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Tag: open source

Future Of Money Part 2

In 1801, Eli Whitney went before the US Congress with 10 working muskets. He proceeded to disassemble each of them, mix and scramble all the parts, then reassemble 10 muskets – all of them worked.  Prior to that day, most things were custom made by craftsmen using hand tools. Then, in a flash of geological time, the idea of interchangeable parts was released to the world – it would be impossible to put the idea back in its cage. Extraordinary levels of innovation followed as the industrial revolution was born.

Energy Flow

In the murky world of crypto-currencies, the financial instruments of tomorrow may not necessarily be assembled like they are today. The new applications of decentralized currency are modeled more like “energy” flows rather than individual units of account. Energy exists in many forms such as electrical energy, chemical energy, thermodynamic energy, kinetic energy, nuclear energy, etc., but the objective is always the same, to move something in the physical world – to create change. The value of crypto-currency is proportional to the magnitude of change it can induce.

Future Of Money Part 2

A generalized theory is emerging to define and specify decentralized applications (DApps). This makes them easier to identify, measure, and replicate. If ignored, these innovations have the potential to be extremely disruptive to the insurance industry. If adapted, they can greatly increase the efficiency, variety, precision, and granularity for insurance products of tomorrow.

Not unlike the dawn of the industrial revolution, there is an extraordinary level of innovation in crypto-currencies since the inception of Bitcoin. The objective of these efforts is to move something in computational space such as flipping a switch, verifying a data set, securing identity, establishing order, establishing ownership, verifying capacity, etc.   This may seem somewhat obscure until you realize that these “energies” can convert and combine in immeasurable combinations to form autonomous logic circuits – i.e. complex contracts.

Since all businesses are based on contracts that act upon some physical space, it is only a matter of time before crypto-contracts jump to the physical space as well. As David Johnson, CEO of DApps Fund (a venture capital firm for decentralized innovation) says; “Everything that can be decentralized will be decentralized”. Eli Whitney was said to have uttered similar sentiments.

The early manifestations of this phenomenon are called Decentralized Application (DApps); these are little computational engines that operate autonomously and whose output is determined by an algorithm. The resulting decisions are binary and final. There are three characteristics that an application must have in order to be classified as a DApps. As you read these conditions, note how different they are from a traditional corporate structure.

  1. The application must be completely open-source, it must operate Autonomously, with no entity controlling the majority of its tokens, and its data and records of operation must be cryptographically stored in a public, decentralized block chain.
  2. The application must generate tokens according to a standard algorithm or set of criteria. These tokens must be necessary for the use of the application and any contribution from users should be rewarded by payment in the application’s tokens.
  3. The application may adapt its protocol in response to proposed improvements and market feedback but all changes must be decided by majority consensus of its users.

Next, there are three classes of Decentralized Applications that align loosely to a familiar computer analogy:

  • A Type I DApp is analogous to a computer operating system such as Windows or the Mac OS X, etc.
  • A Type II DApp is analogous to a general-purpose software program such as Word, Excel, or iPhoto.
  • A Type III DApp is analogous to a specialized software solution like a mail merge, or an expense macro, or a blogging platform.

As such, we can expect that there will be a fewest type I DApps, more type II DApps and even more type III DApps.

The more direct definition of these three classes is as follows: 

  • Type I decentralized applications has its own block chain. Bitcoin is the most famous example of a type I decentralized application but there are others. 
  • Type II decentralized applications use the block chain of a type I decentralized application. Type II decentralized applications are protocols and have tokens that are necessary for their function. 
  • Type III decentralized applications use the protocol of a type II decentralized application. For example: A hypothetical Cloud Protocol that uses a type II DApp to issue ‘cloudcoins’ that can be used to buy cloud computing services would be an example of a type III decentralized application.

Taken together we have most, if not all, of the familiar components of governance and interdependencies without the layers of management that are associated with traditional corporations. As you absorb the analogy and definitions, consider how DApps can be nested, combined, and integrated with other DApps to emulate complex contracts.

One particularly interesting DApp that recently launched is called Counterparty . Counterparty is a Type II DApp that performs one single task extremely well.

Counterparty is a betting platform; or we can put it politely and call it an escrow platform. Two parties may enter into an agreement about the outcome of a future event such as a horse race or football game. Each player puts his or her money into an escrow account that is sealed prior to the race. After the results are registered, the DApp autonomously transfers the money from the combined account to the winner.

Now imagine 500 bettors putting their money into the escrow account prior to the contract event. Upon completion of the event, the money is automatically assigned by algorithm to the winners in pre-assigned proportions. It does not take too much imagination to see this as an insurance product, except without agents, executives, managers, office towers or cute little geckos.

Soon, marathon runners can pool health insurance more towards sprains and falls, and less toward heart disease. Mini-van moms can pool auto insurance for number of passengers rather than miles driven. Professionals can pool E&O insurance by peer review. In fact, any affinity group can accurately price the perils that they are also most capable to manage.  DApps are massively scalable; one application can serve infinite users.

The market size of binary betting (sports, insurance, coin toss, etc.) combined with complex betting (contracts for difference, hedging, options, etc.) is in the trillions of dollars. So while Counterparty has only one use case, the use case is massive.  Now imagine 100,000 DApps operating autonomously, combining and integrating into complex relationships – not unlike building a jigsaw puzzle.

There was once a time when craftsmen guilds were the most powerful organization in the republic. Many of us remember the days when labor was increasingly replaced by machinery. The time may be arriving where machinery can also replace management. The insurance industry must become familiar with this environment and have the wherewithal to reorganize itself, before someone else does it for them.

***

Come Join us At The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco, December 2, 2014 for my panel discussion on Fueling the Decentralization Movement.

Speakers:

Paige Peterson – Maidsafe

Sam Onat Yilmaz – Dapps Fund

Joel Dietz – Swarm.co

Christian Peel – Ethereum

Moderator: Dan Robles, The Ingenesist Project

Video: Intellectual Property in the Social Media Cloud

social_media_cloudThe Patent system is slow, static, and expensive. Sure it’s great for corporations and wealthy institutions, but what about the rest of us? How do we get paid for our intellectual property? We make rapid fire decisions every day that can make or break markets – who’s got time to patent?

Or maybe the last thing that Wall Street wants is for Engineers, Architects, designers, and creative people to get “royalties” on their work. That is What Wall Street does, they collect the royalties of the creative people in America….until now. Social media is a social contract, IP is our currency.

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Predictions for 2010 and Beyond – Nothing is Sacred

transparentIt looks like everyone is buffing up their predictions for another year of astonishing growth by social media. The last several years have brought so many surprises that the next several are promising to yield a bumper crop of “I told you so” fodder from the “pithier than thou” crowd.

My prediction for 2010 is that nothing is sacred, including the onslaught 2010 predictions. Therefore, I’ll will go way out on a limb and make my 2011 predictions in 2009.

In General:

The interest coming due on our national debt will consume increasingly more of the money that institutions need to provide basic services. As these institutions weaken, they will increasingly be replaced by social media enterprise. These structurally weakened institutions will drive social media innovation more than any other factor.

Specifically:

  1. Social vetting will catch everyone by surprise. Google buying Yelp is the game changer that will shake markets to the core. A market can only be as efficient as its vetting mechanism. To control vetting is to control a market – ask any despot. Where the vetting institutions of the old paradigm break down, they will be replaces by social media vetting. Nothing is sacred – the SEC, AMA, Federal Reserve – everything is vulnerable. Google knows this and will usher in an era of social media applications that will completely disrupt the gatekeepers.
  2. Everyone says that social media will monetize. It will, but not like anyone expects. 2011 is the year of the Deep Web; the deep web is the vast universe of unprocessed data that exists like dark matter in the Google-verse. Social media will monetize around data because data is the only thing that corporation, governments, and other people are willing to pay for. Google created economic initiatives for legions of entrepreneurs to create information content. The new Deep Web Search engines will create economic incentives for legions of entrepreneurs to create databases.
  3. The convergence of data will create the “new monetized innovation economy” defined by the way people interact with data. Highly localized data that will reflect the knowledge inventory of a community and will be represented by a virtual currency.
  4. It will become increasingly apparent that many of the functions of a corporation can be duplicated outside a corporation by new vetted social media applications. Networks of people will become “corporations” and trade knowledge assets through the trade of virtual currency contracts.
  5. Corporations will become technology centric rather than industry centric with open source architecture liberated to armies of diverse entrepreneurs. For example, breakthoughs in one industry will shoot across all industries like iphone apps – especially effective in environmental and “community organization” innovations. Nothing is sacred.

So there it is and be assured that 2012 will not disappoint even the hardiest eschatologist!

Sorry for not repeating the “real-time is king” mantra or singing the “people will finally pay for content” tune, or reciting the “every department is the marketing department” manifesto. Something much bigger is about to happen. The evolution away from the current financial system will drive social media more than any other factor.

Should Education be Open Source?

open-courseWe continue to challenge the relevance of the college “degree” as being an insufficient measurement for what “educated” is, or is not, in an innovation economy. With the cost of a college degree spiraling upward and the value of the degree spiraling downward, the market will tip in favor of the alternative education measurements.

It is important to note that we do not challenge the existence of institutes of higher education, only the “degree” as a unit of measurement. The four year Bachelor degree and two year Masters degree are irrelevant as a title (there is no legal title since the age of the guilds) and arbitrary in duration to respond to the diversity, speed, and scope at which new technologies become available for deployment.

Ray Barton writes: The UK House of Commons in its’ report on Re-skilling in January 2009 stated the useful life of a degree is five years. In high tech professions, the useful lifetime of knowledge can be as short as 1.5 years.

This alone disrupts the current paradigm of higher education in several ways.

The Global Financial Crisis; The End Game

The year is 2024, no burning cities, no mass hysteria, no bread lines; the economy is on an exponential growth curve.  It took a while, but the financial crisis of ended in an anticlimactic sort of way.  Sure, lots of hedge fund bankers became unemployed, some went to jail, and many companies once deemed titans of industry have disappeared, but nobody seemed to notice much anymore.

Government debt has been eliminated and Wall Street has become the steward of what has become an Innovation Economy rising from the ashes of debt economics.  The transition, in fact, was surprisingly smooth.  Social Network applications such as Facebook, Linkedin, G+, and many more, developed a clever way to make knowledge tangible outside the construct of Wall Street and the traditional corporations and people began trading knowledge like currency.

When inflation hit, the dollar started to fall in value, people began trading a different currency called the rallod (dollar spelled backwards).  The rallod was backed by future productivity resulting from innovation rather than future productivity supporting debt.  When the dollar finally crashed, it pegged to the rallod and the economy began to grow again with an astonishing, yet peaceful, transfer of wealth and power to open sourced self-regulating communities; i.e., society in general.  The vicious cycle of debt economics was reversed just in time.  It’s still hard to believe what happened.

Today the engines of economic growth are tens of thousands of hot new start-ups that exist in the form of “Value Games” related to specific technology areas rather than the old corporation model.  They automatically cluster around a technology and spin off other start-ups at an incredible rate in a strange nesting arrangement called the “tangential innovation” market.  Most innovation is open sourced because the “Patent” (and protectionism in general) is no longer the center of the innovation finance universe, rather, the “secret sauce” of social, creative, and intellectual capital is the most valuable asset today.

About 15 years ago, something resembling the human genome project mapped all knowledge in the form of social, creative, and intellectual capital that exists in society to a very high granularity.  An API standard was created to represent knowledge assets like packets of code that are processed by a community algorithm. The CV/resume is an old bar joke now. Thanks to a visionary government, 1st amendment protections were built into this inventory with anonymity laws and privatized TOU; creators own what they create.

An open source percentile search engine was created to enable entrepreneurs to build unique collections of knowledge assets and predict the probability that various combinations of these assets could successfully execute a business plan.  High diversification induced hyper-innovation around technologies and the resulting innovations are spun out to be reabsorbed by different and diverse communities of practice in continuous iterations forming a virtuous vortex of new systems, methods, and solutions.  Sketched out, these arrangements looked like electrical “integrated” circuits.  Wealth creation is intense.

Since the knowledge inventory has mapped all knowledge and the Percentile Search Engine calculated probabilities and scenarios, the Innovation bank formed to make most worthy and optimal matches between knowledge surplus and knowledge deficit in a community.  Since the probability of innovation success has become predictable, innovation risk is now diversified away.  Innovation insurance products abound. With near-zero innovation risk the cost of venture capital has approached 5-7 % instead of 500-2000% of less than a decade ago.  Banks now issue innovation bonds on the public market to finance innovation in society.  For an investment of such high return and such little risk, participation is near universal.  This created another virtuous circle; the more innovation that occurs, the more money is created.  The more money that is created, the more innovation occurs.

Instead of having jobs, many people in a geographic area are pinged by the Percentile Search Engine which calculates the likelihood that their interaction together will increase the probability of successful execution of a business plan when combined with other knowledge assets.  Instead of earning wages, people collect micro-royalties specified by contracts on capital asset sub-sections. These micro-royalties add up to substantial residual income enjoying a multiplier effect as their work continues downstream over their lifetime. The government funds social security through it’s own innovation ventures. Service workers such as police, teachers, fire fighters, nurses, local merchants, etc., are key beneficiaries because of their impact on the community is directly associated with productivity.

Many of the senior knowledge workers have determined that they can earn more money by taking an equity position in their students, and the students of their student.  Unlike a decade ago, pyramid schemes in innovation economics are sustainable and generate astonishing profits.  Mentors have entered the landscape in vast numbers and apprenticeships have become abundant.  The income potential for the “creating creators” boggles the imagination.   Again, a virtuous circle has formed between the mentor and the student. In aggregate, wisdom is being retained, refined, and transferred efficiently throughout social networks.

University “degrees” have disappeared in favor of unique combinations of knowledge assets that are continually SEO’d for best Percentile Search Engine Placement.  People do not compete directly, rather, they compete with the Percentile Search Engine in the local market place by cooperating among each other.  As owners of their knowledge assets, the entrepreneurial spirit is ubiquitous.  No individual has either a monopoly or an identical knowledge set as anyone else.  Everyone has perfect information about the knowledge assets in a market.  People are pinged for different reasons at different times for different rates depending on supply and demand.  Continuous education is a social event in itself, often mistaken for recreation!

Even the poorest areas of the planet are getting into the action because, by definition, the parts of an economy with the highest potential for technological change correspond to opportunities that return the highest dividends in an innovation economy.  Arbitrage opportunities between master and oppressor have disappeared worldwide.

Like a neural network, the economic system of tangible knowledge is self-correcting, fault tolerant, and self-regulating.  Governments across the globe tried to stop the social network driven innovation economy – but they eventually gave up.  It was like trying to stop water; it flowed between the cracks and simply eroded the barriers.  The most incredible outcome is that innovation now reflects long term social priorities instead of short term Wall Street priorities.

Oil production has been replaced by superconducting wind turbines, global temperatures have stabilized, all cars are electric or “water leakers” (as the hydro’s are affectionately known), many diseases have been cured, and the list goes on.  It is hard to believe this happened in only 12 years.  Then again, the Internet had only been widely used 15 years prior to 2009.  Did I mention, we’re finally sending a multinational expedition to Mars…

Social Media Frequent Flyer Miles

The Internet is a lot like a commercial airplane – it is very useful in transporting us to distant lands but the real work must happen on the ground.  The organization of society at both ends of an Internet destination must be developed if real wealth is to be created. Social Media needs to develop this component at this critical juncture of human history when vast amounts of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital are being sent to the shores of despair upon Unemployment Air Line.

Computer enabled society:

The great opportunity of our generation in the fair, sustainable, and equitable creation of wealth through innovation in a computer-enabled, open-sourced, and democratic society that can organize its own knowledge in the form of a financial instrument.  The great danger, of course, is if we miss our flight and engender a computer simulated society where it is easier to interact with online community than our own neighbors.  It’s like getting on an airplane for the fine view, good food, and interesting conversation.  Social capital is by far the most powerful force of change and social media must now touch the ground in a meaningful, systemic, repeatable, and scalable manner.

The analogy continues:

The earliest days of aviation were a novelty at best.  Some commercial enterprise emerged in the form of barnstorming, carrying the mail, light cargo, aerial photography, and warfare. Likewise, the evolution of the internet brought us on-line gaming, e-mail, e-commerce, assorted photography, and hacking, etc.  It was not until the invention of municipal airports that the airplane became a true time machine by increasing human productivity and allowing us to see history that would otherwise be unavailable traveling by sea.  The true value of both commercial aviation and social media over “sail mail” is precisely through the increase in human productivity to transfer information to the ground.

Three Web Applications:

First, social media needs to develop a knowledge inventory system by geographic areas.  Second, Social Media needs a search engine at a local level that combines knowledge assets to form “strategic” social networks that can execute a specific business plan at reduced risk; cooking the “secret sauce”.  Third; an Innovation Bank must “pull” knowledge surplus and “pull” knowledge deficits together from diverse communities.  These three applications will provide everyone with the tools needed to create wealth in their communities.

Social Media has the potential to become the airport of the Internet Transportation System.  Nothing meaningful can happen until the rubber meets the tarmac.  So, let’s start building runways.

Intellectual Property in the Innovation Economy

Today there is a big scare that bad people will run off with your intellectual property and make a ton of money with it. Another problem is that the Patent system is so slow and so expensive that the vast majority of innovators simply do not have access to patent protection – many people just keep their ideas secret. This happens in corporations where your ideas are used to advance the careers other people. Often the dominant strategy is to not innovate or keep your ideas secret.

The trend toward open sourcing and crowd sourcing is a real option in the Innovation Economy where Social Network are self regulating. In fact, these articles reference Wikipedia – a community source of definitions.

In practice, If I do dirty deals of Craig’s List, for example; people know where I live….or I get flagged. EBay, for example, produces relatively little to earn their 30B market cap except protect their social accountability system – the EBay feedback mechanism rewards high integrity and punished low integrity. The hallmark of the Web 2.0 is the user generated content as well as the user generated vetting of the content.

This is significant. The efficiency of any market is directly related to the efficiency of the vetting mechanism by rewarding high integrity and punishing low integrity; the FAA vets the airline industry, checks and balances vets democratic government, and the FICO score vets the consumer credit markets. Likewise, things go horribly wrong when the vetting mechanism fails; the accounting profession after Enron, and the sub prime mortgage crisis after loose lending practices, etc. The battlefields of business are littered with similar examples.

In an Innovation Economy, the secret sauce for the production of innovation is far more valuable than any single innovation itself.  The secret sauce provides a monopoly on dynamic repeatability rather than some static device. As such, patents can be open-sourced and innovation crowd sourced across a much wider domain of user applications.  Such conditions will change the type of innovations that are favored to reflect the broad and sweeping social priorities rather than innovations that are easy to patent, protect, and monopolize – and fear for one’s IP being stolen.    Bad people cannot steal your intellectual capital, your social capital, or your creative capital – it is yours, you own it and you have the social network to prove it.

Ownership is the key ingredient of entrepreneurship – everyone owns the innovation economy.

In fact, the objective of innovation economics is for people to take your ideas and make money with them – then give you some of it. Your income arises from collecting royalty payments on your ideas and participation of many ventures. If someone does not play fair, their access to intellectual property and the Percentile Search Engine can be curtailed just like access to credit can be curtailed in modern finance. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to play fair; you may cheat, but only once.

Social Networks are largely self-regulating; no government, Industry, or management is needed. This is efficiency, scaleability, and multiplicity all in one!

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