Social Currencies for a Digital Future

Amazon last week announced their first tentative step into the virtual currency world with the Amazon coin being launched in May. This has, sort of got some commentators rather excited with mentions of the possibilities of:

  • G-dollars from Google

                  . and

  • iCoins from Apple

Now, we thought we’d have a shot at completing that picture with:

  • ndows from Microsoft

                  . and

  • The Gal from Samsung

Unfortunately the Rim from Blackberry didn’t get into our top 5!

The European Central Bank (ECB) back in October last year decided, quite rightly in our view, that they should be concerned enough about virtual currencies to produce a substantive report on it Virtual Currency Schemes (pdf).

A virtual currency can be defined as a type of unregulated, digital money, which is issued and usually controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community.”

The first sentence of their Executive Summary of the report states: “Virtual communities have proliferated in recent years – a phenomenon triggered by technological developments and by the increased use of the internet.”

Now we, less grandly, call these “virtual communities” social media networks and think that it is at least possible that some of them may well introduce their own virtual currencies.  So for a preliminary list of the runners and riders we sought Wikipedia’s advice and found their list of the 200 or so major global participants. We’ve shortened this somewhat to come up with our initial top 10 taking account of their registered users and Alexa rankings.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Qzone (China) Wikipedia
  4. Google+
  5. Sina Weibo (China) Wikipedia
  6. Linkedin
  7. Renren (China) Wikipedia
  8. Vkontakte (Russia) Wikipedia
  9. Pinterest
  10. Flickr

On a very quick/casual word count Russia on the Wiki listing comes out ahead of China by some margin.

We will not insult our Chinese or Russian visitors by attributing a virtual currency name for their community but we’ll have a go at the rest:

  • The token for Facebook
  • The oneforty for Twitter
  • The resum for Linkedin
  • Pin money for Pinterest
  • The Pic for Flickr

There already is a widely publicised virtual currency in, fairly, general circulation, the Bitcoin  which has been around for several years now. It warrants a separate section in the ECB report and is convertible into major currencies.

This is how its done against the US$ according to Mt.Gox the largest Bitcoin exchange as provided by  Bitcoin Charts.

Click to enlarge

We’ll leave you with Bitcoin’s description of What it is!

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Disclosure: We have Marketing Affiliate arrangements with Amazon

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