7 Wild Scenarios for the Future of Money


Some predictions about the future of cash are cautious, smart, sober and grounded. These should not. To open our minds as to what the future may carry, we chucked the ordinary ideas like “most likely” or “bet on this.” Instead we puzzled, what are some darkish horse eventualities that possibly, simply possibly, may revolutionize the manner we take into consideration cash?

Here the focus is extra on enjoyable than useful, extra potential than possible. Then once more, we now dwell in a world the place cartoon apes promote for $2.6 million, memes about canine are price billions, and a sovereign nation accepts bitcoin as authorized tender.

This article is an element of Future of Money Week, a sequence exploring the assorted (and generally bizarre) methods worth will transfer in the future.

1. Risk turns into tokenized

What if we may tokenize danger? If we do that in a intelligent manner, we may scale back the total danger in the system and keep away from meltdowns like the monetary disaster of 2008, says Ashleigh Schap, a decentralized finance (DeFi) investor and adviser at Uniswap, a decentralized buying and selling platform.

Here’s how to consider it. Imagine in the event you, as a person, have tokens that signify every of your dangers and liabilities. A token for your automotive mortgage. A token for your house mortgage. A token for your leveraged margin buying and selling account. If you roll up all of your particular person danger tokens, that may offer you a way of your complete danger.

Now zoom out the lens. Imagine aggregating all of the danger tokens by every particular person in the group, after which a complete trade, and even the complete economic system. Because these tokens are all sensible contracts – programmable cash – this may allow you to “build risk into the system in a more fundamental way,” says Schap.

She contrasts this to the constraints of conventional finance, most famously in the collapse of 2008, the place every firm had its personal siloed view of danger however they lacked a holistic image of the total danger to the system. By tokenizing danger? You can snap all the puzzle items collectively, and “smart contracts can basically assess the entire picture.”

Read extra: The Future of Money: 20 Predictions

2. Cars spend cash and purchase their very own insurance coverage

Way again in February of this yr, Elizabeth Stark, head of Lightning Labs, gave me this prediction: “Machines will pay machines, natively, instantly … Teslas will pay for charging with Lightning!”

That’s only one instance. The potentialities are limitless. “Imagine a machine at a factory, if it runs out of ink, it can order more,” says Schap. She then provides a spicier state of affairs. “Maybe you have a car or a truck that’s able to buy its own insurance,” she says. Perhaps the automotive has the capability to evaluate danger and make sensible selections. “If it’s raining, it buys a little more insurance,” says Schap.

She notes that in our present world, everytime you purchase automotive insurance coverage, “you’re paying for the insurance every day, even when you’re not driving the car.” You have a busy life. You don’t have time to take care of insurance coverage corporations each month, a lot much less day-after-day. But think about if the automotive may continuously survey the dangers – climate, visitors situations, even neighborhood – and make fixed tweaks to your insurance coverage? (Just earlier than it turns into absolutely sentient and dominates the world.)

3. You can pay for issues with out desirous about it in any respect

This might be right here before you assume. A pair of weeks in the past, I went to a Denver Broncos soccer recreation. The stadium had a beer stand that appears teleported from the future: First you scan your bank card, you then undergo a turnstile to enter a room full of coolers. You take no matter beer you need, you then go away. No scanning of UPC codes. No interacting with any people. As the attendant defined to me, an elaborate community of cameras and GPS micro-sensors ensures that you’re charged for the right quantity of beers.

Tarun Chitra, CEO and co-founder of Gauntlet and General Partner at Robot Ventures, imagines a purchasing expertise like this in the future however with out bank cards, wallets and even telephones. It will probably be pushed by cryptocurrency and stablecoins – not a centralized participant like Amazon – and in some way it protects privateness. “You go pick up your items and walk out,” says Chitra. You have an settlement with the grocery retailer, for instance, the place “you can automatically charge me if it’s less than $100.”

Read extra: The Future of Money: A History – Dan Jeffries

4. The value of your dinner will probably be in sats

The concept of “buying a coffee with bitcoin” is now one thing of a punchline, at the least in developed economies like the United States. But it is going to occur finally, says Cory Klippsten, founder of Swan Bitcoin (and writer of an op-ed for this “Future of Money” sequence). “The medium of exchange for bitcoin will not take off,” says Klippsten, “until a lot of people hold the majority of their net worth in bitcoin.” His logic? It is senseless to spend your bitcoin “unless you have nothing else to spend.” And he thinks this state of affairs is inevitable.

“Nobody wants to spend bitcoin. It’s the best risk-to-reward bet in history,” says Klippsten. And but. As a bit of foreshadowing for what the mainstream world may appear like, he factors to the precedent of OG bitcoiners who’ve the majority of their property in BTC. They obtained wealthy off bitcoin. They HODLed their bitcoin. But in some unspecified time in the future, inevitably, when push involves shove, they should spend at the least some of their BTC to do issues like purchase a automotive or a yacht.

Klippsten predicts that bitcoin as a retailer of worth will turn out to be so widespread, and so ubiquitous, that finally folks might want to spend their property. He imagines a chart with two “S curves”: one for the adoption of bitcoin as a retailer of worth after which one with bitcoin as medium of alternate. (S curve: It begins out gradual and flat, then dramatically shoots up, then goes flat once more.) “We’re still on the flat part of the S curve for store of value,” he says, and when that skyrockets, folks will then jump over to the medium of alternate S curve. He scribbles out a fast drawing on our name, and actually two hours after we spoke, he formalized the graphic and tweeted the following:

The upshot of all this? “By 2035, most goods and services in most places in the world will be denominated in Satoshis,” says Klippsten. He clarifies that the greenback and different fiat currencies will nonetheless probably exist, which signifies that you may see a number of costs on gadgets, similar to you do at worldwide airports. The implication, of course, is that the value of BTC would soar in worth. Klippsten’s guess: “The chance of bitcoin being less than $1 million in nine years is infinitesimally small.”

5. Tokens make money go away

First, think about a world the place tokens are ubiquitous. As Jeff Dorman, chief funding officer at Arca, envisions in CoinDesk’s 20 Predictions, “I believe every company in the world will have a token in its capital structure in the next five-to-ten years.” These tokens are hybrids. They’re half quasi-equity, half loyalty program, they usually’ll develop in worth if the firm turns into extra helpful.

Then he takes the logic one step additional. “We’ll also begin to see the digitization of illiquid real-world assets, like your home equity, your car, and your jewelry, as well as tokens that represent future liabilities like university tuition tokens and health care tokens.”

Here’s the kicker. Once each asset turns into digitized and liquid, says Dorman, “You’ll never need to own cash ever again. You’ll be able to stay 100% invested at all times, borrow against your assets as needed, and pay for common goods using your investments since they will be spendable blockchain-based assets. By bridging the gap between investment vehicle and payment vehicle, digital assets will ultimately eliminate the need for an asset that functions purely as money.”

Read extra: Who Sets the Rules of Bitcoin as Nation-States and Corps Roll In – David Z. Morris

6. Your home is a financial institution

This is an offshoot of the “cars can buy insurance” state of affairs, with a twist. If you’ve been in crypto for greater than 5 minutes, you’ve heard the phrase “be your own bank.” But Chitra wonders, what if your own home might be its personal financial institution? Or your automotive? He notes that in the crypto world, due to the magic of liquidity swimming pools in DeFi, “everyone can be a lender if they want to be.”

Not solely may everybody be a lender however doubtlessly the whole lot. “It could be the IoT [Internet of Things] device, it could be your car, whatever, it could be a building.” In immediately’s world, utilizing one thing like a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to borrow towards your constructing is a handbook, tedious, torturous course of that entails heaps of banking. “That will become almost instant,” says Chitra, “as every building can become its own bank.”

And in the true spirit of this train, Chitra lobs one other thought experiment: “The richest entity of the world becomes a broken Tesla.” The Tesla breaks, it will possibly’t work and it will possibly’t earn charges in the future the place it will get paid for being an Uber. In the course of, the Tesla in some way realizes that “the only thing it can do with its money is trade.” Because the damaged Tesla can’t do the rest, it slowly learns to commerce, it excels, it turns into an excellent dealer, and “you have this rags to riches story.”

Think that state of affairs is on the market? Buckle up for the closing one.

7. Money goes intergalactic

“Galaxy Brain” doesn’t do that state of affairs justice. It is actually inter-galaxy mind. Schap clarifies that this state of affairs is much, far, far out in the future, however thinks that “assuming we continue to develop technologically, and if we manage to become space navigators – and we’re headed in that direction – money will need to change, because time will change.” She then suggests an concept impressed by the sci-fi novel “Neptune’s Brood,” from Charles Stross.

If we’re making an attempt to journey to a different galaxy that’s 400 mild years away, as Schap explains, “money will mean something very different when you get to that very faraway place.” Decades, centuries, or millennia may go when you make the journey from Earth to a different nook of the universe. What if cash may in some way incorporate properties that may account for these dramatic adjustments in time?

“I think you’ll have difference classes of money,” says Schap. “You’ll have immediate money that you’ll spend on a planet.” Then there’s “medium-term” cash, which might be “useful somewhere in our galaxy.” The closing class is what Schap calls long-term “slow money,” which “is much more valuable, but the reason is slow is that it has to move across space and time in an interesting way.”

Coming quickly, on Coinbase.

More from Future of Money Week

Money at the Speed of Thought: How ‘Fast Money’ Will Shape the Future – David Z. Morris

Universal Stablecoins, the End of Cash and CBDCs: 5 Predictions for the Future of Money – J.P. Koning

Money for Everything: A Future Where Every Inch of Culture Is Monetized – Will Gottsegen

Miami’s Multiple Money Visions – Michael Casey

Shiba Inu: Memes Are the Future of Money – David Z. Morris

7 Wild Scenarios for the Future of Money – Jeff Wilser

The Downside of Programmable Money – Marc Hochstein

Ethereum in 2022: What Is Money in the Metaverse? – Edward Oosterbaan

The Future of Money: A History – Dan Jeffries

Who Sets the Rules of Bitcoin as Nation-States and Corps Roll In – David Z. Morris

The World Bitcoin Will Build – Cory Klippsten

The Big Miss in the Biden Administration’s Stablecoin Report – Tom Brown

The Radical Pluralism of Money – Matthew Prewitt

Aligning Social and Financial Capital to Create Better Money – Imran Ahmed

The Transhumanist Case for Crypto – Daniel Kuhn

Let the Market Come Up With Better Money Tech – Jim Dorn

Stablecoins’ Tenuous Relationships With Banks – Steven Kelly