Global Blockchain Summit
Denver on April 19-20, 2018
The birth of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s gave rise to visions of a flat uncentralized world in which information and power were universally and equitably distributed and individuals could interact with one another on equal terms with giant corporations. A quarter century later, we find the entire world dominated by a handful of technology companies with more concentrated power and wealth than any others in history. Now blockchain has emerged with the power to change that. Will it finally lead to a world in which the individual reigns supreme or will it give rise to new centers of even more concentrated power?
This was a central question debated at the Global Blockchain Summit in Denver on April 19-20, 2018 in which WAAS was invited to share the findings of its research on Human-Centered Economic Theory and the potential for rapid global social transformation. The summit featured some of the world’s most prominent distributed ledger experts as well as blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. Discussion focused on how to harness the new technology to maximize human welfare and well-being through diversity, inclusivity, and equality. It included noteworthy contributions by women from business and academia.
Blockchain is a direct, peer-to-peer transaction system, distributed ledger technology, designed for decentralization, democratization and transparency. It is already transforming supply chain, legal services, government operations and voting systems, insurance business, healthcare and more.
Our times of planetary crises and grand transition are demanding the designing of the new social architecture – the paradigm change and a whole system re-design. What are the implications of blockchain and cryptocurrency for the whole system design? There are systemic implications of blockchain for energy, security, governance, health, food and water security and education. So far, we have had to rely on a centralized entity, such as national government, bank, media company to establish trust and agreement for collective socio-economic relationships and interactions. Blockchain is creating a digital web that connects collective intelligence and activates direct collaboration of collective network. It provides organizational structure for socio-economic change – it eliminates middleman, reduces operating cost, lowers risks, increases security and speed, eliminates need to sit on inventory, ends delayed payment, frees up capital, generates more creative financing, builds new lines of businesses and unleashes creativity in general.
Just Imagine: A world in which every individual possesses their own unique identifier that is not dependent on any national agency for validation. A time when the title record of all property transactions is transparently verifiable every moment. A global social network site the size of Facebook but without the need for a centralizing agency that owns and controls all the personal information on it. Imagine universal transportation and accommodation systems like Uber and AirBnB that are owned and operated by the participating individuals rather than huge corporations. A world in which all international financial transactions can be carried out instantly and almost free of charge without dependent on the fluctuating rates of national currencies. Monetary systems specially designed to promote investments in education, healthcare, the other Sustainable Development Goals, or to track transparently all election expenditures so as to severely limit the impact of private money on election outcomes. These are just of few of the possibilities explored at the conference now made practical by the emergence of blockchain and the cryptocurrencies based on blockchain technology.
The Global Blockchain Summit inaugurated the Global Women in Blockchain (GWB), an international organization designed to activate and accelerate women’s leadership in the education, development and promotion of blockchain technologies. Special guest of the Global Women in Blockchain was Prof. Youngsook Park, renowned futurist, who led South Korean representation as the 3rd global hotspot for cryptocurrency use and exchange. Economist Navroop Sahdev describe the potential application of cryptocurrencies as a effective means for crowdsourcing new business ventures without dependence on traditional financial institutions.
Mila Popovich WAAS Fellow and a leader in GWB, pointed out that the technology of the future is the one that can create conditions for every individual to design their own destiny in the greater economy of life. In that sense, it is crucial that womankind, their financial literacy and well-being be supported and encouraged via the new technologies, which would, in turn, ensure the health and robustness of the whole new financial ecosystem. Popovich observed that without such inclusive and ethical leadership at this formative stage of blockchain, we are running the risk of having old systems of inequality made more efficient rather than seeing the technology applied for transformative social good. She forewarned that the bubbling of cryptocurrencies can lead to a bust if those currencies are programmed by the old mindset. The real value and longevity of cryptocurrencies can only be ensured by them being driven by social incentives.
WAAS CEO Garry Jacobs focused on the nature of money as a networking tool designed to promote economic relationships and wealth creation. Describing the current preoccupation with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a speculative bubble, he focused on their enormous potential for more rapid and equitable global economic development, employment generation, individual freedom, transparent democratic governance, and the redistribution of social power to the individual citizen. Among the many creative applications discussed was the proposal fo WAAS Trustee Stefan Brunnhuber to create special purpose cryptocurrency to fund global implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which was recently presented at the UN in Geneva.
Participants were unanimous in agreeing that we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to shape the course of global developments that the adoption of these new technologies brings. They were meant for positive social change and what is urgently needed is to have global technological and ethical standards established at their formative stage. With its ethical leadership, World Academy could play a significant role in steering the course of those developments.