“A lot has changed in the past three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things …the economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century. The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” — Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
In Gene Roddenberry’s future, we rise above our urges for riches and concentrate on more noble goals beyond money, to create a world without war, hunger, disease, and poverty.
Our society is already making leaps and bounds toward its digital future, pushed in part by the pandemic and lockdowns. Many people no longer go out to have fun, but instead, choose to watch Netflix and shop on Amazon.
Money is digital and cash is disappearing. Whether we are talking about using banking apps to send money or debit/credit card to pay for things, we no longer use cash.
Financial technology has changed financial services.
Banks will always be around, but they will become “curators.” Banks will connect us with reputable, external technology startups that will provide us with the services. The battle for the customer will be about the customer experience.
Everything has become a subscription.
Subscription services have exploded over the last decade, automatically charging the customer’s debit or credit card for services delivered directly to the end-user. More than 42% of customers have forgotten they were still being charged for subscription services or what the cost is.
People don’t think about money anymore unless they really have to.
When we paid for things in cash and had to count out the money and we were more conscious of what things cost and how much money we had in our wallets.
Digital networks are forming right now, some without centralized governance, that allows us to exchange value. A dual system is emerging. The first is familiar, with money handled by the government. The second is new, with money managed by governance. Today we have decentralized cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, and centralized bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
In a physical world, we had centralized authorities – governments and banks, to issue and control money. The problem is that these structures were there to control our behaviors, transactions, and thinking.
In a digital decentralized world, without borders and centralized control, money is issued and controlled by some kind of decentralized governance. The problem we’ve been trying to figure out is how to build structures and systems everything in a trusted and decentralized way.
People love cryptocurrencies because they have the power to control the network.
But the recent crypto meltdown brings again to the surface questions about the best way to govern these networks. We are in a battle between the old and new, centralized versus decentralized.
In the next step in our evolution, we will move to a global currency but it remains to be seen which path we follow: one that we already know, fiat currency, or one that is developing and unknown, digital currency. Personally, I think that the last thing we want is government control over value exchange, but then again maybe we’ll end up having both.
Today we can trade and transact from anywhere as long as we’re connected. One way or another our money has already become like “credits” in the cloud.
In the future money might not be as it is today, but it will be some kind of value that we use via mobile devices to trade for things, in connected global networks, and be recorded on a public ledger.