The Future of money

The special report has a number of short articles on different techno-modern twists in the ubiquitous entity we call money.

Money is an odd beast. For most of my life – rich or poor – I’ve paid little attention to money. If I had it, well, that was fine. If not, all I needed was a roof over my head (or maybe a tent), a few meals a day, and some not-too-ratty clothes. But money matters. It can rip a family apart, turn friends into enemies (or vice-versa), make the difference between a life-saving trip to the doctor, or just let you go out to dinner.

And it’s been changing for some time now. Credit cards, ATM machines, PayPal, crowdfunding, microlending, BitCoin, e-wallets, algorithmic stock trades, derivatives – in some ways the very concept and practice of having and using money has morphed into entirely new forms. There is much more than just paper and gold (or even electrons). We’re in a time when the use, ownership, and value of money is shapeshifting – Proteus on steroids.

This abstraction called money is worth paying attention to – even the changes that have happened in recent years have shredded entire industries and professions, such as travel, publishing, music, telephone, banking, and newspapers. Everyone (except the rich) works for a living; what happens with money matters. And even the rich aren’t safe from these groundswells, since money is now traded by bots with a mind of their own.

Experiments are going on across the world with the world of money in both technical and non-technical ways. For every Kiva and Kickstarter, there’s Black Rock gifting, or Euro smoothing of national currencies. They all work; they all have problems. We are living through a Cambrian explosion of economies – macro, micro, and everything in between.

We won’t even mention biometrics, quantum cash, Lindens, and the like…

Reference: IEEE Spectrum


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