Naturally, because I am a modern and fashionable person, instead of labeling the eras "phase 1" or whatever I have adopted the ".0" terminology:
- Money 1.0 was a commodity (anything from grain to seashells to gold) or a physical claim on that commodity. Stretching from antiquity to early modern times, the key technologies were the technologies of the commodity itself, from mining to milling.
- Money 2.0 arrives with electronic communications, when even paper is too substantial. I would, somewhat arbitrarily, date the Money 2.0 age from October 1861, when the newly invented telegraph put the Pony Express out of business. Despite its iconic status, the Pony Express was a commercial failure. It lasted only 18 months: when the telegraph was completed on 24th October 1861, it was doomed. I closed three days later. Sending payments faster than a galloping horse was a genuine break with the past.
- The era of Money 3.0 is just beginning. Its central dynamic is no longer connectivity (since everything is connected to everything else) but community. We can see a glimmer of the future in MySpace and eBay, Zopa and Second Life, Paypal and Craig's List. It's the age of Reed's Law, disconnection technology and the decoupling of currency and the nation state.
These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]