Why the world needs programmable money

By Jack Nikogosian, CEO, Aryze

Whether you are an advocate of cryptocurrencies or not, the way money exists in its current format is going to change drastically and the next wave of legal tender will likely accelerate innovation in ways that might strain the imagination.

It’s interesting to look back over the past couple of years and consider how far we have come. Drawing from my own experiences, back when I was head of Coinify’s Innovation Lab, we had the amazing opportunity to experiment with all sorts of payment-related innovations. The whole idea was to figure out what we could do with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and how they could be used to create a positive impact for as many people as possible.

The project that stands out the most was related to powering solar cells in Kenya, remotely, through cryptocurrency payments. It simply was too expensive and inefficient to make donations to a solar cell in Africa, from Denmark, due to all the intermediaries. On top of that, fiat money is still analog, despite modern banking infrastructure being mostly digital. I could not donate $10 to a family in Africa, specifically to turn their lights on and power their refrigerator. However, with Bitcoin, all of a sudden this was possible.

The brilliant thing about most cryptocurrencies is that they are programmable. By this I mean that there are smart contracts that can be coded directly into a transaction. When I transferred a fraction of a Bitcoin to a digital wallet implanted in a solar cell in Africa, we could implement a line of code that said: “when amount is transferred, the cell turns on.” It’s a simple matter of saying “IF this, THEN that,” – something made very simple to use by the guys at the aptly named IFTTT.

However, this cannot be done with “real” money (US dollars, euros, etc). Money, the way we know it, is bound up in a complex financial infrastructure that relies on debt and obligations that eventually causes value itself to become an abstract concept. The ideal and logical next step is to create a true digital representation of cash, so there is no question about the actual value. A dollar – is a dollar – is a dollar… This is something I see as a multi-trillion dollar opportunity in the years to come.

With blockchain technology not only do we have a decentralized distribution of power and governance in a transactional database, we also have the benefit of programmability. This is why I find cryptocurrencies so fascinating. I believe with strong conviction that cryptocurrencies will be the fuel for the future economy. Digital assets that can make certain actions and solutions streamlined and “smarter”.

Many industries will be affected by this change, and I certainly feel it would be for the better. Finding the middle ground between cryptocurrency and fiat money would allow us to see mass adoption, as the learning curve for big businesses and mainstream audiences would be smaller. One could have a truly transparent monetization of products and services, without having to go through banking and compliance middlemen, but simply have code that executes upon certain conditions. Programmable money is the next step in a rapidly digitalizing world – all we need now is to give money a much-needed facelift.

Jack Nikogosian is an award-winning Danish blockchain expert with a vast knowledge of the cryptocurrency space. In 2015 he became internationally known as Bitcoin Jack after paying solely with Bitcoin for an entire month. With his outgoing personality and quick thinking, he delivers an inspiring stage presence and is an international speaker.

Professionally, he has worked with major players in the Danish crypto/payments arena. With a great insight in terms of trends within cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, digital payments and tokenization Jack has the unique skill of being able to combine new technologies.

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