M-Pesa is a very successful system used in certain
countries wherein a certain provider of cell phone time
allows users to purchase, return, and transfer phone
In those countries it has become a defacto currency. The
difference between M-Pesa and my idea is scope of
is only used for one phone network.
I propose a business that would purchase phone time and
bandwidth from every major network and ISP in its
country. Service level agreements would dictate the
bandwidth and time available per credit. The business
would then sell bandwidth credits, refund
bandwidth credits, and allow free transfer from one
to another. ISPs and phone networks would allow
redemption for bandwidth. This could quickly become the
next currency. The scope of the operation could soon
encompass the entire world without running afoul of
existing banking regulations.
Inflation and deflation would be prevented by the natural
competition between bandwidth providers on one hand
and the open market for credits on the other. New
bandwidth would deflate the market only until its real-
world value were reached. Insufficient bandwidth would
inflate the market only until new entries satisfy the
If the company running the whole system tries to skim
too much off the top consumers will change back to the
existing, alternate way of paying for bandwidth.
Bonus: "credits" are finally money.
Bonus: creates competition between ISPs in different
areas as the credits for one ISP must be at value parity
with the credits for another ISP. If the service offered by
a particular ISP for credits falls below parity it could be
sued for failing the service level agreement. If service
bought on the traditional market falls below parity the
user can stop buying it the traditional way and purchase
credits instead. If an ISP doesn't sell credits at all it will
be out-competed by any different ISP in its area who
Bonus: Robust contract enforcement is encouraged
worldwide, as any country where SLAs aren't enforced is
left out of this alternate economy.