In the year 2030, if we do this right, money, the foundation of our economy and civilization, will be unrecognizable. As a society we have grown so accustomed to the status quo of today’s money – fiat currencies issued and controlled by governments and central banks – that we forget money periodically goes through a great upheaval. We are on the brink of one of these moments. Money, one of humanity’s greatest and most enduring creations, is becoming digital.
The next decade of innovation will prove decisive as state powers, global corporations and an increasingly assertive digital civil society vie for control over the lifeblood of our economic lives. Each of these new stakeholders has a vastly different set of aims and objectives.
For some, the reinvention of money is a chance to break free from state and corporate control. For others, it’s an opportunity to further entrench the dominant businesses of today – such as Facebook and Goldman Sachs, two of many big firms with their eye on the reinvention of money. And for governments, it is a chance to either defend the status quo in the case of the U.S. dollar, or create a new global hegemon, in the case of China’s central bank digital currency. If you want to understand our collective future, follow the money.
Three concurrent and accelerating forces are driving this transformation:
First, the steady adoption of emerging technologies such as blockchain is laying the foundation for a new economic infrastructure that supports the digitization of all assets, most importantly money. Bitcoin, which emerged from our civil society outside the control of governments and big business, paved the way for the reinvention of money. Blockchain and crypto-assets will do for money, markets and virtually every kind of asset what the internet did for newspapers, film and TV.
Alex Tapscott is co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute. This essay is part of CoinDesk’s “Internet 2030” series.
Second, the balance of…