What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a robust technology that stores identical blocks of information across its network. It cannot be controlled by a single party and does not have a single point of failure. Blockchain uses encryption technology and decentralised data storage which minimise hacking risks and improve security.
What is YAP?
Yap is an island located in the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. Since the 17th century , Yap was a Spanish colony and, in 1898, was sold to Germany to become a major German naval communication center before the First World War. At the end of World War II, Yap was occupied by the U.S. military victors until 1986 when it became part of an the independent nation of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Yap is known for its stone money, named Rai or Fei. These are large doughnut-shaped carved disks of limestone ranging in size from 3.5 cm to 4 m in diameter. The disks were brought from Palau, and their value is based on the stone’s size and history. Rai are placed in front of meeting houses or along pathways known as the “money banks” and attested the status and power of their owners. They were used for a variety of social “transactions,” from marriage gifts to political payoffs.
There was a distinct feature for this currency. Upon concluding a bargain which involves the price of a Rai that is too large to be physically moved, the new owner accepts the bare acknowledgement of ownership and a simple mark on the stone to indicate the exchange, leaving the Rai at the former owner’s premises. Yap does not have a centralized bank that document ownership of stones, but relies on every single member of the tribe to keep track of who owns which stone; hence, the tribe becomes a distributed ledger. If at any point, a member tries to change ownership, he would not be able to do that without the consent of all tribe members. The monetary system is based on a universal agreement among the Yapese about the distributed wealth without the need to transport their assets; in this case the Rai. This system is the basis of the current blockchain technology.