# The Money Party
*Originally published 2018-12-17 on [docs.sweeting.me](https://docs.sweeting.me/s/blog).*
<img src="https://i.imgur.com/dk8YoaI.jpg" style="width: 80%; border-radius: 14px; box-shadow: 4px 4px 4px rgba(0,0,0,0.04);">
On Saturday I went to a party at [The Archive](https://archive.house/), a lovely SF house in the vicinity of Dolores park (with with its own domain name of course, like any self-respecting tech coop these days). My friend Austin lives there, and I've since met many other interesting, earnest people who are somehow connected to that house.
The party was sort of a reverse Burning Man, where instead of money not existing as a concept, everything was dictated by money. All ticket-holding participants were issued $100 paper "archive dollars" at the door, and the person with the most dollars at the end would win the pot (comprised of $5 real dollars from each ticket-holder).
Given that 100-200 ppl responded to the Facebook event and many more bought tickets on EventBrite, the pot was guaranteed to be >$500 USD.
> Everyone gets five hundred Archive dollars at the door which you'll use to incite your friends into crazy bets and dares. The person with the most Archive dollars at the end of the night wins the pot (probably ~$500 USD. $5 per ticket purchased) and eternal bragging rights and maybe the lease to our house.
> We'll have the standard Archive amenities: sauna, photo booth, cocktails, friends, dancing and mad science. Feel free to bring a change of clothes for post-sauna.
> Dress Code:
> In the interest of doing it for the money, the person with the best / most outrageous costume will win an additional $500 Archive dollars at 11pm.
At the door, after being handed your monoply "archive" money, you were prompted to do truth or dare for $50, and the door guards would think up a dare like "hold a 3 second handstand in the living room, with picture proof" and truth questions like "tell us the story of your first kiss". This was just an initiation, to get guests to start understanding the concept of the game: to redistribute wealth between partygoers by operating games and dares leading up until the game is stopped at precisely 1am, the money counted, and the final winner announced.
Throughout the party, there were several other schemes being run, with varying levels of complexity, and lots of interesting parallels to real-world economies.
* Win a bet with 5:1 odds that you cant pick out an orange jellybean from a jar of multicolored jellybeans, in the entrance room with a bright monochrome yellow light as the only light in the room. (much harder than it sounds, as it super-saturates everything with only one wavelength, making colors impossible to tell apart)
* Overt ponzi scheme: write your name up on the whiteboard and stake any amount you want, e.g. $100. As long as someone stakes money after you, you get 120% of your money back instantly from the next few people's stakes. The goal being to just avoid being the last person before 1am. This game introduced a great concept to people as well: marketing. Once you join the ponzi scheme, you're incentivized to recruit as many other people as possible to join the ponzi scheme as well, so that you can keep reinvesting your winnings and sucking away 20%. Many schemes had an aspect like that, which led to them proliferating and attracting more people.
* One person had created a costume made out of various real currencies glued to a white pair of shorts and t-shirt. He would walk up groups of guests, and challenge them to guess the total value of the costume in $USD, to within ±$1. Each guess cost $50, and you were allowed 20sec to stare at it carefully while he spun around to try and estimate the total. The interesting thing about this game is that the reward for guessing correctly is that you get to keep the costume (covered in real money), *but he gives you 0 archive dollars*. As long as he could profit from the game long enough before losing it, and he won the best costume bonus (not many other people dressed up), he could claim the final $500 pot and recoup his real-money costs that it took to make the the costume.
* Occasionally partygoers would leave early, and just throw away their money at the door to other guests on the way out, which led to mobs of people trying to pick up bills on the floor.
* When I guessed the value of the money costume by chance early on in the party, he thought up a different scheme to generate revenue, and ended up running a challenge where you had to squeeze a grip strength meter with exactly 26lb of force ±1lb, given one practice run where you're allowed to look at the screen. You paid $50 or something like that, with the chance to win $500 if you do it. One or two people succeeded, but the vast majority of people who tried couldn't.
* There were also pure-chance dice games being run, e.g. craps and toin cosses.
* Some people were providing real services for archive dollars, e.g. you could get your picture taken against a library backdrop for $20 archive dollars, or a drink served.
* It was interesting to see the range of different pooling strategies that people used, some invested all their money as stakes in other individual players very early, others waited till the end to try and amass a huge pool of people in order to guarantee at least a small fraction of the $500 USD pot to each person in the pool.
At 1am, everyone gathered in the back yard around the stage, and it turned into a sort of mosh pit of people throwing money, people yelling to advertise their pools, and lots of frantic counting of money to see which pools were largest and most likely to win. A pool I joined didn't finish counting it's money in time, and lost to a slightly larger pool, with the winners each getting ~$20 USD.
The Sepia lamp:
The back yard where everyone gathered: