Can Cryptocurrency Bring Positive Change?
Do you think cryptocurrency is the future of money? Will digital money that isn't run by any government or bank ever become trusted enough to use in our everyday lives? MIT is one institution that seems to think so.
I spoke to people across industries who felt that an open, interoperable, censorship-resistant platform for data agreement could help solve many of their problems—and these were real problems: micropayments to support content producers, digital identification to help refugees, and services like credit and cheap money transfer for the unbanked. Though the solutions are far from obvious, even the possibility of making a dent in these problems is worth exploring, and surprisingly, the people involved seem to think an open-access, cryptographically signed log could help. It became clear to me that not only is the world ready to embrace building more open, interoperable systems, but doing so could lead to solving a wide variety of problems.
Wait, you say. Whatever happened to the promise of Bitcoin, probably the most well known of the digital currencies?
While Bitcoin may appear to have fallen off the radar, a new study from Juniper Research—The Future of Cryptocurrency - Deep Dive Data & Forecasting 2016-2021—expects the total value of Bitcoin transactions to triple this year, exceeding $92 billion, up from less than $27 billion in 2015.
In an interesting TED Talk, Narula speaks about the future of money. She also provides some interesting background, starting with a culture that lived in Micronesia in the early 1900s called the Yap. The Yap used limestone discs called Rai stones, the largest apparently being about four tons. Obviously, the stones couldn’t be moved, and the Yap kept track of who owns part of what stone. According to Narula, the Yap still use a form of these stones.
It’s an interesting talk, and Narula concludes, “We're entering a new era of programmable money. And it's very exciting, but it's also a little bit scary.”
Will everyone eventually use cryptocurrency, and will it be good for society? Or will it turn into buyer beware? There’s obviously lots to think about regarding the future of money.