The Certified Subset Currency Framework (CSCF)¶
- Version of this text: 0.1.12
- License of this text: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-by 4.0)
- Author: Joseph Potvin [email protected]
- Table of contents
- The Certified Subset Currency Framework (CSCF)
- A Certified Subset Currency Framework Agreement
- Warehousing Currency
- Certifying Currency
- Anchoring Worth
- Market Characteristics
- Certified Subset Currency Working Group
- Template for Accession Letters of Agreement to the Certified Subset Currency Framework
This framework provides a way for participants along a supply chain to establish decentralized rules-based subsets of conventional currencies in order to anchor payment worth (expressed with money through price) to their selected set of economic fundamentals.
Contracting parties have a mutual interest in protecting their intended terms of agreement from chaotic monetary drift and volatility. The Certified Subset Currency Framework describes a systematic way for participating businesses, in coordination with their suppliers and their customers along a value chain, to protect their contractual intent and market integrity from the degradation of monetary worth.
- enables a disciplined ‘sound money’ subset of ‘M0’ (‘monetary base’ or ‘high-powered money’);
- holds to sound money criteria described by the 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons.
- supports both physical (paper or polymer) and digital transactions using ‘warehouse receipts’;
- is operational with and without digital devices and Internet connectivity;
- aligns with existing laws and business norms;
- employs well-established instruments of commerce;
- strengthens market freedom, integrity and competition;
- features uncomplicated accession, verification, operation, expansion and termination;
- can be implemented with any paper or polymer currencies or quasi-currencies.
A Certified Subset Currency Framework Agreement¶
Participants in a framework agreement for a certified subset currency use the serial numbers of conventional currency bills to demarcate a constrained M0 money supply held in secure storage, and adopt fair market rules to safeguard the worth of these bills across jurisdictions and through time.
A CSCF Agreement comes into being when each of three or more participants signs, and shares with other Signatories, their own “Accession Letter of Agreement” that references a particular version of the Certified Subset Currency Framework. Together these letters establish a decentralized, distributed, peer-to-peer commitment among all the Signatories. There is no central or primary entity or individual.
- The CSCF Steering Committee determines and oversees implementations of the CSCF legal model, risk management model, security model, operations model, audit model and maintenance fee model, which are appended to and become integral parts of the framework.
- The CSCF Steering Committee is accountable to ensure a fair and competitive market for independent operators of Certified Subset Currency Warehouses, through licensing, franchising or other arrangements as approved through its formal decisions.
- Each Signatory is entitled to vote in elections for CSCF Steering Committee members. There shall be a minimum of three and a maximum of 9 active CSCF Steering Committee members.
- The CSCF Steering Committee has functional authority ONLY within the operational scope of the version of the Certified Subset Currency Framework that is referenced in the active Accession Letters.
- CSCF Steering Committee decisions are determined by "working consensus" (vote results may include "accepted" or "abstained", but none are "opposed"). In cases where working consensus cannot be reached, the Signatories convene a discussion (online and in-person) to resolve the matter through “rough consensus” (see: https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc7282).
- The CSCF Steering Committee may request that one or more individuals serve as ‘Coordinator(s)’. This role carries no enforceable management authority over the Signatories, or their assets.
The CSCF describes a non-restrictive, non-exclusive arrangement:
- A CSCF Accession Letter does not restrict the Signatory, their companies or partners or clients or relatives from offering or engaging similar services, or derivative service types, or supplementary services under other titles outside the scope of this agreement. However the name "Certified Subset Currency” is reserved under copyright and trademark law for reference to successive versions of this Framework and its implementations.
- Participation in a CSCF Agreement does not impinge on the prerogatives or responsibilities of anyone in relation to any other formal or informal agreement or process.
- No CSCF Accession Letter restricts extension of the agreement to additional participants, however with a written explanation, the CSCF Steering Committee may decline or terminate any Accession Letter and consequently return the stored currency to that Signatory.
- Other than within the terms of the CSCF Accession Letter, no Signatory acquires any liability or authority in relation to any other Signatory of another CSCF Accession Letter.
- In exchange for the benefits of participation in a CSCF Agreement, the Signatory agrees to the maintenance fee rules established by the CSCF Steering Committee.
A network of independently-owned Certified Subset Currency Warehouses maintains a notaphily collection of conventional paper or polymer currency bills, where each bill is owned by one Signatory to the CSCF, as documented in the Certified Subset Currency Registry.
- Signatories may store paper or polymer currency in denominations specified by the CSCF Steering Committee (e.g. $10 bills; $20 bills; $50 bills; $100 bills). If a jurisdiction terminates the use of paper or polymer cash, other types of controlled paper or polymer instruments with verifiable unique serial numbers will suffice (e.g. a selection of coupons or gift certificates approved by the CSCF Steering Committee).
- For the Signatory the stored currency bill is deemed to be “restricted cash” classified for accounting purposed as a “non-current asset”. This cash stock MUST NOT mingle and MUST NOT be leveraged by or for operational requirements of the Certified Subset Currency Warehouse(s).
- Certified Subset Currency Warehouse service fees are administered in relation to operational costs that are reported to Signatories via the CSCF Steering Committee’s official Web site, without linkage to the worth or ownership profile of the stored currency bills.
- Each warehouse operates a currency sorting method with serial number recognition, counterfeit detection, and multi-currency capability (example: https://financialequipmentcompany.com/product/gd-bps-c4-15a-currency-sorter-with-air-assist/).
- Certified Subset Currency Warehouses accept ONLY paper or polymer bills that meet at least the quality standard PMG 65 EPG (Paper Money Guaranty / Exceptional Paper Quality; https://www.pmgnotes.com/about/about-pmg), to facilitate efficient automated management.
- The Operator of a Certified Subset Currency Warehouse stores physical paper and polymer currency bills in the alphanumeric order of their serial numbers, and provides support for prompt and easy on-site inspection by authorized personnel.
- Any Signatory to the CSCF, and any jurisdictional regulator, may send a notary, accountant or lawyer (“authorized personnel”) to verify the physical existence of specific bills identified by their serial number(s) which they attest are owned by their client(s) in the Certified Subset Currency Warehouse, without appointment but with the requirement for recognized credentials, at any time during regular business hours customary within the municipality where the warehouse is situated.
When a Signatory to the CSCF places a paper or polymer currency bill for storage into a Certified Subset Currency Warehouse, the Operator of the warehouse immediately:
- Issues to the owner an electronic Certified Subset Currency Warehouse Receipt with the serial number of the deposited paper or polymer currency bill, along with the identity and contact details of the current owner of the stored bill; and,
- Updates the Certified Subset Currency Registry which relates the serial number of the deposited paper or polymer currency bill to the identity and contact details of the current owner of the stored bill.
Ownership of the stored bills is private and confidential information, however within the legal model and security model established by the CSCF Steering Committee, any Signatory and any jurisdictional regulatory or law enforcement agency, may have a notary, accountant or lawyer verify ownership in this decentralized distributed registry.
Except as specified in a “Variance to the Certified Subset Currency Framework” documented and signed by the CSCF Steering Committee, and promptly posted online (e.g. via the CSCF Steering Committee’s official Web site and messaging networks):
Each Certified Subset Currency Warehouse Receipt shall align with:
- The UNCITRAL Model Law on Warehouse Receipts (MLWR) or if that is not yet published, then it shall confirm with: the most recent UNIDROIT recommendations for the MLWR (2022) https://www.unidroit.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Study-LXXXIII-W.G.4-Doc.-3-Preliminary-Draft-Model-Law.pdf https://www.unidroit.org/work-in-progress/model-law-on-warehouse-receipts/
- The most recent UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) https://uncitral.un.org/en/texts/ecommerce/modellaw/electronic_transferable_records.
- The Certified Subset Currency Ownership Registry shall align with the UNIDROIT Guide on Best Practices for Electronic Collateral Registries (2021) https://ctcap.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/BPER-Guide-9-September-Web-Copy.pdf.
The network of Certified Subset Currency Warehouses maintains a notaphily collection of conventional currency bills that are distinguished from uncertified bills by an ownership registry, and by the anchoring of the face values of each bill to a specified index of worth in terms of economic fundamentals, relative to the same index in a base year.
When contract prices and payments are specified for a Certified Subset Currency, this signifies that the Parties intend to hold the tangible worth of their agreements stable relative to a specified index. This stability is meaningful ONLY for the currency bills anchored to the same index of worth. Pricing and payment in the Certified Subset Currency is of limited effect during start-up only with few participants, however it is designed to have a strong ‘network effect’, that’s to say, to be become increasingly more useful as adoption incrementally expands among buyers and sellers along a supply chain.
It is the prerogative of each Signatory, together with their contracting counterparts, to determine which index aligns most closely with their preferred approach to anchoring the worth of their contract.
The CSCF includes an optional shortlist of indices that may be used alone or in combination:
- Inflation-adjusted global stock market capitalization;
- Global weighted producer prices;
- Global primary commodity inventories index;
- Economic productive capacity index;
- Ecological productive capacity index.
Inflation-adjusted global stock market capitalization¶
Two indices in this category track total investment in publicly-traded companies on the world’s regulated stock exchanges.
World Federation of Exchanges: Total Equity Market – Capital raised by listed companies https://www.world-exchanges.org/home/index.php/statistics
S&P Global 1200 – This index captures approximately 70% of global stock market capitalization, with data developed from the S&P 500® (US), S&P Europe 350, S&P TOPIX 150 (Japan), S&P/TSX 60 (Canada), S&P/ASX All Australian 50, S&P Asia 50 and S&P Latin America 40.” https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/en/indices/equity/sp-global-1200/#overview
Global weighted producer prices¶
- Producer Price Index (PPI), Weighted by National Income – The national PPI reported by each country, using their distinct methodologies, is then weighted by each country’s ‘Depletion-Adjusted Net National Income’ which subtracts from Gross National Income: (a) the consumption of fixed capital and (b) the depletion of natural resources. https://www.economy.com/indicators/producer-price-index-ppi https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.ADJ.NNTY.CD https://databank.worldbank.org/metadataglossary/world-development-indicators/series/NY.ADJ.NNTY.PC.KD https://www.wavespartnership.org/sites/waves/files/images/Constructing%20Adjusted%20National%20Income.pdf
Global primary commodity inventories¶
- S&P GSCI Equal Weight Select Index – This index is chosen to approximate, with decentralized commodity warehouses, the general mechanism for commodity reserve currencies with centralized warehouses, described in various designs by Jan Goudriaan (1932), Ben Graham (1937), Frank Graham (1942), Frederick Hayek (1943), John Maynard Keynes (1944), Jean de Largentaye (1954), Nicholas Kaldor and Jan Tinbergen (1964), and Albert Hart (1976). https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/en/indices/commodities/sp-gsci-equal-weight-select/
Economic productive capacity¶
- UNCTAD Productive Capacity Index – This composite index tracks a set of “productive resources, entrepreneurial capabilities and production linkages, which together determine the capacity of a country to produce goods and services” https://unctadstat.unctad.org/EN/Pci.html
Ecological productive capacity¶
- Earth Reserve Index – This composite index incorporates standard deviations of a limited selection of pivotal ecological outcome variables tracked with satellite data for 108 Ecosystem Functional Groups of the IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology 2.0 https://global-ecosystems.org/ Each current state variable is expressed as a percentage change from the base year to best and worst potential outcome for that variable.
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
Standard deviations for the highest three months each year, i.e. peak vegetation
Soil Moisture Active Passive Index (SMAP)
Standard deviations for three month peak vegetation season plus one month before and after
Standard deviations for the highest three months each year, i.e. peak aquatic vegetation
- Normalized Difference Aquatic Vegetation Index (NDAVI) for low density vegetation
- Water Adjusted Vegetation Index (WAVI) for medium-to-high density vegetation
At any time the transfer of ownership of Certified Subset Currency is accomplished simply with the re-assignment of a warehouse receipt, and a registry update. This involves no movement of the securely-stored paper or polymer bills.
A Signatory of an Accession Letter who owns a paper or polymer currency bill stored in a Certified Subset Currency Warehouse is able to transfer ownership to any other Signatory, by completing both of the following two actions:
Assign and give full ownership and possession of the Certified Subset Currency Warehouse Receipt with the particular serial number to the other Signatory of the same or a more recent version of the framework. The Warehouse Receipt itself must be updated with the identity and contact details of the new owner of the paper or polymer currency bill.
Validate that the Certified Subset Currency Registry is also updated with the identity and contact details of the new owner of the corresponding currency bill.
A method is required to perform these steps elegantly and quickly.
While respecting the privacy and confidentiality of the parties, every apparent ownership discrepancy that arises between a Certified Subset Currency Warehouse Receipt and the Certified Subset Currency Registry shall be:
- Immediately documented for all Signatories via the CSCF Steering Committee’s official Web site and messaging networks; and,
- Promptly resolved under the accountability and oversight of the CSCF Steering Committee.
- Reviewed as part of regular quarterly audits, ‘arms length’ from the Steering Committee.
After a currency bill is added to a CSCF Warehouse, the worth of its corresponding indexed warehouse receipt in terms of goods and services will incrementally differ from floating currency units of the same denomination. When the same currency bill is removed from a CSCF Warehouse, the corresponding warehouse receipt is transferred to the warehouse operator for shredding, and the Registry is updated accordingly. Since there is no longer a warehouse receipt, that currency bill reverts to the default superset status and worth, as if it were never indexed. Its history with the warehouse is archived in the Registry for audit purposes only. Should the same currency bill be placed back into a CSCF Warehouse, a new warehouse receipt would be issued, and again the chosen index applies.
At any point in time, the spread between these two markets is the de facto ‘worth’ of CSCF certification itself, reflecting its utility to participants who choose this method to maintain the integrity of contract worth relative to their chosen index, without the complications of storage and redemption in physical gold or other commodities, or the cost of other hedging methods. Warehouse service fees and minimum storage/removal periods may be calibrated proportionally to the market spread in order to avert gaming of this system with high-frequency alternating transactions.
The CSCF Deposit Receipts can be bought and sold in exchange for generic floating currency units. If generic floating currency units were to experience a 5% annual inflation rate relative to the selected index of $100 of Certified Subset Currency, then in one year a CSCF Deposit Receipt based on that $100 would sell for $105 of generic floating currency. More of the generic floating units are required because in terms of the chosen index, those unanchored units are no longer worth what they used to be a year earlier. Assuming the same 5% annual inflation rate, another year further on the same CSCF Deposit Receipt based on $100 Certified Subset Currency would sell for $110.25 in generic floating currency. The CSCF Deposit Receipt will track the selected index reflecting economic fundamentals, whereas the same goods and services priced in the generic floating currency will track the inflation rate. That's to say, choosing generic floating currency units with an inflation rate is equivalent to selecting an index that erodes currency worth.
The Certified Subset Currency Framework provides buyers and sellers throughout supply chains a ‘bottom-up’ decentralized, distributed way to assert disciplined ‘sound money’ principles in their market relations. Throughout the period of storage, the participants contractually commit to treat the certified bills as anchored, sound money. This is not a fiction, rather it's a principled market preference for mutually respectful sound money contracts, and a rejection of opportunistic un-negotiated windfall advantages over others.
This CSCF design is not expected to be exempt from the adage that every ‘solution’ creates its own problems, but it should help to strengthen the self-organizing resilience of participants.
Certified Subset Currency Working Group¶
Participants are invited to share models, empirical analyses and viewpoints through the Certified Subset Currency Working Group:
 The Principles of International Commercial Contracts are published by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law / L'Institut international pour l'unification du droit privé (UNIDROIT). Article 4.1 (Intention of the parties) states that "(1) A contract shall be interpreted according to the common intention of the parties. (2) If such an intention cannot be established, the contract shall be interpreted according to the meaning that reasonable persons of the same kind as the parties would give to it in the same circumstances." An example of extraneous drift and volatility is the dramatic increase in farm machinery prices since 2020, which undermines agricultural supply contracts and market integrity:
 “M0, the monetary base of an economy includes all of the physical paper and coin currency in circulation, plus bank reserves held by the central bank.” https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/monetarybase.asp
 In 1878 W. Stanley Jevons put forward what has since become the most widely referenced statement of the ideal functions of money: “medium of exchange”, “means of payment”, “unit of account” and “standard for deferred payment”. But he cautioned: “We are so accustomed to use the one same substance in all the four different ways, that they tend to become confused together in thought.” (p. 16) Jevons’ terminology for the functions of money is quoted almost universally by economists and others, yet the confusion he warned of remains commonplace. This is perhaps because his chosen words “medium”, “means”, “unit” and “standard” are rarely understood with precision even amongst economists. We therefore re-state Jevons’ ideal function of money in simpler language as: “a generally accepted standard of comparative worth amongst all persons of a given region, and amongst regions, at a given time, and through time”. (Potvin 2022, p. 12)
Jevons, W. S. (1876). Money and the Mechanism of Exchange. Appleton & Company (Facsimile reproduced by Nabu Press).Jevons, W. S. (1876). Money and the Mechanism of Exchange. Appleton & Company p. 16
Potvin, J. (2022). Worth Expressed with Money Through Price. Draft paper in partial fulfillment of a Doctorate in Administration (Project Management). Université du Québec.
 Gift certificates are considered by governments to be a form of money. For example in Canada: "Legislative reference: Section 181.2 of the Excise Tax Act (''ETA'') 181.2 Gift certificates — For the purposes of this Part, the issuance or sale of a gift certificate for consideration shall be deemed not to be a supply and, when given as consideration for a supply of property or a service, the gift certificate shall be deemed to be money." https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/publications/p-202/gift-certificates.html
 Article 5.1.7 (Comment 4) of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts states: "In some situations the price is to be fixed by reference to external factors, typically a published index, or quotations on a commodity exchange”.
CSCF Legal Model¶
To be prepared by the CSCF Steering Committee.
CSCF Risk Management Model¶
To be prepared by the CSCF Steering Committee.
CSCF Security Model¶
To be prepared by the CSCF Steering Committee.
CSCF Operations Model¶
To be prepared by the CSCF Steering Committee.
CSCF Audit Model¶
To be prepared by the CSCF Steering Committee.
CSCF Maintenance Fee Model¶
To be prepared by the CSCF Steering Committee.
Template for Accession Letters of Agreement to the Certified Subset Currency Framework¶
[ This template text constitutes an integral part of the Certified Subset Currency Framework. Please do not include this note in an Accession Letter of Agreement. ]
Accession Letter of Agreement
All Other Signatories of Accession Letters of Agreement to the Certified Subset Currency Framework
This Agreement applies to +Certified Subset Currency Framework, Version No. 0.1.9+
- The undersigned:
- Attests to holding the prerogative to enter into agreements or contracts;
Has reviewed and understood the above-noted version of the "Certified Subset Currency Framework”
The undersigned acknowledges mutual dependencies among all Signatories of Accession Letters to the Certified Subset Currency Framework, and commits to the following terms regarding participation and termination:
(a) The undersigned's participation in the Certified Subset Currency Framework can be accepted as well as terminated by a ‘working consensus’ vote amongst all other current Signatories. For an acceptance and termination vote to apply, it must be "agreed to" or "abstained from" by all other current members, and not "opposed" by any. Direct termination by the Steering Committee of an existing Accession Letter of Agreement requires at least 3 months advance written notice from (or on behalf) of the Steering Committee, but this can be overturned by a ‘rough consensus’ vote amongst all other current Signatories besides the Signatory at issue an the Steering Committee members. Termination of an Accession Letter requires the return of stored currency belonging to that Signatory.
(b) The undersigned will provide at least 30 days written notice to the Certified Subset Currency Steering Committee before termination of their Accession Letter takes effect.
(c) Upon termination, any contractual obligations that the Signatories have autonomously undertaken in relation to the present Framework MUST be concluded as early as practicable, and in communication with the Steering Committee.
(d) The Certified Subset Currency Framework is considered ‘in effect’ with a minimum of three active Accession Letters of Agreement.
Signatures and Contact Information¶
This Accession Letter of Agreement expresses the intentions of the Undersigned on the date of the most recent update..
Signatory's Name: XXXXXX
Organization Name (if relevant): XXXXXX
Mobile Phone: XXXXXX
+The following fields are to be completed ONLY by a person authorized by the Certified Subset Currency Steering Committee.+
The Undersigned attests that the Certified Subset Currency Steering Committee has, through a "working consensus" vote as defined in the Framework, recognizes this Accession Letter of Agreement.
Authorized Representative's Name:
Mobile Phone: XXXXXX