About this event
Learn about physical money from the high north based upon REAL mining and proof of work.
The Norwegian essayist and poet A.O. Vinje once wrote that money is “crystallized sweat”: Monetary value – and thrust in money – derived from work. This was particularly true for Svalbard money: notes and coins issued by American, British, Norwegian, Russian, Soviet and Swedish coal companies during most of the 20th century. In Svalbard money was so to speak visibly and directly connected with production, labour and capital.
The project www.svalbard.money uses the fascinating monetary history in Svalbard as a stepping stone for exploring what money is, who produces money and how money evolves over time from something material, physical towards pure abstractness in the form of numbers on displays and screens. Also, the crystal clear connection with labour and work tends to become more blurred.
On www.svalbard.money users and visitors may read illustrated essays, look at art, listen to podcasts, play games and take part in a monetary opinion poll to learn more about both Svalbard and money – including virtual currencies like bitcoin and ether. Just like Svalbard money, a range of cryptocurrencies are also based upon “mining” and “proof of work” … Indeed, on www.svalbard.money users may also generate, buy and sell unique digital reproductions of Norwegian and Soviet Svalbard money. Technically, these digital objects are non-fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, and all transactions are conducted in ether.
The Svalbard treaty (the only agreement from the peace conference in Versailles after WW1 still in force) gives Norway sovereignty over the Svalbard archipelago. However, at least on paper all citizens from states that have ratified the treaty are free to travel to Svalbard for work. In this regard Svalbard is a cold, distant periphery like no other.
The project www.svalbard.money is initiated and owned by SpareBank 1 – the largest alliance of savings banks in Norway and all in all the second largest Norwegian finance group. The project is non-commercial; its aim purely to provide information and knowledge about Svalbard and money as well as to facilitate an exploration of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in an educational manner.
Presenters: Morten Søberg and Nikolai Gobel.
Morten Søberg works as director for governmental relations in SpareBank 1. He is also a member of the supervisory board of Noregs Bank; the Norwegian central bank. He has previously served as deputy minister of finance in the Norwegian government (2010-2013). Educational background: PhD in experimental economics (University of Oslo); BSc (economics and philosophy) from The London School of Economics and Political Science.
Nikolai Gobel is the founder and CEO of Kaupang Krypto - a Norwegian brokerage of cryptocurrencies founded in 2017. The company is currently one of the leading platforms for trading cryptocurrencies in Norway. Educational background: MSc in Industrial Economics and Technology Management, with a specialization in empirical finance, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
The event will be moderated by Diederik Bruggink, Head of Innovation and Payments at the European Savings and Retail Banking Group.
Brussels-based associations helping their member savings and retail banks thrive, focus on providing service to local communities and boost SMEs.
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