Currency set up to aid the take-up of ecommerce

Beenz, beenz, they’re good for your heart… the more you spend the more you f,f,f… fend off hyperinflation

The world's latest currency was unveiled today in a flurry of excitement and unbridled optimism, promising to create a new generation of e-millionaires. But the drop in value today of that other fledgling currency -- the euro -- following synchronised sword falling by the European Commission should serve as a warning to all those who are looking to trade in Beenz. Beenz could suffer from runaway hyperinflation -- a distinct possibility since the Beenz central bank has said it will issue the electronic currency to anyone who wants them with no regard to monetary policy. If this happened, the Beenz in your electronic purse wouldn't be worth a bean. According to bankers, Beenz are electronic credits which can be earned by shopping on-line or by simply visiting a Web site. These credits can then be saved in a personal Beenz bank account and spent at participating Web sites to gain discounts on purchases or access to valuable information. "We have re-engineered money in a way which gives consumers and businesses a greater share in the riches of the Web," said Philip Letts, CEO of The Beenz Company. "Beenz is the new currency of the Web," he said. But then he would, wouldn’t he He estimates that there will be around a billion Beenz in circulation by the end of May and that by the year 2000 more than 10 million consumers will have active Beenz accounts. With around 100 Beenz to the US dollar, there could be around $10 million of Beenz in circulation by next year. The currency has been welcomed by Ian Angell, professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics, who says it's a "very sensible idea" following in the footsteps of loyalty card schemes. "But we'll have to wait and see if it's a success when the whole thing is up and running," he cautioned. He warned that the Beenz could behave just like a normal currency and that as well as suffering inflationary pressures, it could also be subject to counterfeiting or a loss in confidence, causing its value to collapse. If that happens, the Beenz could become a has-beenz. ®

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