What is Russia playing at? Talk of upsetting the global world order (at least as currency reserves go) has largely been reported as China’s domain, but Dmitry Medvedev is giving his neighbours a run for their money – literally.
Bloomberg reports (emphasis ours):
July 10 (Bloomberg) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev illustrated his call for a supranational currency to replace the dollar by pulling from his pocket a sample coin of a “united future world currency.”
“Here it is,”Medvedev told reporters today in L’Aquila, Italy, after a summit of the Group of Eight nations. “You can see it and touch it.”
The coin, which bears the words “unity in diversity,” was minted in Belgium and presented to the heads of G-8 delegations, Medvedev said.
The question of a supranational currency “concerns everyone now, even the mints,”Medvedev said. The test coin “means they’re getting ready. I think it’s a good sign that we understand how interdependent we are.”
Medvedev has repeatedly called for creating a mix of regional reserve currencies as part of the drive to address the global financial crisis, while questioning the U.S. dollar’s future as a global reserve currency. Russia’s proposals for the G-20 meeting in London in April included the creation of a supranational currency.
A Russian media outlet had a slightly different take. Ria Novosti reported Medvedev had actually been given the coin, although it did not say by whom:
L’AQUILA, July 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday he had been given an example coin of a possible global currency at the G8 summit in Italy, adding that all aspects of reserve currencies were under discussion.
“We are discussing both the use of other national currencies, including the ruble, as a reserve currency, as well as supranational currencies,” the Russian leader said at a news conference following the G8 summit.
Medvedev showed reporters an example of a coin of a supranational currency, which he called a “united future world currency.”
“This is a symbol of our unity and our desire to settle such issues jointly,” Medvedev said, adding that the coin had been made in Belgium. He also expressed the hope that a day would come when something of the kind would be used for payment
In any event, here’s what the UFWC supposedly looks like, according to a LiveJournal post by one “a_kolesnichenko“:
It’s worth noting that this coin’s catch-phrase isn’t exactly new (even if the idea behind it is). Back in June, Indianexpress.com ran a story about Indian coin collectors’ growing fondness for newer coins. That report contains the following tidbits (emphasis FT Alphaville’s):
On the pavements of a teeming Chandni Chowk, old curio stalls are selling glittering new coins. And it is the new coins that collectors seem to prefer over the old.
Sitting on the pavement, 31-year-old Arun Aggarwal, a coin-seller, recently discovered a strange public obsession for the new 10 and five rupee coins released by the RBI in the past few years. Aggarwal is now selling these for Rs 12 and Rs 7 respectively.
“The coin is unique and I’ll show it to everyone I know. I don’t think any of them have seen it yet. I first thought it was a fake. I now know it is real but I won’t spend it,” said Vineet Bhardwaj, 24, who works with a multinational company. Bhardwaj bought two 10-rupee coins for Rs 24. “I know it sounds stupid but this is a collector’s item.” The 10-rupee coins were minted in 2006.
The 8-gram bimetallic coin with nickel-copper on one side and ferrous steel on the other, was designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Its theme is ‘unity in diversity’.
Gosh, that sounds awfully familiar…
(H/T Bryce Elder)
“The main reserve currency, the dollar, has failed to serve its purpose” – AP
Dollar vulnerable as countries diversify – Reuters
The Amero Coin – Snopes.com
Jefferies on the Amerco – CNBC (November 2006)