account? Yes, yes it does.

For some reason this made me think of a video game I have never actually played but have always thought sounds ultra cool, Eve.

Eve is a MMO where players buy digital spaceships and organize into factions that compete across a virtual galaxy (why this hasn’t been thoroughly crypto-tized is beyond the scope of this proposal and is left as an exercise to the reader). There is a Byzantine system of increasingly powerful ships, the strongest of which can cost thousands of real world dollars.

If the ships people buy in the game are destroyed, they are permanently lost. This combination of no respawns and the outrageously high cost of the most powerful ships is the reason I have always liked the game. There are real stakes. Surprise raids on these mega ships can have major political economy consequences within the game (or at least this is all my impression).

But back to the proposal.

Central Bank Digital Currencies were were an opening act. The Bank of England needs to finish what it started with Giants and Titans and further gamify its bank notes. The people don’t want a digital quid, fiver, or tenner. They want supercarriers, dreadnoughts, and ugh, titans.

I hope Andrew Bailey will acknowledge the arbitrary nature of money and do the right thing by embracing a bold new naming scheme for banknotes that is based on a more future-oriented view of money. Pre-decimal money was fun. Galactic money will be a blast.

British galactic banknotes nomenclature:

  • £1 note: quid is now Comet Frigate
  • £5 note: fiver is now Vexcor Cruiser
  • £10 note: tenner is now Ikitursa Heavy Assault Battlecruiser
  • £20 note = score is now Supercarrier
  • £50 note = bullseye is now Dreadnought
  • £1,000,000 note = giant is now Giant (no change needed)
  • £100,000,000 note = titan is now Titan (no change needed)
Gamify the Fed.

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