I’m really excited to share this interview with Kabir Sehgal, the author of Coined. Hope you enjoy … You can order the book here
1. Why did you write the book?
I began my career on Wall Street just a few months before the 2008 financial crisis. I couldn’t believe the devastation that the crisis caused for millions of Americans and people around the world. I kept wanting to know why we act so bizarrely with money, and what’s going on in our mind when we think about money in the first place.
2. What’s happening in the brain when dealing with money?
There is an emerging field called neuroeconomics where neuroscientists study how we make financial decisions. The thought of obtaining money creates activity in the reward center part of our brain. Money excites and stimulates us.
3. You traveled extensively in researching this book. What was one of the most unusual place that you traveled?
Mongolia. I traveled to Karakorum, which was the ancient capital city of the Mongols. In the book, I discuss how one of the most prominent Mongol emperors, Kublai Khan, used a system of paper money throughout his lands.
4. Why did you go to the Galapagos Islands to study money?
Money is an instrument of exchange, so I wanted to understand why we exchange in the first place. Charles Darwin went to these islands, where he saw life in a new light. I spent time with scientists on these islands who helped me realize how exchange is all around us — many organisms rely on symbiosis with other organisms to survive.
5. You met with coin collectors all around the world. What is your favorite coin?
It’s hard to have a favorite, but one of the most beautiful coins that I saw is the Dos Mundos coin that circulated in the Philippines. It’s a symbol of Spanish power, and it has a symmetrical design with regal symbols.
6. What do you think about bitcoin?
It’s an amazing technology. It permits folks to transfer files in an authenticated manner. I’m not sure if it thrives as a currency, but it holds great promise as a technology.
7. What is the future of money?
Mobile payments. Most transactions around the world are still in cash. But many people in the emerging world have mobile phones. Getting people to use mobile phones as payment devices will bring more people into the global market place.