Money is very old technology. Whether in the form of cowry shells or doubloons or banknotes or bitcoins, it’s based on classical physics: The token is in only one pocket at a time. But quantum mechanics has shown that classical physics is just an approximation of reality. If we want our economic system to be realistic, it should be quantum. The most obvious advantage? In a quantum superposition, money would be in everybody’s pocket at once.
Admittedly, quantum economics is counterintuitive, as is the quantum physics on which it operates. Perhaps the easiest way to understand the underlying theory is by calling to mind a famous thought experiment described by Erwin Schrödinger in 1935, now known as Schrödinger’s cat: A cat is put in a box with some poison. The poison will or will not be released based on the outcome of a quantum event. Since quantum theory requires that quantum events only have definite outcomes if observed, the cat will remain both alive and dead as long as the box is shut. Quantum economics simply enlists quantum phenomena to generate Schrödinger’s cash.
At 20 Rockefeller Plaza, I’m establishing the world’s first quantum bank. The Quantum Bank will have 7 billion accounts—enough to serve the world population—and 7 billion quantum dollars will be generated for each dollar deposited. Cash is deposited by a quantum event: the action of an alpha particle emitted by a uranium glass sphere. The sphere is surrounded by a microscopic grid of 7 billion boxes. The coordinates of each box correspond to one of the 7 billion accounts. The box that the alpha particle exits determines which account gets the cash.
If you were to measure the system, you’d find that the particle would pass through just one box, putting the dollar in just one account, providing the bank with just one dollar in total assets. However, the quantum banking apparatus is metallically shielded so that no external measurements can be made. As in the case of Schrödinger’s cat, quantum uncertainty will prevail. As a quantum particle, the alpha won’t pass through just one box. It will pass through them all. That means all 7 billion accounts get credited. The quantum cash is everywhere at once.
When the Quantum Bank opens for business on June 11, everyone will be invited to claim a free account, sharing as much of their wealth as they wish, or simply living off others’ quantum deposits. Deposits will be accepted in any currency, including dollars, euros, rubles, and yuan. All withdrawals will be in quantum banknotes—printed by the bank in golden ink—at a one-dollar-per-quantum exchange rate. These banknotes can be used wherever they are accepted, or they can be redeposited at the bank to generate even more quantum cash.
Of course, one small quantum bank can’t solve the world’s problems. That’s why all of my technology is open-source, freely available to larger institutions and governments. I would especially invite collaborations with the Federal Reserve and the World Bank.
By making money realistic, we can put the world’s finances in a quantum-economic superposition. Everybody can thrive simultaneously at last.
Jonathon Keats is an experimental philosopher and artist, and his Quantum Bank opens on June 11 at Engineer’s Office Gallery, 20 Rockefeller Plaza (Basement Level), in New York.