The Future of Money

Creative destruction threatens power. This is why disruptive innovations require new models of thinking to truly enable new technology to reach its potential in a competitive market. — Tim Wu, The Master Switch

We use money every single moment of our lives — whether we actively think about it or not. Yet very few people know the history of money in human society, and how the global money supply today is managed, moved, and yes, even manipulated, by various actors on the global stage. Money is one of the oldest industries, and in most of the history of civilizations, money has been a tool of political, social, and economic control — centralized in the hands of few for the control of many.

Money has always been framed as a public good, one that must be stewarded by governments, when in fact, it is a private enterprise like any other which is fueled by personal agendas, regulation, and the quest for geopolitical hegemony. I have been reading and re-reading Tim Wu’s spectacular book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. In this book, the author focuses on cycles of control v. open innovation in information technology, analyzing the history of telephony, film, and the internet. What I realized while reading it is that digital currencies are also a form of information technology. Wu analyzes history and provides a compelling case for information industries, once centralized, becoming an easy target for limiting speech and expression. If we think about the role money plays in our society, it is simply another form of information exchange, but one that plays a fundamentally transformative role in the evolution of human society and the fabric of human civilization.

Below are the slides I presented at the MIT Media Lab for the course I helped create, called Future of Commerce, and which we’ve since turned into an online course which has reached over 1,000 students around the world. At Digital Currency Group, we’ve decided that making investment decisions isn’t enough to grow bitcoin and blockchain technology. We view our role as much bigger — to communicate, advocate, and build support around this new, disruptive industry. As Director of Development, it is my role, together with our entire team and extended network, to accelerate the development of the bitcoin and blockchain industry.

Digital currencies present a chance for money to truly become information, and for the creation of a global financial system that is truly frictionless, open, and uncensored — the vision we once had for the internet. This is why I work in bitcoin, and why I am so passionate about shaping the narrative around bitcoin and digital currencies, and working with DCG’s 70+ portfolio companies and hundreds of partners around the globe to build resilient, secure financial infrastructure that facilitates new forms of commerce that have never been possible before.

It will be investors, as much as inventors, who decide what our future will look like.