AUSTRALIAN auction sales platform Cryptothrift has announced the sale of a ten trillion dollar Zimbabwean reserve note whose gains will be fully donated to the anti-sexual violence charity.
Although it may have been virtually worthless just weeks after it was printed in the early months of 2009, bids had, by Friday, reached US$156.
The interest was probably because it features the autograph of famous activist Andreas Antonopoulos- a California-based computer security expert, tech-entrepreneur, author and speaker.
The bill was submitted for auction by Bitcoin Magazine’s Chris DeRose.
Explaining how he came by the note which Zimbabweans were happy to see abandoned in 2009, DeRose said: “At the Coins in the Kingdom conference on Saturday October 4th, I was in attendance and asked Andreas to sign this very bill.
“He obliged, and added a great little commentary to boot. As you would expect from Andreas, the commentary was both poignant, and inspiring! “Inflation Matters” is written on the bill, followed by Andreas’ signature.
“This bill was given to me by a friend, and at the event, it was decided that we should keep the charity going. We asked Andreas what charity he liked, and he recommended RAINN, so RAINN it is!
“This bill itself is in perfect condition (no wrinkles or tears). For those who are unaware, the ‘Ten Trillion Dollar Note’ is indeed a real fiat bill that was printed in the first few months of the year 2009.
“It was the last denomination that was printed before the complete abandonment of the currency on April 12 of 2009.
“An unsigned bill by itself is currently worth nothing for its use in the exchange of goods and services, but can be bought for around $6 USD on Ebay merely for its novelty and numismatic value.”
At the turn of 2006, Zimbabwe was experiencing a dramatic situation characterised by annual hyperinflation, four out of five adults unemployed, empty shops, frequent food and energy shortages while life expectancy had plummeted to 36.
Inflation for the single month of March 2007 was about 2,200%, meaning if one deposited their March salary in a bank account, its value would have been divided by 22 the following month. In August 2007, two litres of cooking oil cost 400,000 Zimbabwean dollars or about USD 2.8.Advertisement
In January 2008, the annual inflation rate reached a record 100,580%, while the unemployment rate approached 80%.
The Zimbabwean dollar had lost so much of its value that exchanges were most often conducted in South African Rand, Botswana Pula or the US Dollar.
A few months later, during the month of July 2008, the annual inflation rate reached 231 million percent, threatening the country with bankruptcy.
Faced with the most unprecedented inflation in human history and the failure of all the options, the use of the US dollar was imposed at the start of 2009 to take advantage of the relative stability of the North American currency.
The decision, along with the establishment of a coalition government helped stem hyperinflation, stabilise the economy as well as force some kind of stability and recovery over the next five years.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa this year since ruled out any immediate return for the Zimbabwe dollar, emphasising that the multi-currency regime would remain in place for a further five years.