Evergreen is Private Money Backed by Bitcoins and Other Assets

Journalist:
Kyle Torpey @kyletorpey
January 21, 2014
Evergreen is a private company creating its own asset-backed currency.

Evergreen is a new form of private money backed by bitcoins and a variety of other assets. The company is attempting to succeed where other forms of private money have failed in the past. Many people remember online currencies such as e-gold and Liberty Reserve, but these gold-backed currencies failed when they attempted to serve customers in the United States. There are still a few digital gold currencies out there, but they are finding it to be rather difficult to offer their services to US customers these days. Evergreen could help bring more people into the digital currency market by exposing them to a currency that is not as volatile as bitcoins, dogecoins, and other cryptocurrencies. This new currency could also lead to more interest in digital currencies from people who believe bitcoins have no tangible value.

An Interview with Evergreen

I recently sent some questions over to Joel Dietz, the CEO of Evergreen, about his company’s new currency and payment system.

CryptoCoinsNews: Is Evergreen a form of private, centralized money?
Joel Dietz: That’s basically right. I think a lot of the negative press around centralization these days has to do with centralized services being prone to corruption. Having said that, they can do good things too. On this note, Steve Jobs and Apple is more of an inspiration to me than Linus Torvalds and Linux. I totally support Linus, Linux, etc., but am personally more drawn to the optimized UX and seamlessly integrated infrastructure of the former.

CryptoCoinsNews: How does Evergreen compare to e-gold or Liberty Reserve?
Joel Dietz: In some ways we are more like Bitcoin in that we provide a protocol layer with an embedded currency. The protocol has a lot of very interesting technological possibilities that are independent of the currency, and it’s with those features that we are trying to get our early growth. One important feature is that the protocol has an embedded reputation layer, which is one of the places that e-gold and Liberty Reserve went wrong. Even if the idea of the currency is not super different from e-Gold or Liberty Reserve, our value to our consumers is hopefully provided in a fundamental technological innovation and not in some new fangled form of money laundering.

CryptoCoinsNews: What are the assets that back Evergreen’s currency?
Joel Dietz: Whatever people have exchanged for Evergreens. Right now, we have U.S. Dollars, Sterling, Swiss Francs, Euros, a bit of land that we’ve purchased via the World Land Trust, and a tiny bit of bitcoins.

CryptoCoinsNews: How are new Evergreens created?
Joel Dietz: They are created when someone exchanges some of their currency to our asset pool. Right now that’s $0.22 per Evergreen, so if you gave us $0.22 we’d create 1 Evergreen and give it to you.Your $0.22 would be added to our asset pool.

CryptoCoinsNews: How does Evergreen compete with Bitcoin?
Joel Dietz: If you’ve been following the Bitcoin 2.0, you know that, for Bitcoin to innovate, either people have to create superlayers on top of them (e.g. Mastercoin) or whole new protocols (i.e. Ethereum) that improve on the underlying tech. Both of these options are problematic in different ways. There are many limitations in the first model, and the second model, as much as I love it, means starting over every time there is a substantially new innovation. Also, you have the long term problems such as “What if there is an advance in quantum computing that renders the core crypto useless?” or “What if I don’t want everyone to know how much money I have and what I spent it on?”

So those are general issues with the protocol as it currently exists that have no easy answers. For us, the core advantage we offer is embedded reputation, instant clearing time, stable exchange rates into other currencies, and seamless integration into POS services (which we’ve built and deliver).

If I had to compare and contrast with respect to classic currency definitions, I’d say that Bitcoin is doing a great job of being a “store of value”, not so great as a “unit of account,” and okay as a “means of exchange.” We are doing much better at the “means of exchange” and “unit of account” parts, but “store of value” is a bit ambiguous right now because you have to trust that we actually have the assets in a vault somewhere. Ideally this will be forced at some point by corporate bylaws and the existence of a separate Evergreen Trust, but we aren’t there yet.

CryptoCoinsNews: What are your thoughts on the financial regulatory environment in the United States? Will you be able to offer your services to Americans?
Joel Dietz: In the US, it’s hard because you have to ask permission to do anything, and licenses are very expensive. No one will fund you to that degree until you’ve proved your model. That said, we are working out details for a private beta with some US-based services. We are trying as hard as we can to prove our model without stepping on too many peoples’ toes.

What Do We Make of Evergreen?

As of right now, there is definitely still a market out there for digital currencies that have some kind of backing based in the real world. As Joel mentioned, some people like the fluidity of Apple products much more than the open source nature of GNU/Linux. Evergreen will probably be one of many new entrants into this market over the next few years, and we’ll have to wait to see how these private forms of money are able to compete with decentralized cryptocurrencies. Personally, I think there is still a market for this kind of centralized currency out there. Then again, the centralization of the currency could lead to a shutdown similar to e-gold or Liberty Reserve. What do you guys think? Is there still room for traditional private currencies in this new crypto world?

Last modified (UTC): April 20, 2014 18:28

Kyle Torpey @kyletorpey

Kyle is a freelance Bitcoin writer and the Marketing Director for Bitcloud. His work has been featured on Business Insider, VICE Motherboard, Let's Talk Bitcoin, and RT's Keiser Report . You can follow him on Twitter (@kyletorpey) or send him an email.