Blockchain: The Future of Money Is Borderless, Autonomous, and Transparent

Finance and Philanthropy

As a partner in BitNation and the founder of CoinTelegraph, entrepreneur Toni Lane Casserly is starting to think about a world with more fluid borders. Whether it’s through what she terms a “civilized refugee crisis” as a result of climate change, a refugee crisis as a result of continued war and conflict, or the progression of humanity's mindset (which admittedly will take much longer, if it happens at all), a technology is being cultivated to support such a world: Blockchain.

In the future, Casserly pictures something revolutionary: a market-based government. “People should be able to opt in and to opt out of systems of governance and the ways that they are able to provide for their people. So governments are actually – what a concept – competing to be better, to take care of their people more than any other government.” In the video above, Casserly runs through the ways Blockchain and distributed ledger technology can empower individuals who are financially or politically disenfranchised, or whose identity and human rights are infringed upon by the government they were allocated upon the geographical accident of their birth. It’s a beautiful ideology at heart – whether it will fully materialize remains to be seen.

  • Transcript


Toni Lane Casserly: We live in a distributed Pangaea. I mean we're all one continent once and what is a border? A border is like someone walking into your house with a can of gas and a gun and setting the can of gas down and looking at you and saying this is my house. And you're like what? Me and my indigenous family have lived here for centuries, like this is our house and colonialism says no, this is my house and if you don't want to go and like warship our deities and all these things then like you have options. And one is the gun, which could be for you, or the other is kick over the can of gas. I can just burn this down and you would have nothing left and then it would be much easier for it to be mine. And I have no capital issues rebuilding it after I destroy it. That's how we created borders. What?

What kind of a world do we live in where that's acceptable? And that still acceptable all over the world today, it's just a generally not as public. But it's nuts. And do I think that we will live in a fully borderless world? That's going to take a lot of change or a lot of time and we'll see what happens with the effects of climate change, which could fundamentally have some massive impacts as far as creating what I would call a civilized refugee crisis. But the way that we're starting to think about living in a borderless world is actually through one of my technologies. And it is founded by Suzanne Tempelhof and I'm a partner in the company it's called Bitnation. And Bitnation is essentially the idea of Facebook for governance or DIY government. And we start out creating a borderless society by actually working on a human rights platform for people who have been disenfranchised. So we use blockchain technology to give refugees a global identity, a one-world citizenship.

And we also do all of the E-identity for the government of Estonia. So we work within systems of government who are interested in using these technologies but in a way that fundamentally empowers every person on earth to exist to have the right to live, to exist and to be and to be recognized. So that's how we're starting this world that has the potential to at least for the time being have more fluid borders. And in the future I personally believe that the idea of government should be market based. People should be able to opt in and to opt out of systems of governance in the ways that they are able to provide for their people. So governments are actually what a concept, competing to be better, to take care of their people more than any other government. That is so deeply humanizing and I think it's absolutely necessary if we are to live in a world that is going to have any kind of autonomous self-governing organization. So yeah, our whole world is creating new holocratic systems of government and we start by giving it to people who need it more than anyone because those people should not be forgotten.

There are so many brilliant things and incredible things that distributed ledger technology can provide for generally the benefit of our entire human race. Like allowing people who are financially disenfranchised to have access to services that they would've never of had before like owning their own land titles, owning their own identity, being able to create contracts without third party interference. And in that way there's so much magic. I mean giving people who live in economies where their currency is so over inflated, and that's just out of their hands and out of their control. If you live in Venezuela, for example, and the exchange rate and the amount of inflation is so high that a bag of flower costs $313, that kind of a technology, distributed ledger, Bitcoin, the Internet of money, that's huge for those people.

And I think the serious cons of this could be, one, that a lot of institutions who are building distributed ledger technology are building in a way that doesn't necessarily expand the way that they're looking at this technology. A lot of people they're spending like millions of dollars building massive Excel spreadsheets not actually blockchains. And I think that's a very current issue. But in the long term if we are living in a world where all of that information is transparent or public and you're never able to delete something that you do and all of that information is not owned by the system that is the technology and you can't mask your identity or have your own privacy and everything you do, every step you take is monitored and held in the hands of a public organization, that's apocalyptically threatening. And I think that we have to make sure that this technology, and honestly based on the ethic and the ideology of which the technology is invented, it's very unlikely that it's going to be able to go in that way because of the impact, the positive benefit that it's actually going to bring to people around the world.

That's genuinely scary for everyone because it's not like you can go in and one person randomly, because they have a position of power, can edit something in or out, that's not how it works. So you have to preserve the integrity of the technology, which is that blockchain technology is borderless, it is voluntary, it is decentralized and it is immutable. And in being immutable it's extremely important that the technology remains pseudo anonymous. Because let's say you're living in an area where you are under the forces of a corrupt and violent government and let's say you are doing something, you are trying to lead a liberation and if you are cataloging your information in a way that is going to be forever capable of being seen and in a way that your identity is not owned by the individual but is owned by an institution, that's terrifying. That is a dystopian future and we cannot live in that kind of a world. So with these kind of technologies you have to realize that we're just at the beginning of what is about to be this balloon and blossom. And this is why it is so important for people to begin to practice and to own their own autonomy in a fundamentally different way.

There's not just one blockchain, and this is the beauty of the blockchain ecosystem is that you have a blockchains like the Bitcoin Blockchain, which fundamentally is like the most secure – it's the original blockchain. And the Bitcoin Blockchain is particularly interesting because the creator of the Bitcoin Blockchain, who goes under the moniker Satoshi Nakamoto, is invisible. And so you have actually from within the system no general singular point of authority. You don't have a benevolent dictator in Bitcoin because the creator, understanding the value system of what he was doing, or she, removed themselves from the project and essentially became invisible to the Internet, dropped off the face of the earth. Satoshi Nakamoto has had one last little bit of communication in 2011 to tell everyone that Dorian Nakamoto, who is this innocent Japanese man that was accused of being Satoshi and all of a sudden was thrown into the media to say that Dorian Nakamoto was not actually Satoshi Nakamoto please stop harassing him people from the press.

And so that's actually the beauty of the Bitcoin Blockchain and the way that it is not only ideologically constructed in practice but in action from the founder. But the Bitcoin Blockchain isn't the only blockchain, in fact there are many blockchains and there will probably be many more blockchains. And it's a healthy robust ecosystem for a lot of these blockchains to have interoperability. For example, there is the Ethereum Blockchain. And Ethereum is primarily used for smart contracts. And you essentially have people that are capable of creating apps like in the Apple App Store, except that those apps can have their own independent crowd sale and can be independently monetized by the people who use those applications and who believe in the ideas. So essentially instead of having a big VC funding around, someone can come in and say I really think that doing a blockchain based prediction market is fascinating and it's something that has only become possible because of blockchain technology. So instead of going adventure route I'm actually going to open up this idea, this technology that I built on the Ethereum platform, which is a blockchain, to the community. And I'm going to allow the community to fund this idea with something like Either, which is the currency of Ethereum. And in doing that we not only have the money to build but people also had the ability to become monetized as they interact on our platform and our system.

And so I think the future for blockchain technology is fundamentally because you have opt in principles it's like would you, if you had the choice, would you opt in to a restricted Internet? No. And so I think that generally people are going to move toward the ideas that inherently and fundamentally give them the most opportunity and the most freedom. But in my personal opinion it's healthy to have this robust ecosystem of ideas where many people can create, and fundamentally and the true nature of this technology being a market based invention people are able to choose. They're able to choose which blockchain provides the best services for them, what matches with their ideology how they believe and how they want to carry out their life. And so fundamentally it's not necessarily - I would like to believe that the wisdom of the crowds will guide us in the right direction for this technology because what is the value of something like this if it is not for the people participating in the system?