What does blockchain have to do with the future of work?
By Emily on The Capital
Blockchain is not just a refresh of technology but an innovative and philosophical change in how our global communities and businesses work together for a better future that is more significant than ourselves.
The global common language everyone understands is money in exchange for goods or services. Our understanding of money and how it is created and exchanged has started to transform. This change powered by blockchain technology is a mind-blowing transformation of our current financial systems.
The reimagination of money and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a seemingly permanent revolution, has also changed our perception of wealth. And is a powerful and foundational change that has the potential to innovative new economical solutions to transition us all into a more inclusive future for all global citizens.
I hope in the decades to come our industry holds to the ethos of economic inclusivity for all.
Imagine a world soon where currencies as we know them no longer exist. We have adopted cryptocurrencies. All exchanges of value are done digitally online without the need for several intermediaries to complete a financial transaction and, above all, done with trust and security built into the core.
Still, this economic transformation comes with great responsibility. Governments and the innovative blockchain solutions need to work together to ensure this momentum for change is not lost in outdated regulations. These regulations served us in the last century but do not work for the advances in technology we have today.
“The blockchain industry and regulators need to continue a healthy dialogue for the U.S. to truly become the global and responsible leader in blockchain innovation” CEO, Algorand
In the future, we will no longer think of sending euros or exchanging our travel money to local currency. The exchange of value — intangible and tangible — online will be more straightforward, cheaper, and instant. This is a key change for financial inclusion when sending money home to other countries, a process that can currently take up to five days and uses a thick middle-layer of financial processes.
According to the World Bank, in 2018, overall global remittance grew 10% to US$689 billion. This cost could significantly reduce by using blockchain technology.
Now, imagine the possibilities for all and the real achievement of global prosperity for all when we unlock the value currently trapped by our legacy financial operating systems.
Blockchain a complex concept
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are a concept that challenges us all as it is radical and upends current business models and our financial payment systems.
Still, it is how we are progressing to a global intangible-based economy — reimagining and empowering our future as individuals and businesses alike.
The exchange of value and money in the future will not look like it does now in 2020. This driver for such radical change is fuelled by mistrust in central intermediaries and a desire for greater transparency and solving real-world problems — like climate change.
However, it is worth noting blockchain is not always an answer to the business problem you face today. It is part of your technology toolkit along with artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing, Internet of Things, and robotics.
A labor-less future
In the future, it is highly likely we will have a labor-less economy fuelled by automation and robotics; how will we adjust to these irreversible advances in technology?
The momentum for transformation began in 2008 with the innovation of bitcoin and the emergence of how we reimagine the exchange value in a digital world by its inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.
In the past ten years, we have seen a convergence of advances in technology that have enabled the current successful drive towards blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation.
An example of this is the development of smartphone technology, which has driven mobile-first generations. Apple only launched its first iPhone in 2007. How could we have smartphone cryptocurrency wallets or successful challenger banks in the age before smartphone technology? With 5G mobile networking on the horizon, this new technology could help speed up blockchain mass adoption as they are powerful allies that could enable futuristic concepts such as automatic money management.
Unique blockchain benefits
Two of the exclusive benefits blockchain can provide is that unlike centralized platforms;
1. Blockchain has unparalleled security built into the core, and
2. It can also enable a personal data stewardship model — you own your data-self
Blockchain is the foundational technology for the emerging intangibles-economy. Start-ups and big players such as JP Morgan, HSBC, Amazon, Facebook, and National Banks are all researching and investing in the potential of blockchain technology. Blockchain is here to stay and revolutionize how we work and redefine money.
Blockchain mass adoption
For blockchain to have the same mass adoption on par with current global platforms, the technology needs to mature to offer equal ease of use as the platforms we currently love to hate.
As humans, we generally take comfort and ease over complexity. Convenience is part of our human DNA as an innate survival mechanism by which we conserve energy. Moving platforms, deleting accounts all require enormous effort. And it is unlikely ever to remove all your online personas regardless of the goodwill in EU regulations.
To encourage users to move away from centralized platforms and use blockchain applications as a first choice. The blockchain products developed need to solve real-world problems affecting daily life and have user-friendly and accessible experiences for everyone.
Smart contracts the ultimate efficiency in financial systems
An example of this evolution is the ability to enable machine to machine payments powered by blockchain applications like Algorand’s stateless smart contracts.
Smart contract functionality enables exciting new ways to address existing inefficient and complex financial transactions.
In today’s economy, there is a range of existing transactions that rely on intermediaries to provide trust and execution. The use of intermediaries can lead to unnecessary delays and costs in the delivery to the consumer.
Examples of these include:
- Escrow accounts
- Loan payments
- Collateralized obligations
Smart contracts are the ultimate advancement of our financial systems as they power trustless execution and completion of financial transactions without human intervention.
Blockchain in the real-world
How does blockchain technology translate in the real-world? Did you know that when you pay for your morning coffee using your credit or debit card — that payment goes through about five-seven intermediaries.
A financial system based on a thick middle layer of companies is not modern, efficient, cost-effective, or digitally safe.
Now imagine a world of exclusive peer-to-peer payments with zero or fewer intermediaries. It is only now our financial payments systems and your data are more secure due to fewer points of failure for potential malicious attacks.
I think it is clear that blockchain and decentralized applications will play a fundamental role in how we earn a living in the future. The blockchain solutions we have now in 2020, nearly a decade after the invention of bitcoin, have done away with the energy-intensive argument against mass adoption. These new blockchain solutions use innovative and revolutionary methods to reach block consensus (or in other words the final and binding confirmation of a transaction on the blockchain) we should now move forward and work together to ensure blockchain continues to be robust, user-centric and above all more inclusive.
If you are interested in more blockchain insights check out my other articles or follow me on Twitter.