A pioneering new banking system in Rockefeller Center promises to fix the world economy by bolstering finance with quantum physics. Fueled by atomic decay, a prototype quantum ATM will be installed in the basement of 20 Rockefeller Plaza on June 11th under the direction of experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats. The public is invited to test the new technology during an exclusive 96-hour trial period.
"The problem with the economy is that it's Newtonian," says Mr. Keats, who has previously applied string theory to real estate development. "Over the past century, physicists have learned that the universe is quantum. It's about time that money started following the same laws as everything else in the cosmos."
According to Mr. Keats, the Quantum Bank at 20 Rock will be the first financial institution with the technological means to make money quantum, resulting in a nearly infinite proliferation of wealth. "The principles we're applying have actually been well-established for decades," notes Mr. Keats. "A quantum particle doesn't have a definite location unless it's measured. It's everywhere at once, subsisting in a so-called quantum superposition. At the quantum bank, our idea is to achieve the same thing with cash."
Anybody will be able to deposit any sum of money at the Quantum Bank. While the deposit is being processed, a uranium-glass sphere will emit an alpha particle into a custom-built cylinder inscribed with seven billion microscopic boxes, each uniquely identified with a single account. Were this process being monitored, the quantum particle would be observed to pass through only one of the seven billion boxes, crediting the deposit to a single account. However the entire quantum ATM is sheathed in metal, preventing any measurement from taking place. The superpositioned alpha particle will enter all seven billion boxes, crediting all seven billion accounts. Supported by this quantum bookkeeping technique, the cash itself will effectively be in a superposition.
"We have enough accounts available to serve everyone on the planet," says Mr. Keats. "Anyone who wants one can sign up for free. Once you're in the ledger, you'll be eligible to collect a quantum banknote whenever a US dollar or the foreign equivalent is deposited."
To service the anticipated demand, the Quantum Bank will print and issue its own currency. A face value of "one quantum" will conveniently be equivalent to one dollar. These banknotes can be used wherever they are accepted, or can be redeposited at the bank to generate even more quantum cash.
"What's surprising is that nobody's entered into the quantum banking sector before," comments Mr. Keats. "Even Bitcoin doesn't use any new physics." One bitcoin is one bitcoin, regardless of the technology used to mine it.
Back in 1935, the physicist Erwin Schrodinger proposed a famous thought experiment in which an unobserved cat was both alive and dead, its fate determined by a particle held in a quantum superposition. "We're just putting his insight into practice, and making it useful for something more noble than torturing animals," says Mr. Keats. "With quantum banking, we're setting the new economy in a quantum-economic superposition so that everyone can thrive simultaneously."
The Quantum Bank's prototype ATM will be open for deposits and withdrawals at Engineer's Office Gallery in New York City beginning at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, and running through June 14. The gallery is located in the basement hallway of 20 Rockefeller Plaza. Direct access is available during weekday business hours through the turnstiles at the 47-50 Rockefeller subway station.