Imagine an unfortunate case (or, maybe, a miracle for some of us) of the Futurama plot becoming a reality: someone falls into a cryogenic pod and gets frozen for, let’s say, another hundred years. What life will he wake up to? Four-legged semi-cyborgs flying between the Earth and the Moon on thermonuclear rocket-boards? Maybe. It’s difficult to predict what advancements science and technology will achieve. However, we dare forecasting the way the intergalactic financial system will work.
The world’s financial system hasn’t changed much over the last century. Elements of the financial pyramid have changed names, merged, acquired and divested their constituting parts, yet the underlying balance remained stable:
• Central Banks (or The Federal Reserve, for the US);
• Commercial banks to proceed the payments, hold deposits and provide loans;
• Stock and mercantile exchanges to trade equity, bonds, derivatives and commodities;
• Investment banks to help enterprises get out to the capital markets.
The Glass-Steagall Act was, probably, the most revolutionary change over the period, separating investment banks from their commercial brothers. Another noticeable development was the change seen in remittance services which at a certain stage had nearly monopolized all consumer and retail transactions in the world and became another backbone of an already very consolidated industry.
So, if Philip Fry was iced in 1918 would wake up today, his great-grand nephew Hubert would introduce him to the same financial world as the one he was used to. The only significant newcomer would be mobile banking apps and plastic bank cards. In large parts of Asia, mobile apps were taken to another level, integrating instant payments in stores all across China, Korea, India and more, almost entirely replacing bank accounts, while banking the unbanked, eg. through WeChat, Kakao and PayTM, most of these are chat applications.
Adara.io co-founder and CEO Olga Petrunina believes that these days the world is on verge of much more radical changes. “We're are about to witness the transformation of the current financial system from a centrally controlled structure to include a decentralized digital asset economy. Today’s setup, which is based on outdated economic models, preventing billions of people from accessing primordial financial instruments, is on the brink of extinction,” she adds.
Ideologically, one’s desire to build bigger and stronger financial institutions (in many cases, “national champions”, often nurtured by their respective governments) has been easy to explain: by growing the national banks (eg. Deutsche Bank, Sberbank and People’s Bank of China) and amassing assets inside them, countries purchased influence and power, seemingly making them more secure and stable. All of that was based on one pre-assumption: “lower risks need a stronger (or bigger) central counterparty within the system”. The bigger the bank, the more sustainable it is.
Several times history proved this theory wrong. In 1998 it became clear that the state is not better as a borrower than the private sector (Russian and South-Asian country bonds started falling like cards). The great subprime crisis proved that even if you regroup dodgy debt in tricky combinations, it remains dodgy in its core. Rotten fish is only good for Dr. Zoidberg, and decorating doesn’t make it edible.
Adara.io co-founder and COO Ira Erokhina believes that the deeply centralized current financial system, which has difficulties adapting and is vulnerable to system failures, is to be replaced with a more flexible decentralized construct. The decentralized digitized solutions are widely applicable. “Money, stocks, bonds, property rights, documents, contracts and virtually all other types of assets and interparty agreements can be safely recorded, moved and stored,” she says.
Futurama creators have pictured centralized corporations in their full monstrosity many times: there’s MomCorp, run by an evil and itch-for-lucre driven Mom, and Slurm, clearly a reference to aggressive marketing strategies of the late 20th century.
With assets digitization, the paradigm is about to change. Today you need to own shares to participate in the corporate profits, fiat currency to buy the product and there is no correlation between these two, nor is any of that correlated value captured.
Sten Laureyssens, Adara chairman and co-founder beliefs a unique method of value capture will arise and create the existence of a thousands of financial ecosystems. By merging utility tokens and security tokens into a hybrid token, futuristic token mechanisms will drive inventive novelties “Imagine owning SpaceCat Tokens: it allows you to benefit in SpaceCatCorp profits, you can buy your new SpaceCatPhone with SpaceCatTokens, and more importantly, you’re entitled to vote on the next SpaceCatPod design,” Sten explains.
With ICO/TGEs finding stronger legal foundations in more and more countries, the world seems to be moving ahead, allowing an increasing number of entrepreneurs to fund their projects via crowdsales – reaching investors from all over the globe and all over the galaxy. There are good chances that Bender’s blackjack initiative would have an ICO of its own.
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