The guinea and the ETH

The guinea was an English unit of currency, minted as a coin between 1663-1814. Today you won’t find guinea coins or notes, but a guinea still exists as an idea, at least among a certain class.

A guinea is 21 shillings, versus a pound, 20 shillings. Some kinds of high-status bills were reckoned in guineas: solicitor or barrister fees, for example, bespoke tailoring, or gentlemen’s wagers. There is a famous horse race, the 2000 Guineas.

Bids are still made in guineas for the sale of racehorses at auction, at which the purchaser will pay the guinea-equivalent amount but the seller will receive only that number of pounds. The difference (5p in each guinea) is traditionally the auctioneer’s commission (which thus, effectively, amounts to 5% on top of the sales price free from commission). 

The guinea as idea like much distinct and unique in England is mostly vanished now, I’ve never paid a debt in guineas or heard of anyone doing so, it’s from the past. But I thought of the idea of the guinea while trying to understand Ethereum, ETH.

As far as I can tell, ETH is the currency of the NFT market. NFTs, which you’ve probably heard are “non-fungible tokens” or a digital art form, the most desired examples of which are trading at very high prices, at least in ETH, which translates to the dollar at a fluctuating price, currently somewhere around $1=.00024 ETH, or 1 ETH = $4,113.23. I am told that ETH is also somehow “useful,” “you could build a whole economy on it,” it’s a basis for trustless transactions, I don’t understand that. I keep trying to but it involves watching YouTubes of people who seem like they took too many nootropics.

But I am interested in a prestige currency for a niche art market.



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