Seven wrote: ↑Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:58 am
Solomoriah wrote: ↑Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:23 am
So, the smart thing to do is to have a standard "credit" which can be electronically transferred, and not think too hard about it otherwise.
The issue with that is that you need a central bank of some sort to have a standard credit.
Cryptocurrencies don't involve a central bank. Bitcoin isn't a "currency" as such right now despite the name, but there's no reason it couldn't be.
In the Demon Princes books Vance imagined a very large and respected bank, not "official" in any sense but accepted by basically everyone. This bank issued banknotes secured by a secret method which Kirth Gerson (the antihero of the piece) kind of accidentally learned about, allowing him to make believable counterfeit bills that passed all relevant tests. But that story was written before modern technology changed what we thought was possible. Still, there's no reason why the central bank has to be run by the government; and given that the galaxy is very, very large, a truly "central" bank may be hard to properly imagine.
I did some very basic math regarding the possible growth of the human population over about a thousand years and kept coming up with truly staggering numbers. I'm not confident of my math or my assumptions, but I was somewhat conservative and still figure that a thousand years with moderately quick FTL could result in over 80 million inhabited planets and a total human population of over 200 trillion. Estimates say that there are likely about 500 million planets in the galaxy in the "liquid water" zone; given that not all of them will be able to support human life (and ignoring terraforming), we could quite literally fill up the galaxy in that time frame.
Even if I'm off by a factor of a thousand, it's still a lot of worlds. With fabrication technology, trade could be prirmarily in luxury items and rare resources, but you still would have trade and some currency would be needed.
It's quite possible that the galaxy could end up with many different forms of currency, each covering anything from one world to a few hundred, but a truly standard currency is hard for me to imagine. We can't do that now, on one planet, with a trifling few billion people.