Decentralizing Cash – The Ultimate Survivalist Preparation

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Andy Williams. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

If the catastrophic event you’ve been preparing for does one day come about, it will be a fearsome test of your survivalism. Like any test, some will not pass. But in this case the consequences for valued loved ones might be heart-rending. Preparation may be the answer, but whether it’s civil war, war with a foreign power, economic collapse, or social unrest, centralized money will have in one way or another been the root cause. Because whatever the event that tears apart the fabric of this country, the policies fueled by our fractional-reserve banking system-inflated fiat currency, and its petrodollar role, will certainly have taken us there.

Individual interests tend to focus in different directions than centralized ones. There are few parents, for example, who if given a choice would elect to have their children go hungry, thirsty, sick, or uneducated so they could spend money-making war with their neighbor. Their interests are naturally aligned to prioritize the well-being of their children. In a centralized government the vast majority of decision-making power does not rest with us or the people around us. In the absence of this authority decisions must by necessity follow money. And wherever the money is, whether it is in governments, corporations, or private individuals, if it is not with us it is always by definition aligned separately from our interests.

Through currency inflation, centralized money is not only then a means of extracting wealth from all who use it, but also a tool to further the interests of the centralized entities controlling it. Because money naturally moves public policy and broad societal and cultural changes in the direction in which the money flows; like an irresistible tide. There will of course be broad patterns to the directions that the flow of corporate money causes both popular culture and public policy to move in. Centralized money will flow towards policies and social changes that lead to the further centralized accumulation of money. A broad swath of society drifting with this current will move with amazing synchronicity, as if connected to invisible strings all pulled by the same hand. In the bigger picture, compared to this centralization, the leader, party, or system of government you believe you are electing may not even matter. It doesn’t have to be a conspiracy. Every act of this centralized tide of money will be in its own interest. That power will centralize this way should not be hard to imagine. It’s already doing so.

The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

Decentralized money is a key part of any model capable of ensuring a better alignment between the decision-making process and individual interests, the alignment that best ensures a tangible focus on the well-being of the people and environment immediately around us. This may seem like a radical idea, but it was only this century that bank promissory notes (in effect a type of currency issued by each bank) gave way to the centralized Federal Reserve system.

This finer point of decentralizing cash among different currencies is often lost. Though currencies like Bitcoin may be decentralized in their technical operation, they are still single currencies that permit one individual’s stored value to be speculated away by another person who did not earn it. They are still a means of wealth extraction.

A truly decentralized system of currency carries its value around with it independently of the guarantee of any centralized entity or of any single network to uphold that value. Gold and silver are options of course, but gold is heavy and having the waiter at your favorite restaurant divide your gold bar into change is inconvenient.

Technology may soon come to the rescue, enabling individuals to store and exchange value using a sophisticated system of IOU exchange in which value is stored in terms of IOU contracts held between members of the community. Such a system would track the collective collateral of the community, using that aggregate value to back the value of an IOU between two parties so that value can be transferred to a third. This system will allow the value of the currency to be guaranteed by the community itself as a whole when trading externally. During actual physical exchange the existence of sufficient collateral to cover an IOU document could easily be verified. In the absence of a telecommunications or other network the recipient will simply choose whether or not they trust the certificate embedded into the IOU, and whether they trust the community that issued it before deciding to accept the IOU as payment in a transaction. Like we do now.

These IOUs will of course be documents you can print out. But imagine they look like dollars. And the certificate of authenticity from your community, the community guaranteeing the value of the IOU … imagine that certificate looks just like the fraud protection features of the dollar. And finally, imagine that your signature is a serial number. All of this brings us to a pretty counter-intuitive realization. The ideal system of currency is printing your own money.

Read More: Is It Too Late to Start Preparing for Economic Collapse?

Printing your own money is a key part of the peer-to-peer, decentralized, user-centric, and collaborative economy we’ll have to depend on to create stable prosperous employment that can survive a currency collapse.

How specifically will a peer-to-peer, decentralized, user-centric, and collaborative economy serve your local community?

  • Design of products for local manufacturability by unskilled workers will create a more inclusive economy.
  • Design to allow for operation in areas disconnected from any infrastructure will create more equitable development.
  • Injustice results when demographics are under served. Key requirements of massive collaboration are algorithms that harvest the collective wisdom and motivations of groups. Collaborative motivation algorithms will identify the most powerful interests of each demographic to align services with their collective interests. Collective intelligence algorithms will quickly identify the most effective services to achieve those interests for each demographic. After identifying the most effective services for each demographic, peer-to-peer, user-centric, decentralized infrastructure would enable separately customized services to be deployed regardless of infrastructure limitations, thereby best serving the needs of each individual in each demographic.
  • In addition, we need to simplify work and simplify collaboration in ways that lower the bar to involving more people in internships and other training programs, as well as simplify the deployment of business models for collaborations that allow participants to earn a living wage. This will benefit all demographics through, for example, making education more effective, cost efficient, and accessible, through the creation of job opportunities, and through increased access to services like health care.

With this blueprint, independent communities can quickly build all the services they need in a way that’s customized directly for them, and that prioritizes their own family and loved ones rather than the interests of centralized bureaucracy that undermines their needs.

In this article I’ve laid out a vision for taking back control of a country that’s gone way off course. For me, this vision was one that demanded to be shared. As part of the audience who understands the magnitude of what may be coming, if this vision inspires you, take the opportunity to share and inspire others as well. Some of them just might be the makers who dream big enough to build it. The blueprint is there. The next step is yours.


Andy E. Williams is the CTO and Chairman of Nobeah Technologies Ltd., as well as the founder and Executive Director of the Nobeah Foundation, an organization focused on creating sustainably self-funding programs to distribute technology with the potential for transformative social impact.

Andy’s upcoming book “The Technology Gravity Well” details the solution Nobeah is building to implement this blueprint for a pervasive peer-to-peer, user-centric, decentralized and massively collaborative economy, and why at this juncture in time this economy is so urgently important.

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  • Bolofia

    Correct me if I’ve missed the point. Are you talking about a computerized bartering system, or a model that is even more diverse? It is easy to grasp the notion that individual interests can, and usually do diverge from centralized interests, but this article is a bit obtuse; even for someone who has a reasonably good grasp of economics and fiscal policy.

    • AndyEWilliams

      Thanks for your comment. We are in fact talking about a more diverse model, but one that does make the most of computerized bartering. Bartering is easy between two people, but consider 2nd order bartering in which you provide something that one person needs, and that person’s own needs are met by someone else. Proceed to third, forth, and then Nth order bartering in which you meet N people and give something of equivalent value to person one, they give something to person two, … and so on until the N-1 person gives something to you. This kind of complex bartering can’t be handled by an individual … but it’s easy to design an algorithm for a computer to do this. Now imagine that algorithm storing value using your community’s assets. You have a very powerful system now. But I want to understand your comment better. Did you mean to say that the article was “obtuse” as in we missed the point completely? Or did you mean to say it was “abstract” in that the point wasn’t clear?

      • Bolofia

        The concept is intriguing, but the article only touched on multi-party bartering in a very indirect way. Why not come out and say “barter system” rather than “…enabling individuals to store and exchange value using a sophisticated system of IOU exchange in which value is stored in terms of IOU contracts held between members of the community?”
        You are correct, of course, that keeping track of multiple, simultaneous 2nd and 3rd party bartering schemes would be extremely complex. The challenge that I see is how a local community establishes the relative values of commodities, whether it be food, bags of cement or corrugate sheet metal.
        Without electricity for computers, communications, or fuel for transportation, the only way to manage local bartering will be with a pencil and spreadsheets.

        • AndyEWilliams

          That’s the beauty of a system in which value can be stored in a decentralized way. No grid necessary. Poverty and suffering isn’t the lack of goods to trade … it’s the lack of liquidity to trade with.

  • Huples

    Any computerized system is a no for a prepper
    Any currency scheme using paper, local or regional, has to be safe from reproduction.
    Cash is great and works.
    I am happy to have the government control cash. I like roads, dams, schools, etc and to think individuals or groups can provide these as efficiently is an error.
    Local currencies exist and are helpful but I cannot see any use for them in buying a car or house.
    Precious metals have some role I think but frankly in most shtf scenarios my saved cash is king. In many scenarios the concept of cash fails.
    Not on my list of prepping issues. The Fed Bank thing is significant but the funnelling of wealth towards the very rich is a much more pressing issue

    • AndyEWilliams

      May seem insignificant. But fully 97% of your cash has been manipulated away over the last 90 years. Not so insignificant. Penny wise …

    • AndyEWilliams

      And one small point of clarification … a technology AIDED system based on contracts that don’t need technology AT ALL is pretty powerful in a SHTF scenario. You WANT every advantage in your corner … you just don’t want to have to depend on it. And in the medium to long term … stable alternatives must be found. When you run out of bullets an empty gun won’t protect your precious metals.

      • Huples

        Hi Andy,

        Thanks for replying. I’d say 100% of cash is manipulated:-)

        Who is buying and what are people selling in SHTF?
        In most scenarios my cash is for transit or maybe some food buys in the very first phase. For local issues it is also for clothes and hotels.

        Later on maybe people will trade gold and silver for food, clothes, services. Maybe not. I do have a small amount of silver coins but I’d rather barter if I am forced to trade with strangers. For locals it is tribal. I help them, they help me. We all win. No economic desire to accumulate wealth.

        Any web based system is highly vulnerable even if shtf does not happen.

        I do not own firearms. Bows, spears, knives for me. Not keen on fire fights 🙂

        Are you proposing local currencies? There are many of them around the world. I can see them reoccurring down stream from a shtf.

        I am lost about the technology aid system that don’t need technology? Storage would be by paper or having metals. Any storage on a cell phone, etc would be very vulnerable



        • AndyEWilliams

          Yes local currencies, but because they’re interchangeable they would form a network that could even be global. This network would be assisted by technology helping to set a value of each currency based on real assets. Real tangible value backing for each currency would prevent value from being manipulated away. Just like the gold standard … but decentralized and protected from the manipulation we’ve seen during the entire history of centralized money. This system would be assisted by technology, but it wouldn’t be dependent on technology since the currency could be exchanged without the presence of any technology whatsoever.

  • mbrat

    Thanks for this article. It does present a very important matter. For someone not very familiar with money it may be too general so please educate yourself about the monetary system we use and then read this article again. I fully agree with Andy. We need such a system to be financially free. At the moment we are using someone’s money and are being charged for it a lot. Most people think we have to. Someone also commented here that barter is illegal. I dont think it is. Government would still tax barter though. But illegal does not mean unlawful. We, people, shall start using common sense. We shall create our own systems not use someone’s systems if they are not beneficial for us. We have lost our financial freedom over the XX century and hopefully will get it back in the XXI.

  • Jct: Well-explained article on the benefits of personal currencies. Here’s my Do-It-Yourself Internet-ID-verified time-based currency: http://SmartestManOnEarth.Ca/unilets using the famous LETS timebank software.