ABSTRACT: Decentralized digital cash that for its creation, value, and transmission depends intrinsically on more than one individual is not truly decentralized. Instead, a group consisting of multiple individuals ends up constituting a problematic financial authority, however well-intentioned and however small in relation to the state. A radically decentralized digital currency would depend solely on the lone individual for the creation and transmission of money. Moreover, it would depend for its value on the individual (intrinsic value) or on an assignation of value by a trusted third party (extrinsic value) or on some combination of the two. Peerless is a monetary framework that enables the single individual to create and transmit money. The framework uses well understood cryptographic tools and can accommodate numerous types of value. Peerless is therefore not a currency per se, but a family of currencies based on different values capable of being encapsulated by them. The currencies within the Peerless framework all operate the same way and can be organized into tranches capable of being combined, teased apart, and exchanged. Peerless is not merely a system of credit and clearing based on a unit of account. It provides an actual store of value. Though purely digital and though issuing from a single individual, Peerless is capable of exhibiting the standard features we associate with money: scarcity, durability, divisibility, verifiability, portability, fungibility, and immunity to double-spending. But it also exhibits additional desiderata: frictionlessness, globality (indeed omnipresence), complete privacy, robust and expandable security, complex ownership relations (conjunctive as well as disjunctive), and automaticity (smart contracts). For Peerless to be able to achieve these results requires hashing, public key cryptography, digital signing, a publicly accessible digital space, reliable time-stamping, proof of work, proof of value, and proof of ownership. Peerless is in fact more than money: it is a cryptographic technology for asserting and transferring ownership of information, money being a main type of information that requires ownership.
EDITOR’S REMARK: I have known Bill Dembski for sixteen years. During that time, Bill and I have become close colleagues and good friends. Though we have basic differences on some matters (evolutionary biology), we see eye to eye on others. One of the things we agree about is the desirability of a free-market (or “classical liberal” or “Austrian”) wall of separation between business and state. Therefore, when I learned that Bill was working on a radically decentralized cryptocurrency to serve as a successor to Bitcoin and other blockchain-based forms of digital cash, I asked him, as a favor to TheBestSchools.org, to write up his proposal for this website. I figured that if Bill’s ideas eventually succeeded, TBS would garner a lot of free publicity, and if they failed, no harm would be done. Either way, I felt sure that the article — like all of Bill’s work — would make for interesting reading. Even if Peerless is not the final word in decentralizing digital money, it clearly identifies some important conditions which any future self-organizing cryptocurrency must satisfy to be fully successful. —James Barham, Ph.D., President and General Editor, TheBestSchools.org