A SYSTEM FOR MONETISING UNDERUTILISED ASSETS
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to financial instruments, rewards systems and digital currencies or money, and monetising underutilised assets using the same to create economic resilience through a decentralized economic subsystem.
BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
Energy is the foundation of everything and of all economic activity. People also need energy, in the form of food and other energetic resources, to survive. At present, the affordability of energy or food is predicated on the ability of people to earn a living through work and to be paid in a fiat (conventional) currency an amount which represents the value of the work that has been done. This fiat currency - loosely termed‘money’ - can be exchanged for goods and services to the satisfaction of the owner of the fiat currency. The ownership of the ‘money’ passes from one person to another. Except for the effects of inflation, the‘money’ passes without deterioration so that it can subsequently be exchanged again for some other product.
Unfortunately, the skewed allocation of global financial resources has resulted in a significant proportion of the world population being substantially denied access to reasonable quantities of‘money’ which in turn means they are denied the means to satisfy their daily needs.
Furthermore, money or conventional currencies do not represent or mirror physical reality in that the issuing of such money is at the whim of the parties that control its issue. This is typically controlled by a government or issuing central bank through, among others, the mechanism of fractional reserve banking. To compound matters, despite the recognition of the inalienable right to life and liberty in certain countries, the monetary system as in its current manifestation is incapable of recognising the basic value of humanity irrespective of economic value accrual. In other words, the current monetary system equates an individual’s value to the economic value he has accrued - put simply, a rich person is more valuable than a poor person, in the eyes of the present fiat monetary system.
New forms of exchangeable notes or currencies are emerging in the digital age so that they no longer require a materialised form but can be recorded for the purposes of creating a
value exchange mechanism on digital or computer platforms. Often, the digital currencies are created using an algorithm that limits the issue of the currency, which is intended to limit the arbitrary dilution of the currency through arbitrary issuing of more units of the currency, thus ensuring that it retains value. The arbitrary issuing of digital currency units is the equivalent of arbitrary printing of conventional‘paper’ currency, which has a similar devaluing effect.
These digital currencies can also have a digital transaction record incorporated in them, sometimes called a “blockchain” record. There are many examples of these digital currencies, the most widely recognised at the moment being Bitcoin, which is a form of cryptocurrency, so called because of the cryptographic method by which the currency is created and transferred.
Although trendy, digital currencies don’t solve the skewed allocation of global financial resources. In reality, digital currencies are even further removed from and less accessible to marginalised people than fiat currencies.
Another problem relates to the prevalence of underutilised assets, which is inventory that’s overstocked, time sensitive (e.g. airline seats, hotel rooms, event tickets), perishable, decaying, low velocity or subject to oversupply or other inefficiencies. This decreases the probability of converting a vendor’s assets into liquidity. A standard response to these conditions is for a vendor to discount by some means (including reward/loyalty mechanisms), thus closing the gap between an ideal market price and a sale price, partially or wholly.
Even so, many of these underutilised assets cannot be converted, in time, to a conventional currency and such assets are lost to the vendor. This decreases efficiencies, thus increasing production costs and, at least indirectly, the purchase price of such assets. It also places an enormous strain on the environment to constantly overproduce products. The effects of such overproduction, ironically, places such assets further out of the reach of people who already have limited access to assets and‘money’. This is most visible in the case of perishable goods such as food. These are the very items that disenfranchised people would purchase first if they had the‘money’. Due to the overproduction and wastage, cost of such produce increase. The overproduced produce gets wasted and marginalised people remain without access to it. By way of example, it is estimated that as much as 40% of the USA’s food supply is wasted (Gunders, 2012).
Fundamentally, this is a financial liquidity problem. Insufficient liquidity, meaning the ready availability of sufficient units of money, reduces the probability of a good being converted into money which in turn results in an inefficiency manifesting as the underutilisation of goods.
There is a need to create a decentralized economic liquidity subsystem with a dedicated financial instrument, in which the shortcomings of the present fiat currency systems are recognised and at least partly alleviated.
OBJECTIVE OF THE INVENTION
It is an objective of the invention to provide a primary financial instrument to monetise underutilised assets that at least partly overcomes the abovementioned problems.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with the invention there is provided a system for monetising underutilised assets, the system including a system server, a plurality of citizen communication devices each uniquely associated with a citizen registered to the system, a plurality of vendor communication devices each uniquely associated with a vendor registered to the system, and at least one trader server uniquely associated with a system trader;
with the system server including a processor, associated data storage means, and associated data communication means, and the system server configured in accordance with predetermined rules to - generate units of an electronic primary financial instrument,
issue units of the primary financial instrument to citizens and the system trader,
store records of primary financial instrument units associated with each citizen, each vendor, and the system trader on the storage means,
record transactions relating to primary financial instrument units in the records on the storage means,
reduce the number of primary financial instrument units associated with each citizen, vendor and the trader at a predetermined rate which is less than the rate at which primary financial instrument units are issued to citizens; with each citizen communication device configured to securely communicate with the system server via the data communication means to access the record of the relevant citizen’s primary financial instrument units, and at least to display on a display screen
associated with the citizen communication device a visual representation of the primary financial instrument units recorded in the citizen’s record;
with each vendor communication device configured to securely communicate with the system server via the data communication means to access the record of the relevant vendor’s primary financial instrument units, and at least to display on a display screen associated with the vendor communication device a visual representation of the primary financial instrument units recorded in the vendor’s record;
with the trader server configured to securely communicate with the system server via the data communication means to access the record of the trader server’s primary financial instrument units, and at least to display on a display screen associated with the trader server a visual representation of the primary financial instrument units recorded in the trader server’s record; and
with the system server further configured to - enable trade in the primary financial instrument units by enabling each citizen and vendor through their citizen communication devices and vendor communication devices respectively to transfer and receive primary financial instrument units from other citizens and vendors;
generate according to a predetermined formula based on the number of citizens registered with the system a secondary financial instrument unit as a derivative of the primary financial instrument unit for trade of the secondary financial instrument unit on open exchanges;
enable the trader server to convert primary financial instrument units recorded in the trader server’s record for secondary financial instrument units; and
enable the trader server to trade secondary financial instrument units at least to vendors in exchange for primary financial instrument units according to a predetermined formula.
There is still further provided for the predetermined rules to include that - primary financial instrument units are generated based on the number of citizens registered to the system; and
primary financial instrument units are issued to citizens and to the system trader at a predetermined rate.
There is also provided for the primary financial instrument units to transfer back to the system server at a rate of 1 % per day of the balance of the primary financial instrument units respectively recorded to each citizen, vendor and the system trader.
There is also provided for the primary financial instrument units to be generated at a rate of 111 primary financial instrument units per day per citizen, to be issued to citizens at a rate of 100 primary financial instrument units per citizen per day, and to be issued to the system trader at a rate of 11 primary financial instrument units per day per citizen.
There is still further provided for the secondary financial instrument units to be issued to the system trader at a predetermined rate.
These and other features of the invention are described in more detail below.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
A system to monetise underutilised assets which also addresses some of the shortcomings of current single fiat currency systems includes the provision of a system server that includes a processor, associated data storage means, and associated data communication means.
The system incorporates members of the public and vendors of goods or services, that are registered to the system respectively as citizens and vendors. The system also includes a further party in the form of a system trader.
Each citizen is enabled to use the system by means of a personal communication device that is uniquely associated with the specific citizen and registered as such on the system. Similarly, each vendor is enabled to use the system by means of a vendor communication device that is uniquely associated with the vendor and registered as such on the system. The system trader has a trader server that is uniquely registered to it on the system.
The number of citizens in the system is limited only by the number of people on the planet, and on a more practical level those that will elect to register on the system. It is expected that on full take-up the system will have several hundred million citizens. The system has capacity for an unlimited number of vendors, and at least one system trader.
The system server is configured to generate electronic primary financial instrument units. These are secure digital financial instruments, and may take the form of a cryptoasset, based on blockchain architecture or the like. The exact type is not crucial, only that it is secure and
can be uniquely allocated to an individual in an electronic form, with the system enabling the individual to trade in that primary financial instrument unit for a value associated with the primary financial instrument unit. Ownership details of the primary financial instrument units may be stored using blockchain architecture or the like and may be located on a multitude of different distributed storage means, each with its own associated processor, which cooperate to ensure the integrity of the system.
The system server generates primary financial instrument units according to the number of citizens registered to the system. In the preferred embodiment the system server generates primary financial instrument units at a rate of 111 per citizen per day.
Of the 111 primary financial instrument units that are generated per citizen per day, 100 units are issued to each respective citizen and 11 are issued to the system trader. The system server keeps record of the number of citizens registered to it and generates that number times 111 units, issues that number times 11 units to the system trader, and 100 units to each citizen.
The primary financial instrument units are issued completely free of charge to each citizen, in the form of a Universal Basic Unit, or an“UBU” token. UBU tokens are issued free of charge to citizens in a number which is intended to provide each citizen, once the system has reached a critical mass of acceptance with all involved parties and associated value in the market, with enough‘currency’ to sustain himself each day.
To prevent hoarding of UBU tokens, inject velocity into the system, and promote the core principle of providing people in need with sufficient resources to sustain themselves, UBU tokens that are issued by the system to the citizen are configured to dissipate at a rate of 1 % of the balance of UBU tokens owned by a citizen per day. This provides the citizen with a direct incentive to trade his UBU tokens before they are gone. If left unused, a citizen’s UBU tokens will over time decrease to zero, much as inflation would decay the value of fiat currencies. The dissipation is also anticipated to add velocity to the system by providing participants to the system with an incentive to trade with their UBU tokens.
Similarly, UBU tokens issued to the system trader and UBU tokens received by vendors dissipate at a rate of 1% per day back to the system. The UBU tokens which dissipate are moved from the records of citizens, vendors and the system trader back to the system server.
UBU tokens that have been allocated to each citizen are recorded in a database on the storage means of the system server. As mentioned above, this may be comprised of a multitude of different storage means which cooperate using blockchain technology to ensure the integrity of the system.
The server allows each citizen access by means of his communication device to the record of the UBU tokens recorded to his name in the database. This is displayed to the citizen on his communication device as UBU tokens in an electronic‘wallet’. The citizen thus sees, from his perspective, using his communication device, an electronic wallet belonging to him which contains UBU tokens belonging to him. The citizen’s communication device is typically, but not limited to, a smart phone with internet access. A so-called feature phone may, for example, also be used in which the phone’s USSD functionality is used to communicate with the server to enable communication with the system server.
As mentioned above, the citizen receives 100 UBU tokens per day, which accumulate to his name in the system’s database, and the corresponding number is indicated in his wallet.
A vendor is similarly provided with access to his records on the database by means of his communication device. This is similarly displayed to the vendor on his communication device as UBU tokens in his electronic‘wallet’. The vendor thus sees, from his perspective, using his communication device, an electronic wallet belonging to him which contains UBU tokens belonging to him. The vendor’s communication device is typically a communications device with internet access, but it could also be an internet enabled point-of-sale device.
The vendor is not issued free UBU tokens, at least not in his capacity as vendor. The vendor can of course, if he is an individual, earn UBU tokens by registering as a citizen, and he can also earn UBU tokens as an incentive for registering citizens or vendors to the system. Apart from this, a vendor obtains UBU tokens by selling goods or services to a citizen in exchange for the citizen’s UBU tokens as means of payment.
The interface that is displayed to the citizen on his communication device - i.e. his wallet - also enables the citizen to trade with his UBU tokens. It provides him with the option to spend or transfer his UBU tokens.
To spend his UBU tokens a citizen specifies, by way of his wallet, a vendor’s wallet number. This typically comprises a mobile communication device contact (telephone) number and will
be provided to the citizen by the vendor. It can also be presented at the point of sale in the form of a scannable code which is configured to input the correct details in the citizen’s wallet for payment. The citizen is also provided with a data input field to record details of the transaction, which could include a description of the goods or services and an invoice or reference number. Once this is completed the citizen authorises the transaction from his communication device, and the vendor receives confirmation of receipt of the UBU tokens on his communication device along with the relevant details. With delivery of the goods or services associated with the payment, the transaction is concluded.
The first reason the vendor would engage in this transaction instead of relying on a sale of the relevant good or services using a fiat currency is that the goods or services are underutilised. The vendor has limited time to shift the goods or services, after which they lose some or all value. The system is configured to incentivise the vendor to sell at least some of his underutilised goods and services, and even non-underutilised goods and services, with a price in UBU tokens.
For example, a retailer decides it will price a loaf of bread that is a few days old at 50 UBU tokens, alongside for example its conventional price of R5 where a fresh bread would be priced at R10. Unless the retailer can sell the bread in a day or two it would be throwing the bread away. There is no real value, at least not in fiat currency, to the bread at this point.
It is worth noting here that the food (bread) is not yet actually old, but the point at which it will be deemed old is fast approaching. It is also worth noting that much of the food that is disposed of by retailers is not actually too old to consume, but the modern buying habits of people see them almost always selecting the freshest food. This means, as long as fresh bread is added daily to a bread counter any bread that is not sold that day will very likely not be sold. Added to this is that the retailer will tend to overstock with most foodstuffs to avoid shelves running empty, which is viewed negatively by consumers. As noted above, in the USA up to 40% of food is wasted, and the above reasons contribute to this.
The retailer is thus left with bread which is not likely to be sold. By pricing the deteriorating bread in UBU tokens the vendor gains access to a new market which comprise people who otherwise would not have had the means to buy the bread, even stale bread, on a daily basis.
A citizen can now purchase the bread with the UBU token price using his daily UBU allowance. At the example price of 50 UBU tokens per loaf of bread, a citizen can purchase two bread loaves per day, which is sufficient to survive. In similar vein, the vendor would also price other underutilised food items in UBU tokens, which will allow the citizen to purchase a greater variety of food items, for example also some fruit, vegetables or milk.
The vendor thus receives from these transactions a significant number of UBU tokens in its wallet. The vendor needs to spend these before they dissipate, which still occurs a rate of 1% per day.
In the same geographical area as the retailer vendor, a cleaning company vendor has unscheduled time available. The services that it could potentially render in that time is a underutilised asset - unless it can fill that time with productive work it will be lost forever. The cleaning company vendor offers it services to the retailer vendor with its service priced in UBU tokens. Payment for the cleaning service is thus by the retailer vendor to the cleaning company vendor in UBU tokens.
The retailer vendor’s wallet is decreased by the number of UBU tokens and the cleaning company vendor’s wallet is increased by the amount. This places the cleaning company now in possession of a number of UBU tokens it needs to spend before they dissipate. The cleaning company may have an arrangement with its staff to pay them, at least partly, in UBU tokens for such underutilised work. The cleaning staff can use the UBU tokens they receive in this manner in their UBU wallets to purchase more items at the same (or another) retailer vendor.
In this way the UBU tokens have become a token of value, which allows it to be used in commerce. The point at which the retailer decides to price the loaf of bread is completely open to market forces. It depends on the value attributed to the UBU tokens. As will be seen further on the system includes a mechanism to attribute an effective exchange rate between UBU tokens and fiat currencies which will aid vendors in determining price points.
Use of the UBU tokens does not do away with conventional fiat currency systems. The retailer will still mark his goods in conventional currency, as will the cleaning company. The employees of the cleaning company will likely also still be paid using conventional currency, and possibly in a combination of conventional currency and UBU tokens.
Conventional currency systems do have positive attributes and by using UBU tokens alongside a conventional fiat currency system their positive attributes cooperate to provide the benefits of both to the economy.
The USD, which may be viewed as a proxy for all fiat currencies, is a tool created by humans to store, access and“track” value. USD liquidity is expensive. The UBU is a tool created to distribute value and lower the price of liquidity. The two complementary liquidity systems (USD and UBU) can counteract the inefficiencies that each have on their own. The UBU alone would be inefficient because it would pressure asset prices towards zero whereas the USD alone (as history has proven) is inefficient because it pressures asset allocation toward unequal allocation and thus the risk of systemic instability.
As mentioned above, a first reason a vendor may price goods or services in UBU tokens is the ability to monetise underutilised assets.
A second reason why a vendor would price goods or services in UBU tokens, or accept payment for such in UBU tokens, relate to the ability of the system to provide a zero-cost exponential marketing platform. The cost is zero because access and utilization to the technology which manages the system is completely free.
This system provides a platform for exponential marketing by connecting vendors with a large number of customers in the form of citizens (in the system). As pointed out above, the only hard limitation to the number of citizens in the system is the number of people on planet earth. Also, as pointed out elsewhere it is expected that the number of citizens in the system will stabilise at several hundred million. This number of citizens provide vendors with access to customers outside their normal customer base.
The system’s platform further provides exponential marketing by making use of the network of networks quadratic effect. This follows the principle described in Metcalfe’s Law, which states, in the context of the system of the invention, that the effect of a network is proportional to the square of the number of citizens. The‘value’ or‘effectiveness’ of the network increases quadratically with an increase in the number of participants to it.
The platform provides direct access to large numbers of customers with additional liquidity accumulated via UBU tokens. This is complementary to a vendor’s existing fiat currency business, and not detrimental to it.
In addition to the above method of redistributing the UBU tokens they receive from trade, vendors are provided an additional avenue for generating value from the UBU tokens, which is by way of exchanging UBUs for a secondary token known as the UBX. Furthermore, vendors can earn UBX by providing services to the system trader, such as recruitment of other vendors or of citizens so as to help to maximise the growth of the system.
The UBX is a free-floating crypto asset which price is determined by free market forces. As with all crypto tokens imbued with true utility, the longer one holds them the greater the return.
The UBX is a token that returns more UBU tokens to its holder over time, thus countering the effect of dissipation. Similarly, in fiat currency systems, and owner of units of a fiat currency can use the fiat currency to purchase an instrument such as a bond or stock which the owner hopes will return more fiat in the future.
To create the UBX and ensure that more UBU tokens are available in the future to deliver to the UBX holder, the 11 UBU tokens which are issued each day to the system trader are over time fully allocated to UBXs by the system trader. UBX are created according to a fixed formula in which the total number of UBX at any point in time is directly linked to the number of citizens utilising the UBU system. The formula is structured in such a way that the number of new UBX created per quanta of new citizens decreases exponentially over time which results in a limit to the total number of UBX that can be created.
On creation, the UBX are issued to the system trader which then exchanges them for various services that it requires as well as exchanging them for UBU tokens which the system trader chooses to receive in return for UBX.
In other words, the system trader receives 11 UBU per day per citizen which it allocates to UBX units which UBX units the system trader is then issued according to the UBX creation formula. But the system trader can also choose to accept UBU tokens from citizens or vendors in exchange for UBX thus enabling fungibility between UBU and UBX. Since UBU tokens are fungible for goods, and goods are fungible for fiat, UBX will also be fungible for fiat currency according to the dictates of market forces.
Profit margin is an impediment to economic resilience, which means for a particular asset, the lower the price offered by a vendor, the greater the probability of attracting a customer, and therefore the greater the growth of the customer base. The system of the invention enables businesses of all types to forego a portion of profit (as classically measured by EBITDA) so as to rapidly grow & profit from the return on network value instead. The foregone profit is delivered to UBU tokens which enables economic access to all people through equally distributed liquidity. The UBU tokens can be converted to UBX which, if held, will enable exponential capital gains more than offsetting the profit foregone.
The UBX are managed by a UBX manager. As mentioned above, the UBX manager can accept UBU tokens for UBX as it sees fit, and perhaps at a predetermined formula. The UBX is free-floating and fully tradeable with other cryptos and even fiat currencies on conventional open exchanges. This provides the UBX with a conventional fiat currency value, subject only to market forces.
The linking of UBU tokens with tradeable UBXs provides an additional justification for vendors to join the system and accept UBU tokens as payment for goods or services. A vendor may receive a significant number of UBU tokens and does not have the ability to spend it all. Rather than have it dissipate at a rate of 1% per day, the vendor may elect to surrender his UBU tokens to the UBX manager in return for UBX. This allows the vendor to grow his business by accepting UBU tokens for more goods and services, since he can “invest” the UBU tokens in UBXs.
The UBXs are issued according to a predetermined formula which generally described an S- curve, with the rate at which UBXs slowly approaching a maximum. This provides a scarcity element to the UBXs. At the same time, as pointed out above the value or effectiveness of the network increases quadratically, which means the system includes a built-in driver to increase the value of the UBXs, and in turn the UBU tokens which may be exchanged for UBXs.
This grows the network and increases the value of the UBU tokens. This allows the vendor to spend some of his UBU tokens on other goods and services as the network grows, which allows him to not only mobilise underutilised assets but also to price items which are not yet underutilised also in UBU tokens, or possibly only in UBU tokens.
An example of this includes where a vendor may elect to offer a promotion by pricing certain items in UBU tokens. Since the vendor has the backup of being able to invest his UBU tokens into UBXs, this option may actually be more profitable to the vendor than offering a promotion only in a conventional fiat currency at a discounted price.
Similarly, a vendor may offer loyalty points in UBU tokens. This is a free option in which customers will receive value in the form of UBU tokens which can be spent anywhere that UBU tokens are accepted for payment. It is anticipated that in time with the network effect in place most vendors will price at least some items in UBU tokens, and quite possibly will price most if not all of their items in UBU tokens and conventional fiat currency (remembering that the UBX investment option provides the vendor an added benefit to taking payment in UBU tokens which he does not receive with a conventional fiat currency). The use of the UBU tokens for loyalty programs further leverages the network effect to the benefit of the system, and the citizens and vendors alike.
By making use of the UBX, the value of fiat currencies is in effect recognized and incorporated into the system of the invention. UBU tokens do not seek to replace fiat currencies as payment means, but to complement it. A vendor may elect, at will, to trade his UBU tokens for UBX to effectively provide him with an investment on an open exchange.
Use of the system of the invention also does not detract from the conventional currency economy. To the contrary, by mobilising underutilised assets waste is reduced and vendors are provided with more cost-efficient means of reaching customers. This makes businesses more efficient.
Businesses will primarily still trade in conventional currencies, and since the value of UBU tokens issued to citizens is calculated to be just sufficient to sustain a person, and the balance of UBU tokens in wallets dissipate on a daily basis, albeit at a low rate, there is no incentive for a citizen to hoard UBU tokens but every incentive to trade them - either for goods or services, or in the case of a vendor also for UBX investment units.
The system of the invention enables people with little or no access to assets sustain themselves, which has the anticipated positive side effect of allowing such people the energy instead to improve their own situations, instead of spending all their energy just to survive.
To the extent that a citizen becomes reliant on UBU tokens which he receives from the system he may still elect to not seek to improve his own situation. This is still preferable to the current alternative where such a person becomes destitute and reliant on handouts. That person, by registering as a citizen and being provided with the means to sustain himself every day, is less or not at all dependent on handouts, and thus less of a‘burden’ on society in that sense. To the contrary, that person’s participation in the system of the invention simply as a citizen which trades his daily UBU tokens actually contributes to society by aiding the network effect which improves the system for everyone else participating in it. There is thus no downside to implementing the system.
The system according to the invention provides a structure, financial instruments, means for all people to use the system, and rules to manage the system to the benefit of all involved. This provides a secondary currency for economies using conventional currencies, without detracting from the value of fiat currencies.
It will be appreciated that the embodiment of the system described above is given by way of example only and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention. It is possible to alter aspects thereof without departing from the essence of the invention.