September 21, 2009 : : AOCS Update
1. Where does the time go?
2. New AOCS Approved Currencies
3. Las Vegas FreedomFest 2009 Wrap-Up
4. Facing Up to Face Value
5. A Tribute to the Liberty Dollar
6. Ag Trading Post – Coming Soon!
7. Go Local : : Buy Local campaigns
8. Silver Summit 2009 THIS WEEK!
1. Where does the time go? Thanks for taking a moment to review the very first edition of the OpenCurrency Update. As I work to create the list of important news and notices to discuss in this update, I am surprised by the volume of wonderful announcements to bring to your attention. Then, I reflect and realize that while there are a LOT of great things happening at the moment, the plethora of updates is based primarily on the fact that we’ve been chugging along for more than a year now and have yet to share anything with our fans!
So, first, allow me to offer a quick apology. The last 16 months contained a lot of “heads down coding time” as our star technical developer calls it. Crunching through various projects and establishing ourselves in the MarketPlace has monopolized our time. We focused more on results and less on communication. I surely realize each of the two is important and has its own place in the growth and success of any organization; the AOCS is no exception, and as such, the silence will no longer be tolerated.
For example, we spent 3 months just digging out from under the overwhelming response of phone calls and emails generated in conjunction with our partnership with the Free Lakota Bank. With our limited staff, balancing the service we provide to our Minting partners, Currency Issuers, MarketPlace participants and Silver Investors proves to be quite the challenge. Today, however, we have a great team of Directors committed to helping drive forward our mission of honest money.
So instead of attempting to hold your attention for the next 30 pages of text, simply to fill you in on all our great accomplishments, I’ll provide a few snippets here and will post additional content on the OpenCurrency News & Notices page for you to review at your leisure.
Now, on to what matters:
2. New AOCS Approved Currencies: We established an AMAZING list of participating Currencies over the past year. From Day 1 I knew that, if we are to succeed at establishing a respected medium of exchange, we would need participation from leaders. The groups that have stepped up to the plate so far to carry the torch of honest money is impressive, to say the least. To name a few:
- Ludwig von Mises Institute - who better to issue a commodity medallion than the mecca of the Austrian School of Economics, LvMI? There is no better way to describe this beauty than what’s posted on the Mises.org website:
“We can’t be more pleased by and proud of the new Mises Silver coin. It is the real thing, heavy and beautiful, a moving commemoration of Mises the man and his crusade for sound money. It is .999 fine silver, one Troy ounce.
For years, people have tried to design a coin like this, but this is the first real success to render Mises’s face on a medallion. Above him stands his lifetime motto from Virgil: Tu Ne Cede Malis, or do not give into evil. It was the line he recalled when leaving Europe during the war. It refers to the need to resist socialism, fascism, and all forms of state control.
The Ludwig von Mises Institute is printed on the back with Mises’s family crest, rendered in amazing detail, and the words “advancing the Austrian School of Economics.” All the words “Liberty Property Peace” are printed as well.
This mint-quality medallion is beautiful to look at and hold, a reminder of what constitutes honest money in a society of fiat paper. It was designed for us by OpenCurrency.com, but it became immediately clear that it had to be made official.”
- Free State Project - the folks in New Hampshire have been trading silver amongst themselves for years, and now they can circulate their own commemorative medallion inside their community and with other participating Merchants. As the medallion makes it way from pocket to pocket, it serves as a mobile advertisement and constant reminder that the only role of government is “the Protection of Life, Liberty and Property”. In the words of Free State Project President Varrin Swearingen:
“A big group of libertarians, classical liberals and anarcho-capitalists has a hard time agreeing on much of anything, but every single comment we’ve heard about the upcoming Free State Project silver round has gushed with excitement and anticipation. The first batch is reserved exclusively for $100+ donors to the FSP’s October 1, 2009 money bomb. I can’t wait to get my hands on one! The mock up looks fantastic. I’ve already got a place in my display case picked out, and I already have people lined up to trade them once they’re available in the store. These might just be better than sliced bread!”
- We the People Foundation - to commemorate the Continental Congress 2009, WTP Foundation commissioned their 1oz medallion to feature their monumental objective “to petition the government for a redress of grievances”. WTP Foundation is not just giving the Silver as a token of appreciation to donors; they are also looking to barter for expenses related to the CC2009 event coming up this November outside Chicago, IL.
And that’s just the beginning. Take a look at the Currencies page to see the other organizations that have joined forces. The AOCS has 3 programs in place for adding new Currencies: fee-based, where an organization covers expenses relating to minting their medallion; fee-free, where the AOCS sponsors the minting start-up costs, and finally a hybrid of the two. If you have an organization (and congruent mission) and would like to join our team by minting your own private barter medallions, contact Currency Director Eddie Allen to determine which minting program works best for you.
3. Las Vegas FreedomFest 2009 Wrap-Up: If you had an opportunity to make it to Las Vegas in July for FreedomFest, you may have caught my short lecture on “Commodity Community Currencies: Options for Honest Monetary Systems”. As a Platinum Sponsor of FreedomFest, I had the privilege of spending a few moments with attendees to discuss the importance of barter and local economic growth. While I won’t go into specific detail in this Update, look out for a future whitepaper on the comparison of various complementary currency systems, and why it’s important to establish a documented standard for participants to quickly audit the correlation between currency and the commodity to which it is linked. In the American Open Currency Standard, each “fifty” token is an ounce of .999 fine silver. This standard eliminates the opportunity for manipulation or misrepresentation, as the commodity itself is the trade unit. Therefore, each participant has full knowledge of the actual “value” of the medium that is exchanged, and can quickly evaluate if accepting the currency is a wise decision.
In the future, I will keep you posted on our public appearances where you can visit with us and have your challenging questions answered in person. For example, the AOCS had a booth at the Philadelphia Campaign for Liberty Regional Conference this past weekend. So, we’ll provide a bit more notice for upcoming events!
4. Facing Up to Face Value: Many questions are raised regarding the mysterious “FIFTY” that looms on the reverse of each one ounce round. What does it mean? Is each AOCS Approved medallion required to display a face value? What purpose does the value serve? Can’t the medallions exist without it? Middle-Western District Director Fernanda Powers wrote a magnificent article titled “Facing Up to Face Value”, which is an in-depth study of the valuation formula, why it is a critical component of a successful monetary system, and how it is addressed by Merchants in a free market system. It will be posted this week on the OpenCurrency.com website in the Articles section for your review.
5. A Tribute to the Liberty Dollar: As many reading this may quickly point out, the Liberty Dollar is not gone. It is dormant, possibly hibernating, patiently awaiting its day in court. I would like to take a moment to point out a few similarities (and significant differences) that will help the American Open Currency Standard from attracting a similar fate.
- AOCS Approved medallions are not dollars. Though many struggle to actually define a dollar (is it a unit of measure, a weight in Spanish Silver, or something else?), the Federal Government likes to think they own the word, and that creating something superior and calling it a dollar is against the law. Liberty Dollars were denominated in “Dollars”, and as such, were confused from time to time by those unfamiliar with the alternative currency system; after all, Liberty Dollars are not issued by the Federal Reserve. While AOCS Approved medallions have no specific brand or denomination, they are commonly referred to as “barter bucks” or “trade” in the MarketPlace. Let us make clear that an ounce of AOCS Approved Silver is NOT a dollar, “coin”, “legal tender” or “current money”. Why would anyone want to be associated with those ugly words, anyway?
- AOCS Approved medallions are unique. Part of the confusion may have been caused by the fact that Liberty Dollars look suspiciously a lot like coins issued at one time or another by the Federal Government. Was the Liberty Dollar designed to be easily mistaken? Each AOCS Approved medallion is designed specifically to avoid any confusion with existing coinage.
- AOCS Approved medallions do not require you to “do the drop”. With the Liberty Dollar model, supporters were urged to spend Liberty Dollars nearly anywhere with a “90% acceptance rate”. This was done not through education, but instead by dropping a heavy ounce of silver in a proprietor’s hand and offering little in the way of disclosure: that a Liberty Dollar (and any other limited use currency, for that matter) has advantages (and drawbacks) and can only be voluntarily exchanged when both parties are aware of the truth. On the other hand, AOCS Approved medallions can be traded one to one for credit in any existing barter group, of which there are hundreds of thousands of participating Merchants across the US. MarketPlace Director Jeremy Trudell makes a point of establishing relationships with other trade systems so that your AOCS Appro ved Silver can be easily and honestly traded for value across the country.
There are many other important differences between the systems that require mentioning, which will be done in an article I will publish in short order on the OpenCurrency website. Rest assured that much consideration has been given to the Liberty Dollar, its strengths and weaknesses, and how the AOCS can slingshot past unnecessary turmoil by operating ethically and transparently.
I will note, however, for better or worse, I have a great deal of respect for the monumental contribution and sacrifice made by Liberty Dollar Founder and Monetary Architect Bernard von Nothaus. Bernard has dedicated his life, fortune, and sacred honor to raising awareness of how money works through the Liberty Dollar over the past 11 years, and is surely the inspiration for what the American Open Currency Standard has become today. In spite of his abrasive quirks, Bernard energized my passion for honest money, and I continue to appreciate his wisdom and dedication to the cause. To that end, I will personally commission a von Nothaus medallion, and will donate all proceeds from its sale to Bernard’s legal defense fund. Bernard: I wish you continued courage and the best of luck in your endeavors; thank you for lighting my torch of financial Liberty.
6. Ag Trading Post – Coming Soon! I often wonder why so many in the honest money movement show such disdain for the Federal Reserve, and yet continue to gladly accept (and prefer) Federal Reserve Notes as payment. What would our country be like if Merchants, all of a sudden, began refusing cash? I’d like to take a moment and introduce Jarrod Atkinson, a brave Patriot from my very own town of Dallas, Texas. Jarrod is the Founder and Proprietor of the Ag Trading Post, a general merchant that exclusively accepts gold and silver in trade for all goods and services available at the store. The Ag Trading Post opens just north of Dallas in Farmers Branch, Texas October 1 of this year, and will serve the rapidly expanding network of more than 600 Merchants in the DFW Metroplex who actively barter in trade and AOCS Approved Silver. The Ag Trad ing Post will have a daily exchange rate for all forms of fine silver bullion and Eagles, and will gladly accept all AOCS Approved Currencies at face value. If you have a product you would like to make available through the Ag Trading Post, please contact Jarrod directly. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter on the Ag homepage for announcements and weekly product updates. I must say, this is the most exciting development I’ve seen in the last few years, and I hope it sparks a wildfire of replication across the country.
7. Go Local : : Buy Local campaigns launching across the country. A few of our Currency Officers have banded together, re-framing the AOCS mission to increase exposure and small business participation in towns across the country. This new initiative is dubbed the “Go Local : : Buy Local” campaign, and details can be found online at the GLBL website. Hundreds of organizations are popping up nation-wide to help incent consumers to think local first, and our Silver currency is quickly becoming the cornerstone of these initiatives. The reason is simple: a community currency is a “buy local promise“; without it, there is no way to protect wealth from exiting the community. As AOCS Approved Currencies are made of a valuable commodity, the choice is clear when a Go Local campaign selects a model to serve as the backbone for a local currency project. The role of the Go Local : : Buy Local team is to make it easy for anyone to help jump-start a fun and profitable “Go Local” project based on honest weights and measures.
MarketPlace Director Jeremy Trudell and District Director Fernanda Powers were at the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Fair this past weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado showing off the brand new “GO LOCAL” half ounce barter medallion.
8. Silver Summit 2009 THIS WEEK! Thursday and Friday of this week (September 24 & 25), the AOCS will host a booth at this year’s Silver Summit, presented in Spokane Washington. The Silver Summit is the World’s Premier Silver Investment Conference, and a great place to go to learn just about everything there is to know regarding the Silver business. I will be briefly addressing the audience Friday morning to share our success thus far with our mission of returning America to value-backed exchanges using AOCS Approved Silver. Last minute registration is still available by visiting the Silver Summit website. Come meet and mingle with the greatest minds in the industry for only $25!
In closing, I must make a comment regarding the many people I come across in my travels, who remark that returning to honest money sounds easy, but in reality is quite impossible. To these folks I simply offer that we, meaning you and the American Open Currency Standard together, are succeeding day in and day out at restoring our country back to honest trade by exchanging value for value. I ask that you continue to spread the message of Freedom, and in turn, it will be only a short matter of time before others find our beacon of hope for the future.
I thank you for your continued support of the American Open Currency Standard!
Rob Gray | American Open Currency Standard
firstname.lastname@example.org | 972.872.5499