Day40— More currencies than countries

Tokens against poverty

In parts of Africa and South Asia, less than 5 percent of the population and only about half of micro and small enterprises have a bank account. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has launched the Level One Project as part of its Financial Services for the Poor program aimed at creating national digital payments systems based on the blockchain. Unlike payments made by mobile phones under existing systems, the blockchain would enable people and small firms to move money around regardless of what telecom company people subscribe to. “I dream that all of Africa will be one big, interoperable payment platform,” says Kosta Peric, the project’s leader.

Photo by Margot RICHARD on Unsplash

Saving the Planet

In combination with the Internet of Things, made up of interconnected chips and sensors, blockchains may also help with environmental protection. The one potentially important proposal is to encourage environmentally conscious behavior on the part of companies and individuals by enabling them to transform carbon credits into digital tokens that can be traded on an exchange. The blockchain can be used to benefit the environment in other ways, too, if we think laterally. For example, the blockchain can help facilitate the process of selling excess solar power generated by homeowners without the cumbersome paperwork involved in dealing with the local utility.

More than one-third of data traffic in the United States is tied to streaming on Netflix, and a similar chunk has to do with sharing high-definition photographs. The carbon footprint can only be mitigated if there’s a commitment to go green. The largest American digital companies mostly operate their data centers with solar and wind power. So far, however, that’s no the case in China.

A future of blockchains and cryptocurrencies?

It all began with turning money into encrypted tokens. As important as digital currencies will be by 2030, the potential applications of the blockchain in fields as diverse as government services, intellectual property, trade transactions, counterfeit regulation, gun control, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection, to name but a few, are tantalizing, and they are all the product of lateral thinking. I submit that cryptocurrencies will capture the imagination large number of users-and perhaps regulators-only if they transform how we think about money and how we use money, if they open new horizons are possibilities not only for doing business or managing our personal finances but for improving our lives. If digital currencies merely substitute for cash, then we might be disappointed. But if we can do away with the high costs of moving cash around while at the same time providing incentives for individuals to preserve resources or diminish their carbon footprint, then we might witness a tectonic shift in the world of finance and save the planet at the same time. The trick will be to like the adoption of cryptocurrencies to some desirable behavioral change. People need to receive some immediate benefit(like the ease of use or a reduced cost pre-transaction) in addition to the long-term benefit to everyone in society(a reunion in carbon emissions).

2030 by Mauro.F.Guillen: 219–224