In an op-ed article, Ksenija Tocilina, marketing manager at ToTheMoon Lab, tried to look into the future and imagine what the world will be like with the widespread introduction of blockchain based on what is happening now.
Sci-fi ideas in literature and cinema periodically strike us with the accuracy of their predictions as cultural changes and processes customary for the society are being modernized. And what seemed an impossible phenomenon yesterday can become a solid part of the public order tomorrow. Virtual reality, drones, the emergence of digital money, from "Frankenstein" to "Star Wars," and from Neal Stephenson to David Friedman, there are many examples of futuristic ideologies that are being implemented now.
A powerful impetus for technological development was the invention of the blockchain technology. The distributed register of data and the secure mechanism for verifying and recording any events have affected both the economic and political system and the organization of society and its value. In particular, issues of control and trust receive a completely new meaning in this case, because decentralization creates a convenient infrastructure based on the reliability of data and guarantees of their invariance. For example, if we look at the financial sector, the economic ideology of cryptocurrency can win over fiat money due to trust-related aspects, namely the distribution of control over transactions and the absence of a single administrative center. Based on these values and their relevance in the financial sector, and also following the example of futuristic ideologies known in culture, it is interesting to imagine what the new crypto world might look like.
The Value of Cryptocurrency
According to the data of Coinmarketcap, today there are more than 1,500 different cryptocurrencies, each of which was created by computing the most complicated mathematical problems and encryption algorithms. The technology of the blockchain system depends on the efficiency of the functions obtained, and all the network participants are involved in the verification of the chain of blocks and each user is a guarantor. The integrity of information and its guaranteed security is the main value of the cryptocurrency that can be achieved by distributing control over all data exchange processes. A high level of trust in virtual currency contributes to its development and relevance, and, accordingly, has an impact on economic systems and the financial sector as a whole.
Many enthusiasts believe that the crypto world will become a new reality. Probably, it will be based on the principle of trust, complete decentralization, and an open-source code of the protocol, through which all the physical processes familiar to us today can integrate into blockchain. Thus, in addition to financial units, a unique cryptographic code will be able to incorporate any goods, objects, actions, and even people. The interest in the creation of a private cryptocurrency already exists, and projects such as TrumpCoin, BuzCoin, and PutinCoin directly point to its availability. But a really hot topic for discussion within the framework of crypto identification is the creation of national cryptocurrencies and individual ICOs promoting the idea of ecosystems with an internal token that unites target interest groups.
Bitcoin was conceived as a currency that was not controlled by any government, but now many states are thinking about issuing their own cryptocurrencies. Although some countries continue to view this sector as a threat to their stability, other governments are stepping into the game and are exploring the possibilities of using new trends and technologies for their own purposes. The reasons for issuing cryptocurrencies are different for each state, but some general ones can be singled out. National cryptocurrencies will enable countries to:
Introduce a reliable alternative to deposits in private banks;
Provide an appropriate legal tender in addition to cash;
Provide an independent backup solution for electronic payment systems;
Give the government the ability to easily control all transactions.
Everyone knows the example of the creation of the Petro by Venezuela, but other countries have officially announced the tokenization of their state economies. Experts can already assume which of them will be the first to create their own digital money. The ranking of countries most friendly to cryptocurrencies compiled at the BlockShow Europe 2018 conference included Switzerland, Gibraltar, Malta, Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Finland, Belarus, and others.
In general, the creation of national cryptocurrencies is the same process of identifying an individual state in the crypto world and demonstrating its national ideas with the help of blockchain technology.
Tokenization of Individual Groups
If you shift focus from the state to the business environment, there is a tendency of integrating blockchain into existing businesses, as seen with the startup boom associated with the development of the Ethereum network. Optimization of internal processes and the modernization of different industries with the help of the blockchain continues to gain momentum. Dozens of companies have announced their intention to apply the technology just in the first quarter of 2018, among which are leaders in their industries, such as the diamond mining company De Beers, Singapore Airlines, and the telecommunications giant Huawei. More and more companies are mastering and integrating the technology, developing individual products and services. But there are examples of full brand tokenization with the introduction of proprietary currencies for turnover in the corporate environment. Most platforms that go to the ICO level are based on this principle, and given the capitalization of this market, it is likely that some successful startups will be able to demonstrate effective development and become corporations of the future.
The functional scope of a proprietary currency can be different and can range from premium functions and the use of internal services to the accumulation of assets and related complex calculations. The ability to earn corporate tokens develops internal communication processes that support team spirit and provide a share in the company, thereby increasing brand loyalty. The introduction of an internal currency into the corporate environment allows all employees to feel a shared responsibility for the success of the company and to compare the results of their efforts with competing firms, producing not only a contest but also a real financial interest. In addition, the size and level of the company do not matter. The benefit of the crypto world lies in the fact that any organization, community, and even an individual can issue their currency if they have the necessary equipment with sufficient capacity for these processes.
Many crypto enthusiasts go even further in reflecting on domestic currencies by expressing the idea that cryptocurrencies can not only unite individual groups but also help them identify themselves, their abilities, and interests with the help of a unique set of tokens that they own. The CEO of the new Tokyo Otaku Mode anime industry platform, Naomitsu Kodaka, explained the value of tokens in this quest for self-identification. "Cryptocurrencies can serve as cross-border digital money even for small communities united by a hobby, which they can use within the group to create closer communication and exchange assets." The token of the platform, for example, will help establish global communication between artists and fans of Japanese pop culture. "When we think about how cryptocurrencies can spread, it is not the scale of one state, but the scale of a specific community."
A Single Crypto Exchange
Another interesting opinion on the subject of tokenization of individual groups was expressed by the co-owner of e.Queo and investor in ed-tech startups Dmitry Kostomarov. He proposed to modernize the HR tech sector with the help of the tokenization of education for the community of professionals. It might look like this: digital profiles accumulate their value in tokens with the help of certain achievements, and the corporate world automatically accepts the employee according to a certain interpretation of the received cryptographic code. This innovative idea does not look so unrealistic if we imagine that there will be a single crypto exchange, where a professional will be perceived as a crypto unit or an asset that a company is ready to acquire.
Over the past year, several exchanges have announced the use of blockchain technology. The exchanges of Australia, Canada, and Abu Dhabi are trying new mechanisms of work and applying financial innovations to their activities. If we assume that this process will go further or that existing crypto exchanges will begin to conclude deals on a larger scale, then all goods and assets in the world will be able to obtain their unique cryptographic code, and regulators will give way to a decentralized system. Market relations will completely switch to a digital format, and the role of currency, stock, and commodity exchanges will be reformed into crypto exchanges, where all processes will take place in the same ecosystem.
Of course, the creation of a single decentralized exchange, which will become an effective platform for the global market, sounds like a utopia at the moment. It is with the advent of such a platform, however, that the approach to trade can change drastically, ensuring the integrity of the cryptocurrency infrastructure and revealing its potential. Many attempts have already been made to create decentralized exchanges (the likes of DecentEx, Stellar, Hodl Hodl, and Gnosis Dutch Exchange), but no one has yet technically realized the idea of a global financial ecosystem. And the key word here is "yet."
Crypto Utopia or Crypto Reality?
The desire for security, transparency, and data optimization dictated by the innovative functionality of blockchain changes not only the economic system but also certain values of society that have evolved due to prolonged manipulation of public consciousness and dependence on centralized systems. In order to thoroughly solve these problems and modernize public order, mass adaptation of technology is necessary along with an increase in the number of users of the crypto market and its accessibility. It is this idea that many developers are contemplating today.
At the moment, Gram is passing its ICO stage, an innovative crypto idea aimed at uniting all technologies in the familiar and simplified area of the Telegram messenger. All users will have a Telegram Passport, which will be something between a universal KYC check and a unique TON code assigned to each user. Identification of a person through a secure passport will allow each user to become part of an ecosystem where it is possible to pay for any goods and services using cryptocurrencies. This project can become the first global financial manifestation of blockchain, which fully realizes the principles of the future crypto world.
But the financial center of the crypto world exists already, although so far on the valley scale. More than 200 blockchain companies located in the Swiss canton of Zug are united not only by geographical features but also by the regulatory conditions created for them. The development of the crypto center is the responsibility of the Crypto Valley Association non-profit organization, which is engaged in the support and consolidation of blockchain startups in the valley. Bitcoin is also officially authorized in this region, and can already be used to pay taxes and for various services.
Other innovative ideas related to the decentralized architectural solution and the use of blockchain in urban infrastructure can be seen in the Sidewalk Toronto and the Smart Dubai program. In the first case, developers are experimenting with sensors and a transport system of drones. The infrastructure of the second includes all innovations in digital technologies related to tourism, real estate, energy, financial services, and other spheres of life.
Of course, all of the arguments about the crypto world, self-identification with the help of cryptocurrencies and mass adaptation of blockchain at the moment do not look very convincing, and examples of the desire for a decentralized society are more theoretical. But, as is known from fantastic stories, any utopian idea can one day be materialized.
In the "Blockchain Revolution" Don and Alex Tapscott write that "blockchain is an everlasting digital distributed journal of economic transactions, which can be programmed to record not only financial transactions but virtually everything that has value." It is possible that the utopia of the crypto world can be realized at a time when new values based on the principle of distributed responsibility, transparency, and trust, which the blockchain entails, will manifest in society. An endless study of the potential of people and technology, as well as the identification of this potential with the help of crypto units, have opened a new opportunity for the modernization of society. Will it be possible to implement these ideas on a global scale and reach a digital utopia? This is another question that only time can answer.