How come billion dollar banks suddenly go bust around the same time?

And why do they need our money to keep them afloat? Most bankrupt companies don't get taxes spent on their bailout. Asking the people to bail out billion dollar institutions seems a bit... rich."

These questions were plaguing our minds in 2008 when suddenly all hell seemed to break loose and major banks around the world were on the brink of bankruptcy. If the people would not give the banks the future taxes of a generation then supposedly there something horrible would happen. Somehow politicials accros the political spectrum considered this the only valid option. How come the place we use to keep our money safe is not always safe? How did we get here?

It turns out that enourmous profitabillity of banking as well as their occasional existential crisis are two sides of the same coin. That coin is their business model. While normal people must earn money before they can spend it, Banks create money everytime that they lend it. How can a bank lend out money that they do not have? To understand this, one must learn the origin story of banking, a story known as the Goldsmiths tale. According to the tale a Goldsmith once offered the safety of his vault for people to store their gold and gave out paper notes with a claim for the gold. He found out that the people often left the gold laying in the vault while trading with the paper claims. This story lies at the origin of banking and can be replayed today in the boardgame Money Maker.

The full story of the Goldsmith's tale and how it relates to banking and the boardgame is a bit long to fit in this page. If you wat to read the story you can sign up for our notification and you will get the story, which is part of the Money Maker board game, for FREE in your mail.

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Back to the crisis of 2008. At that time, Paul Brinkkemper was a student of game design at the IT university of Copenhagen, Denmark. Even though he used money multiple times per day, he actually did not have the slightest clue how it worked. “Who makes it? And why? Can I make some?” When researching these questions Paul came across the Goldsmith’s Tale. As a lover and student of games he decided that this would make for a great game. Being a programer as well he tried to make it a digital game at first, with a total of eight failed attempts to program a banking game. If you want to program a bank, you need to have an digital economy for that bank to invest in. An economy needs digital buyers and sellers trading programmed goods and services on algorithmic prices. As the models grew ever more complex he could not explain it to himself, let alone to others. So he decided to make protoype with paper and cardboard. In 2016 he showed this prototype to Luuk de Waal Makefeijt and Gijs Dalen Meurs.
In 2008 Luuk de Waal Malefeijt was studying Information Sciences in Utrecht, Netherlands. He was deeply shocked by the fact that the state was cutting back spending on education and healthcare in order to finance a bailout for billion dollar banks. He decided that this crisis was an ideal opportunity to start changing how money works in the parlement and started a foundation called Ons Geld. The foundation grew quickly with other people who were disgruntled at the banks bailout. They started a petition to have the topic of money creation debated in the Dutch parlement which was successful with over 100.000 signatures raised. This led to the first debate in the parlement handling the topic “how should our money syste work?” in over 200 years. But to affect real political change, you need public pressure and public pressure only comes from an informed public. The biggest problem Ons Geld faced was that most people in the Netherlands, as well as in the rest of the world, still have no clue how banks create money...
Gijs Dalen Meurs was one of the people who also did not know that banks create money when they lend it. In 2008 he worked as in investment banker in the City of London, England. Because of the crisis he lost his job together with most of his colleagues. Only then did he learn about the money making business model of banks. He decided that it was time for a new way of funding great people with great ideas and started Eyevestor. Eyevestor allows entrepreneurs to share the rewards as well as the risks of their company with their closest fan base of investors. Gijs joined Ons Geld and involved himself with its educational program. He found that majority of people, even those working at banks, do not know that banks create money when lending. Would it not be great if you could put this knowledge in a box in a way that it is understandable for a twelve year old, and ship it to families and schools?

In 2016 Luuk and Gijs played Paul’s first prototype of Money Maker and it seemed a great fit for their need to have banking explained to the public at large. And equally important: the playing sessions were a lot of fun as well. Screams like “You are just like Lehman Brothers, You are just like [recently bankrupt bank]” would be heard as players who had spent a lot of their credit to aquire many companies could not repay their credit during a sudden bankrun. The other players were eager to carve a big stake out of their troubled opponent in exchange for keeping him afloat with their own credit. These situations in the game were hilarious and on also brought a lot of context to stories from the news. We knew it. This was the way to spread the Goldsmith’s tale to the next generation around the world. Money Maker would become the Monopoly of the 21st century.

In 2016 the first edition was sold to the original heroes: mostly backers from Ons Geld. While the rush of getting production ready before Christmas did not deliver the end result that the backers expected, it did turn Money Maker from an prototype idea into something real. The first buyers were invited to become members of Money Makers Cooperative Eyeventure where they share in its future adventures. After the first print Money Maker attracted attention from sister foundations of Ons Geld outside the Netherlands. With their help Money Maker received a redesigned second print in English, German, Danish and Dutch. In total 3000 copies have been sold.

The bad news about this is that no more copies of Money Maker are available for sale on this website. The good news is that soon there will be a new version available. But before we talk about the updated version of Money Maker which we hope will become the Monopoly of the 21st century, we must first tell the story of how the 20st century Monopoly lost its way.

In the early 20th century Elisabeth (Lizzie) Magie designed the first version of what would become known as the game of Monopoly. In the original game one of the players played as the Bank and in that role they had unlimited money. The players of the game often did not play like that because then you knew who would be the winner before the game started, so the publisher Parker brothers left that rule out of later prints for mass market appeal. In wanting to appeal to the general public, Monopoly lost its core message.

Knowing this history and not wanting to Money Makerfall into the same trap, we spent the last years of our own time making the game more appealing to the general public, while keeping the banking origin story at the core of the game. Under the motto “You cannot rush art” we have taken all the time that we needed to make Money Maker easy to learn, quick to play, with a maximum amount of player interaction and minimum downtime. Players can expect to be ready to play in fifteen minutes and to be activly engaged all the time. It is often a surprise who wins, as the player who looks very rich may end up being very poor when counting score in the end.

The bad news about this is that no more copies of Money Maker are available for sale on this website. The good news is that soon there will be a new version available. But before we talk about the updated version of Money Maker which we hope will become the Monopoly of the 21st century, we must first tell the story of how the 20st century Monopoly lost its way.

Today Money Maker is ready to be enjoyed by families, students and friends around the world and to bring the Goldsmith’s tale to life. All that is needed now is to find these future Money Maker players and ask them to buy a copy of the game before it is printed. In this way we can fund the printing of the game and the shipping to its players. The way that this is commonly done is through a crowdfunding campaing, like on Kickstarter or Gamefound. If you want to get a notification when Money Maker’s crowdfunding is live and have the opportunity to get your copy of the game, sign up on our notification list. If you sign up now, as a thank you bonus, you will receive in PDF a part of the game: the story of the Goldsmith’s tale, the story of the most money making business model of all time.

If you want to know more about the money maker eyeventure, you can find more about that here.

If you want to see how the goldsmiths' tale is woven into the game, sign up for the mailinglist and you will receive a downloadable copy of the Goldsmith's tale.

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