Friday, August 26, 2016

Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, and the end of Nation States?

I recently had a conversation with someone who thinks that Blockchains have the power to eliminate the need for the Federal Reserve. She acknowledged that she is of the "Ron Paul" mentality when it comes to economics, so she has a philosophical angle behind her position.

However, the rise of such powerful disruptors/disintermediators does beg the question:

In an age of increasing decentralization, what is the need and/or what will happen to such august centralized institutions as the Federal Reserve and other central banks?

A recent WSJ op-ed argued somewhat persuasively that the Fed needs new thinking.

Tangentially related, a great article in New Scientist asked "End of nations: is there an alternative to countries?"

Even asking these questions brought me back to the dawn of the social media age where I started to think about Marketing in a world where you went from a few channels to a billion.

You see, we all came of age in a world of large organizations that were built for scale.  Global brands that were coordinated across teams, functions, divisions, and silos.  It was this structural challenge that gave rise to the need for Sprinklr, a solution for adapting the new world of billions of channels to the "old world" of large brands.

While governments may not have been disrupted as much by social media, (as a Canadian, it's not like you can so easily choose a competing government and still live in Toronto, yet--see Government as a Service), communicating with citizens while important isn't necessarily core to governmental functions (though we may wish otherwise).

Money, however, is.

For a GREAT history of money and its role, I recommended Niall Ferguson's book.

So while Facebook/social media definitely challenges government on things like transparency and communication and elections, it doesn't rip at the fabric of government the way an alternative, practical (as opposed to gold, for example), digital, transportable, secure, and possibly anonymous store of value such as a cryptocurreny does.

Just because we were born into an era of big brands that control advertising doesn't mean it's always been that way or that it always will be that way.

And just because we were born into an era of big nation-states doesn't mean that it has always been that way or that it always will be that way.
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