Towards Dialogue and New Policies

A Little Bit of Money

Thought Experiments on Cross-Border Payments - Of Couriers, Bankers, and Bitcoiners

Series 19: Towards Dialogue and New Policies

The age of digitization: anonymity and trustless business relations

Anonymity and trustless business relationships seem to prosper in the digital age. Much of the dirty work in financial services is done by machines, which are not programmed for judgments on whether or not a trade is ethical. Coding for ethical trades is, of course, possible, but not always profitable. Consequently, programming transactions that are irresponsible or unethical are business as usual. Though the intentions of the various industry players may differ here and there, in principle, anything goes.

Recording every user’s steps along the path

There is a relatively small group of activists within the banking industry who want to make the world a better place. They advocate sustainable investment vehicles, cooperative banking and focus on personal relations with customers. On the other hand, there is the financial technology world utilizing big data tools that record all kinds of user behavior to extract personal information. After all, traces of devices represent potential clients and potential profits.

Every move you make, every vow you break

Every move you make is on the radar of tech-savvy firms, and all those annoying pop-up ads that invade your screen when browsing the Internet are typical results of this. At the end of the day, there is no time for connecting with a person, and no real interest in building human relationships, since everything is intended to be run by machines.

Nothing is more constant than change

Inevitably, the service sector with personal touch cuts jobs constantly, and as a result, unemployment resulting from the spread of automation is the boogeyman of the industry. For instance, in the banking world jobs are regularly cut down. Although automation has been the order of the day across all verticals for a hundred years or more. So is this change that comes with digitization really disruptive?

What a nightmare - David Hasselhoff`s friends in the future

They say nothing is more constant than change. Surprisingly enough, human workers are still quite common, and I am yet to meet an autonomous robot at my bank who can pick me cash from trees and get my highest bills paid instantly. So far no cryptocurrency driven cyborg does the trick even though some scientist claim that new versions of KITT (“Knight Rider”) are going to take over the planet soon.

The digital generation is tearing down the old walls

Exploring new opportunities can't happen without YUPIDs. The digital generation is tearing down the old walls and ushering in a new financial world. Thus, for banks and the new kids on the financial district block it’s time to start eye-level discussions. The old guard and the new guard have to introduce themselves to one another. This initial courtesy could lead to establishing the right mix of digital and human policies, sparking the evolution of a universal financial system that works for more than just a few global banks.

The financial industry can advance by dealing with YUPIDs

As the gap between crypto-minded enthusiasts and traditional bankers is widening, open communication between YUPIDs and the financial establishment is a must. If global banking is to advance, economies and societies around the world have to establish a sincere dialogue with their local YUPIDs. Instead, today’s innovators are often labeled as money launderers. Unfortunately, fin-techies are sometimes themselves responsible for the prejudices, because they try to outsmart the regulation - like the hated “banksters” - instead of helping to make the rules more suitable.

The promised lands of regulatory freedom

Some countries – like Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Britain, and the United States – are ahead of the curve. Here we are looking at places where forums and channels exist for governments, private actors, and civil society to engage in productive conversations about the need for a better financial infrastructure. They’ve realized that the legacy of the old banking world, with all its grandfathered systems, requires an urgent update.

Talking turkey with bankers

Incidentally, the discussions between YUPIDs and bankers are not meant to reveal the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Honestly, who wants to know? In fact, it doesn’t really matter. Even if the inventor(s) of Bitcoin were to one day be revealed, no one knows what he, she, or they might say about the status of Bitcoin today. As the parent(s) of a movement, we can assume that Bitcoin’s inventor(s) will have warm things to say. So let’s agree that Satoshi would be grateful for Bitcoin users taking action, and would encourage the crypto community to talk turkey with bankers.

To be continued. Further Reading:

P. Piasecki. Design and security analysis of Bitcoin infrastructure using application deployed on Google Apps Engine. Master’s thesis, Lodz Technical Institute (Poland), 2012.

J. Kirshbaum. The Production of Freedom: Value Production in the US-Dominated Financial System, and Possible Alternatives. Master’s thesis (preliminary), University of California, Santa Cruz, 2012.

T. Porter and R. Williams. States, Markets and Regimes in Global Finance, Springer 2016.

Yuval Noah Harari. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Harper; 1st Edition in February 2017.

Ray Kurzweil. The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Penguin Books in September 26, 2006.

MIT Technology Review. Do We Need Asimov's Laws? May 16, 2014



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