I've always loved money. As a kid, I was a coin collector. Back before the mid-'60s, coins were typically composed of precious metals whose value was approximately the face value of the coin.

So if you were given a quarter made of silver, that was worth about twenty-five cents in silver. (Today, silver quarters are worth about $3.00).

Dollar bills were made of paper, which had no intrinsic value. But the government would exchange a $1.00 bill for $1.00 worth of silver upon demand. Of course, you could always just go to the bank and ask for change too. This meant that our paper money was backed up by hard currency (i.e., precious metals.) Before silver, gold was the backup metal used. The government set the price of gold at $35 per ounce and dollars could be exchanged for gold upon demand. Before that, we had gold coins in circulation (with $1 to $20 denominations.)

Backing up a country's paper currency with something that had intrinsic value gave faith in that currency to users. Losing faith in a country's currency would mean hyper-inflation and worthless currency, so having hard-currency reserves was a type of insurance against loss of faith. Today, all that is out the window. Now, we not only have nothing backing up our currency, but we are running perpetual deficits which may (and probably should) cause some loss of faith in our money.

But in a stable world, having a country's currency is pretty trustworthy, even when that country is a rogue regime. So long as there are people who can exchange that currency for goods or services of value, someone else will accept it for payment or trade.

Precious metals have some intrinsic value, whether in industry or even when used as jewelry. Besides being accepted as a medium of trade for thousands of years, metals have the advantage of not being tied to a specific country. Over time, countries come and go, and there is some risk that a country's paper currency could become worthless. Unless a huge deposit of gold were to be discovered, that seems unlikely to happen to precious metals but even in that case, the price might go down but not to zero. (I recently read speculation that some asteroids or moons in the galaxy were likely to be comprised of a lot of gold!)

So now we come to Bitcoin, which is a scam. Bitcoin is not sanctioned by a government and has no intrinsic value, so it fails the two tests we have described above. What it has going for it is "rarity" and frenzy. Rarity is completely worthless as I will hopefully show below, and frenzy is fleeting. So let me be the first to predict a value of zero for Bitcoin, despite its meteoric rise to the $20,000 level recently.


Let me introduce a new currency called AllenScrip. This is a series of scraps of paper with numbers on them. Each number is absolutely unique, and each is a true representative of a secret code known only to me and kept in my safe.

This number series in infinite in length. I can tell you that the first number is a single digit, the tenth number has two digits, the hundredth number has three digits, etc. Other than that, if you want to know the specific digits in sequence, you either have to purchase the digit or be a good friend and maybe I will teach you the algorithm I use to calculate each digit.

Each position is unique and within each position is a unique whole integer. So, for example, position "5" could have a value of 1, 4, or 7. Let's say its value is a 7. That means 7 is taken and will not be used again in any other position, other than position 5. Got it?

Digits must be purchased from me at $1.00 each. This is payable in U.S. currency. All purchases must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for the delivery of your Scrip. So let's say you want to purchase the digit at position 1. Send me your $1.00 and SASE, and you will get a piece of paper, labeled "AllenScrip", with the position of your digit (in this case, position one) and the value of that digit, which will be a whole number between 1 and 9.

The value of each digit will start at $1.00 but it will likely increase as buyers sell to others. Whatever the AllenScrip is sold for will increase the value of that Scrip and for a $1.00 processing fee (payable in U.S. currency) plus SASE, I will generate a new Scrip for that digit showing the current market value. I will also maintain a list of owners for each digit, so forgeries will not be possible. To ensure this, I strongly recommend that buyers and sellers prepare a transfer document, send it to me with the $1.00 transfer fee, and I will process it and issue the new AllenScrip after verifying the authenticity of the seller's ownership based on my confidential records. All shipments of Scrip updates must match the owner of records' address and the SASE included with each order.

Scrip will be sold sequentially at $1.00 per digit, but buyers who wish to purchase specific digit positions can do so for $10.00 each, so long as such digit positions are available. First come, first served.

The initial price for digits above 100,000 will be $2.00 each, and the initial price for digits above 1,000,000 will be $5.00 each. There is no limit on the market value of any digits.

Once you purchase an AllenScrip digit, it is yours to keep. You own it, like a piece of real estate or a silver dollar. And you may then sell shares in your digit based on fractions. Each digit is unique, so each fraction you decide to sell will also be unique, so long as you maintain strict accounting and compliance rules as outlined in our "Fractional AllenScrip" manual.

So let's say you are one of our initial buyers and you purchase the 27th digit. I will let you all in on a little secret. The 27th digit happens to be number 27. You may then sell 27.1, 27.2, 27.3, etc. You can set your own prices for these fractionals, just make sure you don't sell them twice! If you want to get really creative, you can also sell 27.01 and 27.02, etc. The sky is the limit!

AllenScrip is now open for purchase. You can be the very first to own Digit One or maybe you want Digit 100. If your birthday is April 20, you can buy digit 420. Or maybe you want to purchase the digit location that corresponds to your area code and phone number, say 9,785,551,212. There are so many options and who knows, maybe your investment will be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the future!

Caveat emptor.

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April 20

Allen, Thank you for the scientific humor, from one coin and currency collector to another :-) Your choice of April 20 is interesting. In Hindi (the national language in India), the number 420 is colloquially used for a person perpetrating a fraud. It is derived from the relevant section number of the Indian Penal Code.


Just to show you how hip I am, 420 is also slang for pot. How appropriate in light of our warrant articles! Thanks for reading and responding!


Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.