These three stories provide context to the People First Newsletter that was published on Tuesday April 21st.

Day and Night – M.C. Escher, 1938
“A masterful demonstration of symmetrical opposites.”

Mining Coin Through Your Bodies Activity

Microsoft Files Patent For New Cryptocurrency and Mining System

“Body activity data may be generated based on the sensed body activity of the user. A cryptocurrency system communicatively coupled to the device of the user may verify whether or not the body activity data satisfies one or more conditions set by the cryptocurrency system, and award cryptocurrency to the user whose body activity data is verified.”

and

“a brain wave or body heat emitted from the user when the user performs the task provided by an information or service provider, such as viewing an advertisement or using certain internet services, can be used in the mining process.”

What could possibly go wrong? The answer – as always – it depends.


Investing In The Student Body

Back in 2015 Purdue announced that it was going to invest in its students. I mean really invest.

“Through its research foundation, the school plans to create ISA funds that its students can tap to pay for tuition, room and board. In return, students would pay a percentage of their earnings after graduation for a set number of years, replenishing the fund for future investments.”

… WaPo (source)

There was a lot of huh hah in the media at the time about people selling themselves into servitude. Education is a right and and and …

.. and yet 5 years later …


One Man Voluntarily Enters ‘Indentured Servitude’

It’s just that this isn’t how he sees it. (The story of the man who sold fractional shares in himself.)

It’s not the same, but it reminded me a little of this idea from 2005 – essentially fractional advertising on a single page to fund Alex Tew’s education. (I am going to say it worked. Ever heard of Calm? Alex co-founded the company and he is now co-CEO. Calm is rocking!

Anyway – back to Alex (the other one) – and isn’t it odd that they are both called Alex?

  • $ALEX holders are promised a share of any money he makes in the next three years! (He’ll pay out up to a total of $100,000 over three years—the rest is (his) to keep).
  • $ALEX holders can vote on some of his life decisions!

That second one smacks a little of Luke Rheinhart’s Diceman – but essentially what Alex is doing is convincing people with money to give it to him – and in return, he will give them more back within 3 years. Why is that any different to those same people buying stock in a company?


The world has been dallying with these ideas for a long time. There is push back from some quarters that caution needs to be applied because this could return us to millions of people working in ‘indentured servitude’ – and certainly by Investopedia’s definition that is exactly what Alex has just signed up for.

I think they are wrong. Sure, we need to tread carefully and not blindly sell all our rights (Lessons learned from musicians of the 60s?) – but surely none of it can be worse than the alternative?