How Might Cell Phone Money Change the Financial System?

Journal of Financial Transformation, Vol. 30. pp. 33-42, 2010

14 Pages Posted: 9 May 2010 Last revised: 15 Dec 2010

See all articles by Shann Turnbull

Shann Turnbull

International Institute for Self-Governance; Sustainable Money Working Group; New Garden City Alliance

Date Written: December 7, 2010


The emergence of cloud banking in developing economies from billions of cell phones transacting both legal tender and informal units of accounts has created a need to reconsider habits of thinking about the nature of money and banking in advanced societies. The dysfunctional nature of modern money and banking is revealed by considering cell phone units of account based on four historical forms of money: (i) the current form of synthetic or “fiat” legal tender that can earn interest (ii) fiat money that does not earn interest but has a usage fee (iii) “Free-money” issued privately with a usage fee and (iv) “natural” money redeemable into specified goods and/or services with a usage fee. The value of a “green” form of natural money, redeemable into units of renewable electricity, becomes fixed by the investment cost of generators to create an inflation resistant unit of account. The paper identifies green dollars as offering a competitive medium of exchange for the “invisible hands” of (i) investors, (ii) Islamic economies and businesses, (iii) green voters, (iv) governments seeking to reduce the need for carbon taxing or trading and (v) those seeking a reserve currency in case the financial system fails.

Keywords: Cost Carrying Money, Electronic-Money, Financialization, Free Banking, Islamic Banking, Natural Money

JEL Classification: E42, E50, G20

Suggested Citation

Turnbull, Shann, How Might Cell Phone Money Change the Financial System? (December 7, 2010). Journal of Financial Transformation, Vol. 30. pp. 33-42, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Shann Turnbull (Contact Author)

International Institute for Self-Governance ( email )

PO Box 266 Woollahra
Cell: +61418222378
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SKYPE: shann.turnbull

Sustainable Money Working Group ( email )

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Hanover Street
Manchester, M60 0AS
United Kingdom

New Garden City Alliance ( email )

113 Guinness Court
London, UK, SE1 3TA
United Kingdom
+44 207 378 1902 (Phone)


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