Your Child Will Not Need Money

Ok, that isn’t entirely true. Of course your child will need “money.”  Just not the kind of money you’re used to.

And the system of money your child will use is emerging rapidly (like, hourly), and it will be important that you, as their guardian and partner in life, ramp up your knowledge of that system so that you can support their choices and opportunities within it.

By now, you certainly have heard of Bitcoin.  Chances are you don’t understand it one “bit” and that would put you in the company of most other people.  Bitcoin’s complexity is evidenced by the volumes of YouTube videos attempting to explain it. I have curated my favorites here.

Bitcoin is not only an early example of the type of currency your child will use (cryptocurrency), but it is an early example of the type of system that your child will experience in almost every aspect of life.  Bitcoin is like an app. There are numerous apps like it (more than 700 at the time of this post), and there are exponentially more with every day that passes.  Blockchain is the system or architecture in which apps like Bitcoin run.  Blockchain is more than a system.  It’s a new way of thinking about value and the exchange of value that will define a key difference between your world and that of your child’s.

“A recent World Economic Forum report predicts that by 2025 10% of GDP will be stored on blockchains or blockchain-related technology.” according to this Forbes article.

Many feel that this prediction is timid. If I were you, I would brace myself for a much more rapid transition for yourself personally and (if you are reading this as I publish it) as the parent of a child who will be racing toward early adulthood by 2025.

In an earlier blog post, I addressed the way in which we, as parents of digital natives, must adapt to a faster pace of innovation than our parents had to face.  This is an example where we really must adapt quickly, but at the same time, we must also allow ourselves to think differently.

In attempting to close the gap between your world and your child’s, I would encourage you not to reference familiar models, because today’s innovations are largely based on entirely new models of living, communicating, and organizing.  There just aren’t many reference points from our world. It’s a complete paradigm shift.

Most of the systems you and I experienced up until now were highly centralized. Our schooling, workplace, social network and yes, our money…centralized.  But your child’s experience will be defined by decentralized systems, webs, networks that spread control and orientation around.  If you were raised in centralized systems, you are likely to feel a tad queazy in those that are decentralized.  So don’t be surprised if your instinct is to resist.  But with or without you, decentralization is going to rule the day.

In a separate post, I will address how decentralization will effect your child’s school and work experiences.  Here we are focused on money or what is being called “the value revolution”.

Cryptocurrencies will do for money what the Internet did for communication.  Before the Internet, we had to pay someone or get permission to broadcast a message.  The Internet has allowed us to do that freely.  Cryptocurrency will remove the “broker” from the financial process.  This, of course, will rock the foundations of the centralized system and everyone who believes in it.

In addition, cryptocurrencies will allow numerous currencies to exist across borders, overlapping, perhaps interfacing, tied to massive as well as niche markets.  This means that your child will experience hundreds of currencies throughout his or her lifetime.  The idea of a currency tied to a geopolitical border will fade. Value will increasingly be tied to your child’s own networks and activities.

A pioneer and vocal proponent of cryptocurrency is Galia Ben-Artzi, co-founder of Bancor, an absolutely brilliant “ahead of its time” innovation that will make your child’s world of multiple currencies more fluid.  Galia’s recent TedxTalk is in this blog’s video archive and in my YouTube library.  Her inspiring vision of the future will give you goosebumps.
A few years ago, Ben-Artzi collaborated in the creation of a new blockchain currency that serves as a good example of what your child will experience.  It’s called Lev Market, and it allows mothers to purchase goods from one another in a trusted market place through “heart” currency. Within a year, there was more than $10 million in this community, as moms traded services such as baking cakes, taking lessons, buying goods and volunteering in schools – “all in hearts.”  (from this article).
Here is a video of a mom who participates in Lev Market explaining her value exchange.
Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?  That’s because it is.  And at the same time, blockchain is a massive and pervasive concept that will touch every element of your child’s life.  So we will pause for now and come back to blockchain in a few other contexts later on to better illustrate its impact.
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