Initiative Q is the brainchild of Saar Wilf, a serial entrepreneur who started his first payments start-up in 1997, and later founded Fraud Sciences, which redefined the payment security space and was acquired by PayPal in 2008.

Wilf has compiled a team of experts from a variety of disciplines, including mathematics, economics, and other social sciences. The economic and monetary models were developed with Economist Lawrence White, a professor of monetary theory and policy at George Mason University. White has published numerous articles and books on monetary theory and banking, including The Theory of Monetary Institutions, Free Banking in Britain,and The Clash of Economic Ideas.

The idea behind Initiative Q is to first create a critical mass of users, which can then be harnessed to create the world’s best payment network. Therefore, our primary focus is to get millions of Q members registered, after which we will continue recruiting the world’s top professionals in payment systems, macroeconomics, and Internet technologies.

Every Q network member wants to know how valuable Qs can become. If Initiative Q succeeds in creating a world leading payment network, it is expected that all Qs reserved today for members will eventually be granted at a value of roughly one US dollar per Q.

The following economic model explains the reasoning behind this estimate and the mechanisms used to maintain the long-term value of Qs along with the growth of the Q network.

Value: the Equation of Exchange

The value of a currency is affected by multiple factors. The equation of exchange introduces the “velocity of money”, defined as the total expenditures (or income) in that currency, divided by the money supply (the total amount of currency in circulation). The world’s total economic activity is around 100 trillion US dollars, and the total amount of money in the world is between 40 and 90 trillion dollars (depending on the definition of money). This gives a global average velocity of money of around 2, which indicates that each unit of currency changes hands roughly twice a year. In other words, at any given time people hold money balances equal to around half a year’s worth of income (or purchases).

Therefore, in order to estimate the value of all Qs, we need to estimate the volume of transactions on the network as well as the velocity of money.

  • Volume: The global volume of credit card purchases is over 20 trillion dollars annually. Since Initiative Q’s unique distribution method solves the adoption problem and opens the gates to many new payment technologies (learn more),
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    buyers and sellers will prefer it to credit cards. Q retail volume is thus projected at 5-20 trillion dollars, assuming successful worldwide adoption.

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  • Velocity of money: In the long term, Initiative Q’s goal is for Qs to be used as a primary currency, meaning its velocity should be similar to the global average of 2. This goal will be achieved by financially incentivizing the use of Qs for all types of transactions, including wholesale, salaries, and investments. Additionally, Q will have a target inflation rate of zero, making it more attractive as a long-term holding compared to standard currencies (which usually lose over 2% a year to inflation).

Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that in the early stages, members will hold reserves as low as one month’s worth of expenses, resulting in a velocity of 12.

Dividing the economic activity estimate in the event of successful market adoption (5-20 trillion dollars) by the velocity estimate (2-12) results in a total value of between half a trillion to 10 trillion dollars.

Value: A cryptocurrency comparison

An alternative approach to estimating the value of Qs is by studying the cryptocurrency market, which is another attempt to create a new currency. So far, cryptocurrencies have failed as currencies. Their focus is on ensuring scarcity (i.e. that no one can easily generate new coins), but they neglect stability of value and ease of use. This makes them ill-suited for trade, with nearly all activity fueled by speculation (see more about the shortcomings of cryptocurrencies).
Despite these shortcomings, the market value of cryptocurrencies reached nearly 1 trillion USD. It is not far-fetched to assume that a currency that is designed to meet the market’s true needs (stability of value, ease of use, etc.), and is exclusively coupled to a superior payment network, should surpass this number.

Value of one Q

The Q rewards reserved today are from a supply of 2 trillion Q. This means that of the rewards would be available for use at a rate of one USD when all Qs reach a value of 2 trillion US dollars, a realistic estimate assuming wide scale adoption, as shown above.

Q monetary policy

  • Every currency needs a sound monetary policy, in order to maintain public trust in its long term stability. A currency whose economic value fluctuates rapidly complicates trades and finance, damages the economy, and eventually pushes people to use other currencies.
  • To maintain purchasing-power stability, the total amount of money in the economy (the “money supply”) should grow on pace with economic activity and the corresponding demand to hold money. In most countries money supply is primarily controlled indirectly, through incentives given by central banks to private banks.
  • Initiative Q also needs a monetary policy to maintain the currency’s stability, but as a global electronic currency, it is not bound by these historical limitations, and can use more advanced monetary instruments while relying on accurate real time economic data. These monetary instruments are detailed below.
  • It should be noted that Initiative Q’s monetary policy will eventually be overseen by a monetary committee that is directly accountable to all Q holders, and independent of the Initiative Q corporate entity.

Controlling the Q in circulation

The Q payment network’s purpose is to facilitate trade more efficiently than current payment systems and currencies. This requires that the Q be stable in value, so prices remain fairly constant and predictable.

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To accomplish this goal, the reward Qs reserved for each member will be released for use gradually, at a rate that matches the growth in economic activity on the network, while maintaining a target exchange rate of one US dollar per Q.

Monetary instruments

Q’s main monetary instruments:

  1. Releasing Qs — Members who join Initiative Q can reserve Qs for free, with the specific number varying based on how early they join. These Qs will be released gradually as economic activity grows, enabling their use on the Q network and thus increasing the active current money supply.
  2. Activity incentives — Additional Qs can be issued to incentivize activities that promote network growth, such as a cashback reward on purchases, a bonus on conversion from other currencies, etc. This effectively creates a discount on Q-based purchases, which in turn attracts economic activity, which then requires issuing more Qs and so on. This positive feedback loop could fuel rapid growth of the network until it becomes a payment standard and can grow solely on the merit of its technological advantages.
  3. Open market operations — The committee can increase or decrease the amount of Qs in circulation by directly buying or selling Qs in return for other currencies. The committee can also sell future grants of Qs, at a discounted rate, to accredited investors. These Qs will then be released as economic activity grows, similar to the Qs reserved for new members.

In general, these monetary instruments offer much better and more direct control of the money supply than those used by today’s central banks. Central banks are bound by the historical limitations of the fractional reserve system — a system that requires them to operate through private banks. This results in long response cycles and unpredictable inflation.

Money supply

The money supply must match economic activity to keep purchasing power stable. Therefore, since economic activity has no cap, the amount of Qs should also be uncapped.

However, it is extremely important that the money supply only grows in proportion to the growth in the demand to hold Qs, and not for other reasons. For example, governments that printed money with abandon to fund their budgets (and in doing so transferred wealth from the citizens to government accounts by devaluing the citizens’ currency) created hyperinflation, and eventually made their currency worthless.

Thus, while theoretically unlimited, the Q supply is controlled in practice. This is done solely through monetary instruments that may be used only for the goals of maintaining currency stability, and promoting adoption.

Monetary committee

Achieving currency stability requires careful analysis and prediction of economic activity, as well as consideration of mass psychology factors. This is, unfortunately, still beyond the reach of computers, and requires the involvement of human professionals. This is how government currencies are managed, with major currencies today demonstrating far better long-term stability than that of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, Initiative Q could surpass this with more focused and better-incentivized management.

To meet this need, Initiative Q will feature a monetary committee that is independent of the Initiative Q corporate entity, to be appointed via voting by all stakeholders in the Q payment network. This committee will be in charge of setting and running the monetary policy: determining how many Qs to add or remove from circulation, and through which monetary instruments. Members of the monetary committee are financially incentivized to meet their goals by tying remuneration to performance.

Since the Initiative Q monetary committee has access to real-time economic data, and has direct control of the money supply, their policies can be more scientific and transparent than current systems. Whenever possible, the output of the committee will be expressed as rules and functions that dictate the monetary actions to be taken given various economic parameters (similar to today’s Taylor Rule). These will be gradually updated in accordance with new insights, eventually reaching a steady state where the policy is near automatic, albeit with constant monitoring to detect anomalies.
As an additional means of instilling trust in the long-term purchasing power of Q, the monetary committee will continuously offer to buy Qs in exchange for USD (and other currencies) at the target rate of 1 Q per 1 USD. This will assure sellers they can confidently accept Q as a payment method.

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This requires the monetary committee to hold large reserves of USD. The reserve balance will be publically available, assuring members that they can convert to USD at any time, thus supporting Q stability. As Q becomes a global standard, and trust in its long-term value increases, the reserve ratio can decrease.

These reserves are financed through two sources:

  1. Selling Q for USD — Buyers looking to benefit from the advantages of the Q payment network need to add Qs in their account, which is done by buying them from the monetary committee.
  2. Selling future grants of Q — This option is available to accredited investors who believe in the long-term success of Initiative Q. They can purchase (at a significant discount) the right to receive Qs in the future, that will be released according to the network growth — similar to the new members rewards.

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