The Wallet Spacetime Continuum

For as long as the written world can remember, the ways in which we humans buy things has gone through 3 significant transformations: metal coins > paper currency > plastic cards. In 2011 we are embarking on a 4th transformation that is in the realm of mobile payment technology.

The global shift is happening as I type and the vehicle for this new payment method is primarily going to be the smartphone — though there are competing and fragmented views as to how these modern mobile devices will be best utilized to achieve this purpose. That said, perhaps we should no longer be calling it just a phone?  It appears the potential is so much greater in the grand scheme of things.

As a Wallet designer and CEO for db clay, I have done quite a bit of research on the topic of mobile payment technology, due to it’s direct impact on the Wallet industry in general. In the post below, I wanted to share some preliminary thoughts in order to help bring awareness to the massive digital payment transformation currently upon us — because it will likely affect most of us, if not everyone in the long run!  In doing so, I also wanted to identify where I intended for my new collection of  LINE 0.0 Wallets to fit in along The Wallet Spacetime Continuum.  I smile and think our db clay Wallets are just a one little slice of the pie in terms of the Wallet’s overall evolution since the beginning of known time.

ALIENS MINING FOR GOLD: Many scientists believe that an Anunaki alien race traveling from the planet Nibiru has visited Earth many times over the last several hundred thousand years. We gather this historical account from clay tablets that were passed down from the ancient Sumerian people who’s society flourished on planet Earth around 3,500-1,900 BC.  While here, we learn that the Anunaki genetically manufactured the modern human species as we know it by engineering and modifying the DNA of Neanderthals.  As the theory goes, one of the primary purposes for creating the human race in the first place, was so that we could work to mine gold for the them amongst other enslavement tactics they had in mind for us.  This is just one of many theories btw :)

Gold is a rare and precious mineral that is widely coveted in the universe due to its magnificent properties in terms of its heat resistance, energy source, electrical conductivity, malleability and it also reflects infrared light.  One thought is that Anunaki aimed to line their atmosphere with this indestructible metal for their protection and they needed our help gathering gold for this purpose.  Whether this theory is fully accurate (or not at all) one thing is certain… since the beginning of recorded time, gold has provided the foundation for currency.

THE ORIGINS OF CURRENCY: Aside from it being used to power electrical equipment for aliens, etc gold was also formed into coins early on by humans — coins which needed to be carried in something. Currency evolved from two basic innovations both of which occurred around 2000 BC.  Originally money was a form of receipt, representing grain stored in temple granaries in Sumer in Ancient Mesopotamia, then Ancient Egypt.  The first stage of currency, where metals were used to represent stored value, and symbols to represent commodities, formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years.  However, the collapse of of the Near Eastern trading system pointed to a flaw: in an era where there was no place that was safe to store value, the value of a circulating medium could only be as sound as the forces that defended the store.  Trade could only reach as far as the credibility of that military.  This struggle went on for a long time and the notion of currency evolved accordingly.

THE EVOLUTION OF CURRENCY: In premodern China, the need for credit and circulating a medium that was less of a burden than exchanging thousands of copper coins led to the introduction of paper money, commonly known today as banknotes.  This economic phenomenon was a slow and gradual process that took place from the late Tang Dynasty (618-907) into the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It began as a means for merchants to exchange heavy coinage for receipts of deposit issued as promissory notes from shops of wholesalers — notes that were valid for temporary use in a small regional territory.

ORIGIN OF THE WORD WALLET: The word “Wallet” has been in use since the late 14th century and is used to refer to a bag or a knapsack for carrying articles.  The ancient Greek word kibisis was used to describe the sack carried by the god Hermes and the sack in which the mythical hero Perseus carried the decapitated head of the monster Medusa, has been typically translated as Wallet.  The classicist A.Y. Campbell deduced, as a Theocritean scholar, that “the Wallet was the poor man’s portable larder; or, poverty apart, it was a thing that you stocked with provisions.”

DISCOVERING THE NEW WORLD: As violent global expansion efforts continued over time, Columbus came into the picture.  With his arrival in the West Indies, the native inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, swam out to greet the European boats.  Columbus’ journal entries reveal his reaction to the initial encounter with the Arawaks: “They would make fine servants… with 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” Sound familiar? This attitude led to highjacking, murder, rape and enslavement of countless human beings.  The Spaniards main goal was to prove to the royalty back home that the islands were rich and loaded with resources, mainly gold.  Gold which they wanted to get their hands on by any means necessary.

THE RENAISSANCE (1400-1600): As metals became increasingly used as currencies, Wallets began taking shape to include coins, and in some cases, statements of accounts.  In recounting the life of an Elizabethan merchant, Lawrence Wroth describes the merchant as, “a young English-man of twenty-five years, decently dressed, …, wearing a sword, and carrying fixed to his belt something he called a ‘bowgett’ (or budget), that is, a leathern pouch or Wallet in which he carried cash, his book of accounts, and small articles of daily necessity.”  Then came along the Industrial Revolution

19TH CENTURY (1801-1900): Money in the form of currency has predominated throughout most of history. Usually (gold or silver) coins of intrinsic value have been the norm. However, nearly all contemporary money systems are based on fiat money – modern currency has value only by government order (fiat).  Usually, the government declares the fiat currency (typically notes and coins issued by the central bank) to be legal tender, making it unlawful to not accept the fiat currency as a means of repayment for all debts, public and private.

Usage of the term “Wallet” in its modern meaning of “a flat case for carrying paper currency” in American English dates back to 1834 but this meaning was one of many in the 19th century and early 20th century.   In addition to money or currency, a Wallet would also be used for carrying dried meat, victuals, “treasures”, and “things not to be exposed.”  It was considered “semi-civilized” in 19th century America to carry one’s Wallet on one’s belt.  Ironically, at this time, carrying goods or a Wallet in one’s pocket was considered uncivilized and uncommon.

THE EARLY 1900′s: The Federal Reserve was formed in 1913 and to say this represented a big shift in the meaning money is an understatement.  The formation of this above-the-law organization preceded The Great Depression of the 1930′s, which resulted in the abandonment of the Gold Standard by the Unites States (who at the time was clearly beginning to take control of the world economy).  Uh oh, look out below!

Following The Great Depression and while knee-deep in World War II, Duct Tape was invented in 1942.  The original use of Duct Tape was to keep moisture out of the ammunition cases of the military.  Because it was waterproof, people referred to the tape as “Duck Tape.”  After the war, Duct Tape was used in the booming housing industry to connect heating and air conditioning duct work together (amongst 1,000,001 other uses).  A housing industry that would later collapse along with an economy cleverly architectured by international oligarchs driven by the need for more and more gold. How is Duct Tape related to gold you ask aside from it being silver?

1950-2010: The modern bi-fold Wallet with multiple card slots became standardized in the early 1950′s with the introduction of the first credit cards.  Some other Wallet innovations included the introduction of the velcro-closure Wallet in the 1970′s, the biker chain Wallet, and then db clay made its first Silver Duct Tape Wallet in 1998.

Shortly before The Great Recession of 2008, db clay released Version 3.1.

Flashing forward to 2011, the world is coming out of a global recession but it looks like we are facing another.  Capitalism is running rampant, world leaders are corrupt and terrorism threats and scare tactics are commonplace.  Through mind control, predictive programming and other measures, we are being conditioned to consume more, pay attention less, and the mass media has a tight grip on society.  Through all of this madness, pocket sized Wallets remain extremely popular to this this day though this is rapidly changing as technology takes over and the idea of money morphs yet again. Hopefully a change for the better is coming.

LINE 0.0 – 2011: The future is TBD though I’ve acknowledged through my research that coins, cash and cards may soon become obsolete as smartphones are being widely adopted around the world at an exponential pace.  As a look ahead, I designed my LINE 0.0 Wallet collection to be small, flat and thin to accommodate the emerging digital Wallet shift — while still acknowledging real habits of the present (i.e. people still carry cards, some cash, bus passes, business cards, pictures of their puppy, etc).  There are many barriers to smartphones totally eclipsing traditional Wallets in society such as security concerns, the cost of infrastructure upgrades and cultural habits — and so this industry may take some time to galvanize though internationally it is well underway in certain areas. Who knows, maybe 3-5 years before the smartphone replaces the Wallet?

Perhaps LINE 0.0 is a bridge generation product? Perhaps LINE 0.0 is the last of its species? Perhaps LINE 0.0 is the last real Wallet you may ever own?  We shall see!  Through it all, my hope is that the next transformation can somehow be one of transparency, open source sharing, peace, harmony, selflessness, etc… so that as humans, we can gain consciousness and ideally become free from gold for all eternity.

PREORDER LINE 0.0 via Kickstarter

Here are some articles I’ve found on the topic of Mobile Payments:

Mobile Payments Roundup I

Mobile Payments Roundup II

Mobile Payments Roundup III

*Credits: for most of the info (I copy and pasted a lot of the info above) – I mashed together a bunch of info from other sites too – some original pics and Google Image Search




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2 Responses to The Wallet Spacetime Continuum

  1. Rob says:

    Beautiful wallets. I’ve been rocking a db clay for a year now and get great comments on it. Bought it at Upper Playground; happy to find your web site.

    Payment by smartphone is normal in some Asian countries. Protect a smartphone with a password and in theory it should then be safer than a wallet. Two hurdles to cross: first, phone OS and electronic signals can be hacked. Second, putting the payment infrastructure in place in the US would require significant investment. The cost of adding a payment device to every point of sale would be phenomenal. In theory, a new credit card reader device could be made that would use a beam to scan a bar code displayed on your phone (in addition to the traditional swipe). Doesn’t sound technically difficult, but in this economy rolling that investment out nationwide would be difficult for even the rip-off banks and credit card companies to justify.

    Your 0.0 wallets are a stylish look into future payment systems here, but they’re reality today in South Korea, Japan, etc. Get someone you trust to do Korean and Japanese versions of your web site and become an exporter! Cost of living is higher in Japan too so prices can reflect that. Get some American designs in high contrast colors.

    If trends in Japan end up here several years later you might want to take a close look at these Japanese wallets: Maybe a new line – 0.1!

  2. Jimmy says:

    I love your wallets too. I bought one from a Woot Off in October 2008. I received the Whipping Tail (although not the one I wanted I’ve grown to really appreciate it). I wish I would have bought fifty at the time because I’m too hard on these things. I still get complements on it when people see it. The new line still shows the creativity from the past creations. Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us.

    - Jimmy

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