How Did We Get Here?
There are several plausible answers to the question above, and all of them would be correct.
We got here because the world's monetary system is and has been in a downward spiral for more than a decade. We got here because the governments of the world issue fiat money and then devalue it to the point that citizens of the country suffer from starvation (think Venezuela here, folks). We got here because the businesses of the world want an easier way to globally conduct their business. And lastly, we got here because evolution is just something that happens in every corner of every ecosystem in the world. Money, or rather the currency system that we have known for several hundreds of years, is in a state of natural evolution.
During the Renaissance, Gutenberg invented the printing press and forever changed the institution of learning and education. Then during the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution forever changed the landscape of industry and manufacturing. The next big leap in the evolution of man's thirst for bigger, faster, better brought the World Wide Web and what is now known as the Digital Revolution. For the first time in history, all the world's knowledge lay within the click of a mouse, or press of a keystroke. The Digital Revolution connected the world. Now, as we stand at the gate, we are awaiting the arrival of another revolutionizing technology: The Internet of Things.
Why Is This Important?
Although not always necessary, sometimes it's beneficial to state the obvious; just in case there are those out there who happened to have missed the FYI memo. So, here's the obvious importance of the previous 3 golden revolutions, as it applies to the one we now face. Every time you make a leap in the evolution of man, you have the opportunity to make tremendous changes to finance. It's happened every time in the past 3 revolutionary happenings. You can trace the rise of the importance of financial transactional evolution, lock step with the important steps forward of mankind. With the Industrial Revolution, we saw the rise of central banks and monetary policy. The Digital Revolution changed everything about the way we, as humans interface with each other, and our financial institutions. In fact, it has changed the way finance is conducted on a daily basis. Everything happens digitally. Bank transfers, monetary exchanges, stock exchanges, storage of information: it's all digital. Now, as we stand on the cusp of what is arguably the 4th wave in the Digital Revolution, or as others refer to it, the "IoT", we're facing an even greater transformation of the financial industry. The rise of Peer-2-Peer and a trustless, secure, unified global financial system.
Where Are We Going?
Digital is information in the purest sense. What a profound statement. Yet it's true meaning is lost on the masses of society. When the average world citizen thinks "digital", it's in the concept of "record keeping" or "records retrieval". In truth, digital is so very much more. We are about to enter a realm where "digital" is a world all it's own. Virtual reality, digital real estate, tokenized assets; all of these catch phrases and newly coined terms should be a heads up that times, they are a changing.
Finance has begun to recognize the validity of digital assets and is in the process of conceptualizing tokenized assets that will be recognized as legitimate, legal forms of value. Amazon and Facebook are perfect examples of digital assets. These entities are not brick-n-mortar. They are digital. A whole new world is emerging, and as in pasts revolutions, finance will morph and evolve as well.
IoT, Blockchain, and the recognition of digitization are legitimizing the new revolution. Those digital inventions are changing the landscape of business and finance. You no longer need a brick and mortar world to conduct business, to buy and sell, to create contracts, or even to own property. You no longer need financial institutions with the advent of the peer-2-peer environment. Thanks to the creation of Blockchain, you no longer even need the physical forms of fiat currencies. In other words, all you really need is a window to the digital world. A portal to the digital world.
If physical reality is the visual representation of the energy that exists in our universe, the digital world is the next step in our evolution. Mankind's vision has always been limited to those things we can see, touch and feel. But slowly, we are beginning to remove the veil. Slowly, we are beginning to see the unlimited potential of the next cataclysmic change: the 4th Digital Wave, the Internet of Things.