ENTRY 074: Solnar
An oldthink economic relic wearing new clothes, the solnar is a unit of account used as a basis for comparison and conversion of the various fiat currencies in use throughout the solar system. Unlike the hypercorp-backed credit or Titanian Kroner, the solnar is not a currency into itself to be spent and accepted in exchange for goods and services, and is of primary interest to economists and academics. For most transhumans, the utility of the Solnar is as a handy reference for dealing with alternative, old-fashioned currencies used in some habitats or issued by smaller hypercorps, banks, governments, and groups. A simple app allows users to quickly calculate the relative worth of various coupons, bonds, scripts, and even physical currency against the solnar.
In most cases, the solnar app also allows near-instantaneous cost-free conversion between digital currencies through the Solnar Fiscal Exchange (SFEX), an autonomous Mesh-based service where users post the currencies they have and the currencies they want, and accept the solnar-based conversion rate; SFEX then matches up user requests and offers through a microtransaction system. While obscure, low-demand currencies can sometimes take minutes or hours to complete conversion, conversions from major currencies to major currencies (Credits to Titanian Kroner, or Night Cartel negotiable digital certificates) are nearly automatic.
Using the Solnar
In the post-scarcity economy that rules much of Eclipse Phase, with so much of the game tied up into the rep-system, old-school economics like differing currencies are such a pain that they are seldom used except as a plot point. That being said, sometimes weird currencies can be a very useful plot point—work certificates for a given habitat encourage the PCs to look (and spend) locally, hypercorp coupons or stock are a very flavorful and specific reward for a certain kind of work—but when the time does come when the PCs (and/or the plot) needs to move on, they’re going to want to take their wealth with them, and that’s where solnars and SFEX come in: a mechanism to ease PCs over the nightmare of currency conversion so they can get on with the adventure and have fun.
- Jhim Thrush can’t bank on his reputation, but as a part-owner of three exotic organic compound mining operations around Saturn he issues and redeems his own personal script to cover many transactions, particularly his gambling debts. Jhim relies on the solnar ranking of his script for it to be accepted—and lately that’s been taking a dive, even though Jhim always honors them. Jhim suspects a rival of his, one of the PCs former employers, of trying to discredit him and hires the PCs to investigate.
- The Night Cartel on Liberty station on Ganymede are laundering Titanian kroners from the Jovian government through their legitimate businesses, taking a rake-off and then the proceeds are being set up in a series of autonomous accounts outside Jovian space. Anti-Jovian watchdogs have caught wind of the operation; they aren’t sure what the Jovians intend to do with the money but don’t expect it’s for anything good. They give the PCs a computer virus and ask them to slip it into the computers holding the black accounts—it’ll automatically flag the Kroners as available for trade and fill the accounts up with a variety of low-demand “junk” currencies, digital coupons, etc. Of course, for their efforts the PCs are set up with an account full of junk bonds, which if they succeed will be converted into 10,000 kroner.