Ripple Reforged

dog-competitorsIn my very first blog post I mentioned that there are other people attempting to build something similar to UTU. I was not very worried as these competitors were not gaining much traction and my plans were to build something quite different.

Now more serious competition has arrived. They have connections, succesfull people, investment money and publicity. They took the classic Ripple, mixed it with Bitcoin and created new Ripple.

I was quite worried for a while. After more detailed study it seems things are not so bad after all. The guys running new Ripple are eminently clever and their overall philosophy matches my thinking very well. Their focus and approach is however quite different from what I am thinking and implementing.

It’s nice to have some pressure driving me forward again. Let’s see how well UTU shall compare against reforged Ripple approach.  🙂


sorry-for-the-delay2There has been a rather long delay with UTU. Late last year was asked to do some high-priority work on other tracks. My UTU plans and value proposition also seemed stuck somehow, and I felt unable to continue meaningfully onward.

Thus I have been concentrating on other tracks for the past few months.


After this long hiatus my inspriration seems to be returning. The UTU track is now officially restarted and continuing onwards.

What Lincoln Said

Abraham-LincolnOur current troubles with banks and economy are nothing new. It’s the same cycle happening again and again. We just do not realize this as the cycle takes so long.

Some visionary men have seen past the limitations of present and envisioned a different future. Abraham Lincoln was such a man.

The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of government, but it is the governments’s greatest creative opportunity. The people can and will be furnished with a currency as safe as their own government. Money will cease to be the master and become the servant of humanity. Democracy will rise superior to the money power.

Senate document 23, Page 91. 1865

This resonates with me strongly. I believe Lincoln was fundamentally right, but my take on this is somewhat different. I believe people have the right to enjoy these privileges directly. My key take-away from Lincoln and his quote is this:

Remaking money is our greatest creative opportunity

Grip of Death

grif of deathI have been discussing the UTU idea with several persons. One such person is David F. Heathfield, an academic economist and author. David recommended me to read a book called Grip of Death.

This book is difficult. Very difficult. Many of the basic premises and facts feel strange & wrong. I believe some of them actually are wrong or somewhat miss the mark. But many do not.

One can gain much better understanding of modern economy, our money supply and historical context by reading this book. Some chapters of the book are absolutely fabulous. I especially liked chapters on Abraham Lincoln and C.H Douglas. But some aspects of this book still feel incorrect and quite mistaken to me.

Read this book if you want to understand how strange a creature our money actually is.


backwards_clock_aMany startup guides tell you how startups are supposed to be created. You should identify  a problem, create good solution, find markets and reach for success.

Process for creating UTU has been somewhat different.

Late 2011 my longstanding project for Nokia Finance & Control was wrapping up. Suddenly I had some extra time at my fingertips. This was fairly novel to me as I had been fully committed to various customer projects and own product development over very many years.

After taking some holidays my interests gravitated towards startups. I have always been interested on this area, but now I did a focused effort on this and learned many new things.

Soon I was rehashing an old startup idea with some friends. We worked on this idea for early 2012 in iterative fashion and came up with a good plan. Conceptually we were good to go, but detailed legal checks made us realize that the concept had serious legal and business problems. After some pivot attempts we decided to stop this track.

During this process I separately came up with UTU core idea. My earlier as-a-hobby experiments with “balanced flow networks” and other software concepts gave me necessary background to flesh out this idea. My understanding of finance, economics, nature of money and history certainly also pushed me to work on this idea. All this was likely happening sub-consciously. Finally the rough plan and vision just materialized in my head.

As often happens it would have been easy to just forget about the idea, but I refused to let go. The UTU system had fairly intriguing logical and conceptual properties which I thought to be quite unique.

At this point I was mainly thinking on system and platform levels. Potential large-scale benefits and transformative power of UTU became evident almost immediately. It was not however clear how one could actually make all this happen. This has been the major challenge.

My solution is to reverse-engineer from “success vision” all the way back to the “service launch” and “minimum viable product”. Thus we are doing this in quite backwards and somewhat unnatural way. This process has been very difficult, but we are making good progress and I find the process rewarding in itself.

Good Bureaucracy

red-tapeHere in Finland there are various public programs supporting and funding aspiring entrepreneurs. That at least is the publicly stated mission. Apparently reality has been more mixed, some people are happy with government efforts while some argue them to be inefficient and wrongly focused. The main problem many apparently see is the willingness of these programs to only support “safe and secure” projects and typical growth-startups can rarely be categorized as such.

Today I met with a local-level person from such a government program and discussed the UTU business plan with him. My hopes were not set very high, but reality was actually quite good. These advisors are ex-entrepreneurs or current entrepreneurs. This arrangement makes tons of sense compared to discussing business plans with “Ye Olde Civil Servant”. Most of the advice was along the lines I expected, but also got some fresh advice and had a chance to practice talking about UTU with brand new person.

There will soon be a continuation on this track. My hope is that ultimately some government support is forthcoming in one form or another.

Friends Are Great

fairy taleThe business plan for UTU is slowly taking shape. However, one can only go so far with own brainpower and imagination. Thus i have now contacted large group of suitable friends and associates. My request for them was to provide concrete and honest feedback.

I am quite happy with the results so far. Good comments and proposals are coming from all corners. I could always benefit from even more external input, but my brain is already being stimulated and new possibilities are appearing.

Big thanks to everyone who has participated and will participate on this track.


Why-ImageFriend asked me why I am doing the UTU project. I have tried analyzing my reasons for UTU and came up with these core reasons.

  • I want to try something audacious which has potential to impact the world in a major way.
  • My personal situation right now supports starting such an experimental startup project.
  • Studying startups, business of software and fast growing companies has long been a hobby of mine. I am no longer satisfied with passive participation and study. Now I want to take more active role.
  • I recognize that success in this project might mean large valuation and payoff. Right now my financial needs are fairly modest. Big payoff would of course feel nice 😉
  • People building these startups somehow seem to gain more satisfaction, learn a lot and have more fun. I want to see if this is true and if this applies to myself.
  • My hope is for UTU to impact the world in positive way and make lives better for many.

I Was Stupid

homer stupid2My experiment with BankRebels concept message failed. The emotional message was not good, conversion rates were poor and I ultimately spent 3+ EUR per each newsletter signup. Most importantly my precious time was taken by this side track and the main project was slowed down.

What is most annoying is that with bit of foresight and thinking all this should have been obvious and avoidable. But somehow it was not and BR track went onwards. I was just stupid on this. The BR track is now halted and the main UTU track is again moving onwards.

Was it all just a loss? Not fully. I gained 100+ signups whom I can contact later when we launch. Facebook ads now feel much more familiar to me. Main benefit might have been the recognizition that cost-effective FB advertising is not easy at all and there is tons of “weird unexplainable stuff” going on.