From Autonomous Cities to US Presidency: The Future Is Now Film Shows What Blockchain Leaders Think About Governance
The first cinematographic NFT project “The Future Is Now Film” shows what blockchain leaders think of future governance systems: will there be even tighter centralization, a symbiosis of traditional and new methods of control or do we need a totally new governance system to replace the old one?
Answers to these questions can be found in the two latest episodes, “Transforming The Future” and “Aligning The Future”, which were filmed at the AIBC Summit UAE 2021 in Dubai and Blockchance EU conference in Hamburg. Let’s dive deeper and see what futurists think.
Blockchain Is Getting Closer to Traditional Institutions
Several years ago, it would have been a bombshell to see government officials at a blockchain conference. Now, in both the AIBC Summit in Dubai and Blockchance EU conference in Hamburg, government officials are among honorable guests for two reasons. First of all, the scale of the change made them notice the inevitable. Secondly, some of the “decentralized futurists” have joined the ranks of centralized organizations in hopes of making a difference.
For example, H.E. Justin Sun, the founder of TRON, recently became an ambassador to the World Trade Organization on behalf of Grenada, a country in the Caribbean. In his view, cryptocurrency projects today are “way more efficient than the financial infrastructure that we have today” and now he plans to pave the way for mass adoption.
According to Fabian Friedrich, the founder of Blockchance Group, one of the reasons for the Blockchance EU conference to exist is the need to bring together different market players especially the decision-makers who currently govern traditional systems “to take the fear away and show them how positive this movement is, how many chances are in the movement for a better future”.
Some have already achieved tangible progress in establishing the dialogue. Fabian Vogelsteller, co-founder of ERC20 Protocol, shared that negotiations with regulators despite the “back and forth” nature of the process, have already brought positive results because “everybody sees the benefits of this technology” while of course the “old has always had the interest to survive”.
Will Governments Have a Saying?
According to His Excellency Justin Sun, decentralized currencies are more advanced not only on the technological side but also on the philosophical side as they drive the inclusion of smaller countries. That is why it will be only natural for countries to “start to diversify the countries’ reserves” also by building the central bank digital currencies but “the philosophy behind CBDC’s will determine their results”: they could either join a competitive system or “undermine the reputation and the influence in the market in the first place” if they are made to be an appealing asset to use next to cryptocurrencies, for example by simply functioning as a financial tracking tool.
Justin Sun believes that when the barriers of the traditional financial system go down, everyone benefits. But according to Brock Pierce, the 2020 US Presidential candidate from the Bitcoin Foundation, there will be beneficiaries and losers. In his view, Dubai, for example, will be the beneficiary of change because it “is doing a good job recognizing the change and adapting to it” but those who resist the change will suffer:
“Look at Florida and Miami, they are doing a good job… They are the beneficiary of the change. That is what happens when you embrace the future. You get to be part of it. Resist it and it runs you over. The future is coming”
Prominent venture capitalist Tim Draper whose Dad fought in the Korean War has shared a vision of what resistance to change could look like by giving a historical example of North and South Korea as a full government control system versus a “free and open society with democracy” 70 years later:
“Average South Korean now makes 430 times what the average North Korean makes in a year, and that is when you adjust for purchasing power. And the average South Korean is 4 inches taller than an average North Korean. It is pretty clear to me which system works better”
Dubai: Safe Harbor for Innovations
One of the biggest gatherings in the blockchain community held by Eman Pulis & SIGMA Group AIBC Summit UAE 2021 has been held in Dubai a few months prior to Blockchance EU.
Dubai is among the first cities that are “taking a tangible stand into abundance and allowing decentralization to flourish” as it is stated by Miguel Francis-Santiago, the Founder of The Future is Now DAO and the mastermind behind #TheFutureisNowFilm, with initiatives like the UAE Crypto Map. Dubai is “on its way to becoming self-sustainable” by leveraging the power of innovative-based ecosystems. Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, with a plethora of initiatives headed by Dubai Blockchain Center and the work of its CEO Dr. Marwan Alzarouni, creating a safe harbor of innovation.
And the safe harbor has already brought some fresh fruits. Matthias Mende has launched an innovative celebrity marketplace Bonuz Market just after a couple of years of residency in Dubai and now the project allows celebrities around the world to engage with fans within an NFT and Metaverse platform.
Sergej Kunz with 1inch Network bridges the crypto world with traditional banking by working with such regulated institutions like Sygnum Bank. The 1inch Network solution became the deepest liquidity aggregator in the DeFi space: the platform reached over $120 billion in transaction volume since its inception by solving the problem of high entry point and barrier to use cryptocurrencies.
Salim Ismail of OpenExO, former CEO of Singularity University, by creating pilots with such traditional businesses like Procter & Gamble, Gucci and KPMG, created a space where new transformational methods of running a company between exponential organization structure and traditional businesses can now pave the way for preserving synapses of the human brain.
The US Presidency: to the “Belly of the Beast”
According to Ilya Churakov of the decentralized ecosystem Global Digital Club, such bridges need to be built in the “right way” so big opportunities could scale fast and reach mass adoption.
But to learn the “right way” we need to study the old one, believes Brock Pierce, the 2020 US Presidential candidate from the Bitcoin Foundation. He dedicated his utmost energy to running the US presidential campaign during the 2020 Year of COVID, in order to understand the mechanics of the political system better and get ready for the next stage in making actionable change:
“Why would I subject myself to such a thing [as a Presidential Campaign] if I was not committed to following all the way through… Let’s say it was an exploratory mission. To understand the mechanics of the system, you need to go inside the belly of the beast, to learn how to run a national campaign without any of the existing infrastructure… without any of the funding mechanisms that allow politicians to run for office, without a political platform… and to do it in the midst of COVID. My basic training is complete”
According to Crystal Rose Pierce of Sense.Chat, only by “creating the bridge” between traditional systems and the decentralized world can we explore how the interests of different people can be put together for mutually beneficial growth. For the Pierce couple, there is no goal to simply replace the old with the new, there has to be a dialogue.
El Salvador: Dreamland for All Nations
El Salvador has been creating this bridge perhaps like no one else in the current political system, while becoming the first country to make this brave step towards economic freedom. As a country, they seek to voice their opinion, and make their opinion visible despite the pandemic crisis that was happening in the world at the time and a very clear recommendation from the International Monetary Fund in November of 2021 – not to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender. Nevertheless, they are going forward with the Bitcoin infrastructure in the country as they are seeking economic freedom, the dream of all nations.
William Soriano, a congressman from El Salvador and a prominent Bitcoin advocate, explained how Bitcoin can help other countries by sharing how his homeland plans to “achieve the next level of prosperity”. The first benefit is cutting the unnecessary costs:
“Civil war led to 3 million people leaving the country to the US. Those people send 7000 million dollars yearly of remittances. That makes them pay 400 million dollars in fees to companies such as… Moneygram… Ria etc. And this is just El Salvador, a small country…”
The second step is financial inclusion. In just 3 months, financial inclusion reached 80% in El Salvador, rising from 1.2 million to 3.8 million people having access to a financial system. Finally, the country set up a plan to use natural resources like volcanoes and geothermal energy with the use of “volcano bonds”, a decentralized financial UBI-type instrument.
According to an SDG advocate at the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, Marc Buckley, all countries should follow the example to “stop recreating” a cycle of insanity that leads to financial bubbles following a downturn, on constant repeat – a model Marc believes the world has been viciously revolving around. His Excellency Justin Sun is confident that countries in the Caribbean region will certainly follow the El Salvador example. But we can hardly expect all governments to act and follow this example, so what are the alternatives?
Dying Animal vs. Autonomous Private Cities
Dr Wolfgang Pinegger, founder of GLBRAIN and CEO of GAMB, believes that “centralization is everywhere”: from social media to banking and governments, the only light at the end of the tunnel being cryptocurrencies which might be “the only way to escape the centralization step by step” with a proper use-case.
That is why GAMB Power To The Merchants has developed a solution that solves a major issue in the crypto space – high transaction fees for day-to-day operations. The company has presented a coin with zero transaction fees that will work also in countries where 1$ is a substantial sum for a crypto transaction. This will consequently bring cryptocurrencies closer to mass adoption, and therefore reduce the centralization. In Wolfgang’s view the change might happen quite naturally with a mindshift that is already happening in the younger generation:
“But the young generation has already realized that they do not want to be part of this game… (ed. centralization) and the young generation in itself will just change it. Many people from the centralized world will not even realize until it has happened”
Veronika Kuett, who works on autonomous systems with Tripolis Corp., thinks that centralized money is “the most powerful tool” that the government would not wish to lose, since it allows them to “inflate” and “debase the money of everyone else”. Governments might react with tightening centralization and they might even succeed in the short term. Of course, printing money helps governments pull resources together which means attracting people “to set up control structures”. But in the end, “this animal has cancer and therefore it will die”. That is why there is no need to waste energy on reforming central banking when “we need to rethink governance” to set up new systems instead:
“The strategy is to spend the least amount of energy focusing on old systems but rather build the future, educate people and make them join the new system”
One of the solutions according to Veronika is “to have many thousands of smaller entities where we have bonded communities, where we know each other, we trust each other” to “get rid of this anonymity that we have as residents in a very large nation”. The demand for autonomous private cities is already there with many innovative libertarian thinkers facing the limitations of “government’s ever-changing rules”.
Irina Litchfield of the Global Autonomous Network also shares an opinion that we need to “create new models of living through autonomous lands, agrotech and regenerative farming, blockchain, new space and beyond”. If Mars colonization would make us rethink governance, why should we not start now?
What does the future hold? What sort of future can help humanity reach sustainable goals and how? Follow new episodes of #TheFutureisNowFilm and don’t miss the future through the thoughts and accomplishments of the most innovative minds in the industry. TFIN DAO team and the show’s creator Miguel Francis-Santiago are already working on new episodes filmed in Dubai surrounding the WoW Summit and a 2nd edition of AIBC Summit Dubai 2022 with the support of the NFT-vehicle that will allow for this roving crypto documentary to be featured on such platforms as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
To see the retrospective of the blockchain world’s progress, watch the film series 5 year trailer that sums up the last 5 years with over 20 gatherings around the world that Miguel Francis-Santiago and the team have attended, over 19 episodes have been filmed so far and over 15 countries explored through the lens of The Future is Now Film.