The United States dropped its reliance on gold in 1971, but Jackson doubted the wisdom of this move. “Many a paper currency has spun out of orbit in a calamitous trajectory,” he once wrote. “There has never been an instance of gold or silver being discarded as worthless.”Bullion and Bandits: The Improbable Rise and Fall of E-Gold | Threat Level | Wired.com
It was time, Jackson mused, for a radical rethink of money. Had he been born in another era, he could scarcely have acted on his beliefs. But the nascent internet changed everything. The international, 24-hour churn of e-commerce cried out for a monetary system that transcended borders and time zones. So in early 1996, Jackson began programming a back-end system for a new electronic currency, practicing medicine by day, and coding by night.
He hired a software engineer to create the user interface, and four months later launched E-Gold.
As Jackson envisioned it, E-Gold was a private, international currency that would circulate independent of government controls, and stand impervious to the market’s highs and lows. Brimming with evangelical enthusiasm, Jackson proclaimed it a cure for the modern monetary system’s ills and described it at one point as “an epochal change in human destiny” and “probably the greatest benefit to humanity that’s ever been thought of.”
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