The Eternal Coin programme aims to initiate a global discussion on the nature of money and the concept of value. It takes a long-term and inter-generational approach and is an educative programme teaching the theory and mechanics of currencies. The Eternal Coin encompasses discussion on the composition of currencies which might, for example, enable sustainability. Ultimately, Eternal Coin aims to provide an online tool or "playpen" which will enable communities to design, create and transact with their own currency, whatever form that may take.
In 2010, Dr Malcolm Cooper wrote the research paper which underpins the Long Finance concept of the Eternal Coin. “In Search of the Eternal Coin: A Long Finance View of History” provides a history of the eternal coin. Richard Veryard summarises some of the main themes of the paper: “The eternal coin is an imaginary construct (Cooper calls it a thought experiment), so it's a curious kind of history, retelling the past through the lens of an imagined future. Cooper singles out a number of historical vignettes, which display different elements of a system of value. Cooper’s vignettes can be grouped into four types of economic system, and the coin plays a significantly different role in each”. (Read Richard Veryard’s full response to Dr Cooper’s paper, “The Purpose Of The Coin Is What It Buys?”, 2010).
Commercial transactions and money are inextricably linked to trust in the community. Antiseptic, neutral exchanges of currency don’t exist. Each transaction with another person links us just a little bit more to the other person’s societal mores, them to ours, and both of us to the future. Without aspirations, our communities have no future, and our coins no value. This leads to a Long Finance koan – “If you have some trust, I shall give you trust. If you have no trust, I shall take it away from you.” Eternal Coin seeks to balance trust across space and time.