Unique Trading Game: From One Red Paperclip to a House

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A blogger named Kyle MacDonald is attempting to make a series of up-trades from one red paperclip to a house. His latest item up for trade is a recording contract for a full album at a prestigious Toronto recording studio.

Kyle MacDonald saw one red paperclip on his desk, took a picture of it and put it on his website, oneredpaperclip.com. He then asked people to offer something bigger or better than the red paperclip. Kyle traded the paperclip for a pen, which, after seven trades up, became a snowmobile, which became a trip to the Canadian Rockies, which was traded for a 5 ton moving van. He hopes to continue making trades until he gets a house.

Kyle meets up with every trader, and has already made trades in several different cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver and Montreal. “It's more about the people I meet along the way than the trade items -- In the name of the game, I have to re-trade each item, but I can keep in touch with the traders forever.”    

The moving van was recently traded for Kyle’s current item up for trade: a recording contact for an album at Metalworks Studios in Toronto, Canada. The recording contract includes transportation to Toronto from anywhere in the world, and accommodations. It consists of 30 hours recording time, 50 hours of mixing/post production, and the final album will be pitched to executives at Sony BMG and XM Satellite radio.

Brendan McClellan, who is responsible for coordinating the recording of the album at Metalworks, believes this is a huge chance for a new artist looking to cut an album, "Normally, a package like this is only available to professional artists with a label backing them,” says Brendan, "but for this I will help a band or musician walk in with their instruments and leave with a production quality studio album, ready to sell." Artists who have recorded albums at Metalworks include Tina Turner, Prince, David Bowie, Guns N Roses and Christina Aguilera.

Several offers have come in for the album recording, but Kyle needs to determine the perfect trade. “I try to trade for something that has the highest potential for future trades, I don't necessarily always go for the offer with the highest value.” Says Kyle, 26, who hopes to trade up to a house by July 12 - exactly one year from the day he started. And how far will he go for his house? “I will go anywhere in the world for the right offer.”

Kyle will likely write a book about his experience, and many production companies have contacted him about making a feature film or television series based on the trading game.

“People are really excited about this and it is a lot of fun, “ Kyle says. “It's win-win for everyone involved.”


Kyle MacDonald

one red paperclip





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