Can you imagine a world without borders?
When I was recently travelling in Asia I had no visa issues — I was able to visit Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore without any pre-made paperwork. However, that was not the case for a young gentleman, who I met in the Ngurah Rai airport on Bali.
Waiting at the airport I heard a person sitting next to me talking Russian to himself. He was actually doing a video diary entry using his GoPro, which was quite unusual, but kind of cool at the same time. I started talking to him, found out that he has been travelling around the world for the last couple of years (also pretty awesome) and fortunately our interests matched quite well. We decided to explore Singapore (where we were flying next) together. Now, fast-forward a couple of hours and while waiting for him outside the airport he messages me that he was banned entry to the country and has to fly back.
Now, imagine this was you. A whole trip planned long ahead and it all blows up because you happen to be a citizen of the wrong nation.
What is Donald Trump’s favourite nation? Discrimination.
And this is exactly what we are seeing here (bad jokes aside). Think about it. A person should not be judged upon their race, the color of their skin, their sex, disabilities etc. All the traits that we are born with and we cannot change about ourselves. Now, let’s take a look at citizenship. When you are born on the soil of US for example you are automatically a citizen of US. Did you get to decide on the location where you were born? I certainly did not. You would have been automatically a citizen and there would have been not a single thing you could have done about it. Fast-forward twenty years, you want to go travel to Russia for example and it is ridiculously complicated — simply because you are a citizen of a certain nation.
So even though we cannot really choose our citizenship, we are constantly being discriminated based on that trait. It might have not been a big problem 100 years ago, but in 2016 where more and more people are “citizens of the world” and follow a vagabonding lifestyle it is becoming a big problem. Yes, currently such a lifestyle is practiced by a small minority such as the Digital Nomads, but more and more families are also changing their living habits and it is clear that as time goes on and travelling becomes even cheaper and more widespread the problem will keep on escalating.
Okay, people are being discriminated for having a certain citizenship, but what about companies? It turns out that many companies are actually in an even more absurd situation. What do I mean by that?
If we look at the most successful companies started in the last twenty years or so there is one quite distinguishable trait. Namely, most of them are software companies and and the majority of them are providing a software service available globally. Now, let’s take Google for example. It was started in US, but despite that their main branch is officially registered in Ireland. The same goes for Apple and many other huge software companies. Are they all looking for Irish luck? They certainly cannot like potatoes that much.
Who are we kidding? Ireland is a tax haven and it makes a lot of sense to keep your capital there.
Is this a normal situation? Of course not.
Nowadays, when a lot of companies provide their services worldwide, have their infrastructure in the cloud and hire remote employees all over the world, it just does not make sense to have a company registered in one country. Since the choice is arbitrary anyway, it is obvious, that for tax purposes you can just find the “best” country to tick the official box.
Business should not be about ticking boxes.
So what should be done about all that?
Clearly the United Nations are anything but united. And other big unions such as the European Union have a track record of being as inefficient as one can possibly imagine. As centralized entities seem to function quite badly there must be a better option.
Imagine a decentralized digital entity, where individuals and companies can register as “World citizens” and then be identified by anyone having access to the collective database. I want to find out who you are and if I can trust you and the only thing I would have to do for that is a lookup with a personal ID that you would have to give me. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
Real life however is not that rosy and I really do not know whether such a global blockchain will ever be a reality. But I do have hope. And if enough of us have hope and belief then amazing things can happen.
Let us believe together!