Sheila Warren, Head of Blockchain, Data, and Digital Assets at the World Economic Forum (WEF), an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business leaders of society to shape global agendas, says that she’s “quite bullish” about blockchain and its future impact.
Warren, a Harvard University and Law School (J.D.) graduate, believes that more businesses and organizations will begin using blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) to streamline their operations.
“Over the next decade or so, I think that many systems that hook into decentralized tech stacks and systems will actually have the connection into a blockchain. But I also think that we will stop talking about blockchain in the world and society. It will be taken for granted as almost an invisible layer of technology that enables us to connect more powerfully with each other. I think we will see a fundamental shift in intermediaries or middlemen and the business models around such businesses…that a blockchain will support, although it won’t be the only reason that we see some of the systems begin to change….”
“This pandemic, for example, highlighted the inequality in society. Inequality we all were aware of, which we can no longer ignore. And certainly, the virus has shown us that if any one of us are vulnerable or ill, that it can spread very quickly to all parts of the population…and truly [nobody] is immune and [nobody] can escape.”
Going on to comment on virtual assets, Warren remarked:
“Digital currencies are something I feel very strongly positively about. There is a perception that cryptocurrency and I’ll specifically say Bitcoin (BTC) is something that is a danger to society, that it is used by criminals to conduct illicit activities…and there’s no question that that is true, however, it is a very small piece of the overall picture. What cryptocurrencies do is enable peer to peer engagement around money. Just like the Internet enabled us to share content very quickly with people all over the world, seamlessly, frictionlessly, and at a fraction of the cost … the same thing can be true of money and you can imagine the world in which we could engage in a direct seamless transaction with any individual with a digital wallet, anywhere in the world, and at any point in time… and what that might empower…”
As covered recently, Fintech Ripple is focused on making digital payments as easy as sending emails with Pay ID. Ripple has helped develop a digital asset called XRP to settle transactions between individuals and organizations throughout the world.
Peer to peer Bitcoin exchanges like LocalBitcoins and Paxful have also made it easier for individuals and businesses across the globe to trade digital currencies by simply creating digital wallet accounts.
“[Another thing] … people are excited about is the concept of micropayments…right now, it’s just inefficient to send pennies to anyone. It doesn’t really make sense but imagine if you could do that for free. Those pennies could quickly add up….I also think digital currency is going to change what we think about intergenerational wealth transfer. There’s no question that those who are coming of age today and entering the job market have very different needs than I had when I first entered the job market and joined Wall Street.”
Warren further noted:
“There’s much more uncertainty. There’s much more anxiety. And, students [may have a lot of debt.] Digital currencies can provide a new investment vehicle for those who are entering the next phase of life, who are transitioning from being young adults to being householders…We (at the WEF) think we are going to be seeing new ways of harnessing and creating wealth that digital currencies, and cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology lead and drive.”
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