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Future of Payments and Identity


Dave Birch

In this week's episode we talk to Dave Birch, the author of 'Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin', The Currency Cold War, and Identity is the New Money about all things identity, digital assets and the future of Crypto. Dave is one of the world's preeminent experts on payments tech globally as well. But when we get into how AI's will make payments and hold bank accounts, it gets very interesting indeed.

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this week on the futurist Dave Burch I say at the end of the book the future ofmoney looks much more like the past than the present[Music] welcome back to the futurists I'm Robturcic and my co-host Brett King hey hey hi Brett how you doing man good goodyeah I picked up the Tesla today oh that's avery interesting car some some yeah I'm I'm walking the talk right yeahand how was that process was it seamless and smooth uh well you know apart from the fact that I needed toum navigate the North Carolina DMV which was in itself an entire experiencebut apart from that yeah it was it was all done digitally um the whole thingum you know a bit of text messaging back and forth because I couldn't take delivery on the Connecticut license Ihad to wait till I got the new license so um but apart from that it was fairly painlessum and you know it's like you're stepping into a spaceship you know umwelcome to the future of Automotive have you got some news items today I have I have a couple of news items first isthere's been a new a discovery or a new uh um implant made from pig skin whichreverses blindness for people that's already been applied um over a dozen people have already hadthis um procedure and they've gone from blind to 20 20 Vision after thetransplant it's an artificial cornea made from pigskin and um you know thisis sort of this is sort of the transgenic stuff we were talking about um earlier in terms of the way we're uhyou know engineering and this stuff the second piece of news which is interesting is there's this brand new AItool that has been discovered it's from UC San Diego and Nano engineer therecalled professori Shu Ping long created this algorithm called m3gnet it's partof the matterverse dot AI database and it expands our understanding ofdifferent materials and combinations of metals and so forth and already they'vediscovered plan or discovered materials that are going to make batteries significantly more efficient and soforth and this is all done basically by AI looking at the sort of structure ofdifferent polymers and metals and you know so forth and sort of combining them into new materials that don't currentlyexist today so this is the sort of thing where AI is going to be really interesting because it can takeinference from you know learning about existing materials we have and extrapolate new thinking out of of thatum and so yeah pretty pretty cool news and speeding up Discovery as well yeahthat's a really cool idea the the transformation of many Industries is happening simultaneously with AI as it's deployed across all of them it's hard tokeep your arms around all of it I mean I can imagine us doing this for all sorts of things like think aboutum you know physics elements of physics in terms of uh new um particles that wehaven't discovered or things like that or you know like it's it's just going to uncover so much knowledge for us it'sreally interesting greatly accelerating drug Discovery with AI as well welllet's give a big welcome to to Dave Burge Dave's your friend long time friend right yeah Dave and I've knowneach other for um over a decade um Dave um is is one of the world's preeminentexperts on identity and digital money um and he's a big sci-fi fan as well soit's good it's we're going to get sci-fi today on on identity and money future of money Dave welcome to the showhi guys great to be here it's nice to meet you I've been interested in your work since I read this book uh this isuh identity is the new money which is actually not a new book you wrote that book almost a decade ago I think yeah Iknow I wrote that book a few years ago but in full of really prescient insight about the way things were going toevolve in a networked world yeah I I made some I made some what what you knowturned out to be some pretty accurate uh guesses in that I mean not not because I was a genius but because I was you knowlooking at what was going on and looking at what other people were saying and and putting a few things together but umyeah so you are a futurist yeah he's certainly forecasted but tell us whatyou meant at the time uh by that phrase identity is the new money well it has sort of two meanings reallyso the first is the sort of quite literal um you know my Heritage in this space isworking Financial Services I I you know I did a lot of work in payments after awhile it became apparent not only to me but to me and other people that a lot ofthe problems that we were seeing in that space were you know at core were really identity problemsum it's because nobody knew who anybody was and this this sort of narrative that theyou know basically the internet was broken it was built without an identity layer it was built without a paymentslayer although rather famously as everybody knows the HTTP error code is still there so there is still the errorcode for for you have to pay for this content there's just no mechanism for for implementing itand and now you know with the great sweep of History we can see the lack ofum the lack of payments and identity in the internet led to this kind of advertising LED web 2 and blah blah blahI mean we all we all sort of know that narrative so uh so and the more I thought about this I got very interested in issuesaround identity and I read a lot and I spoke to a lot of people and I realized a lot of these issues were reallynowhere near being resolved they needed some more thinking I decided to put together a book aboutit and I edited a book called digital identity management back in 2007.which which was a nightmare experience I'm never gonna edit a book againto do that I had some very smart people contributing and that made me think about it I ruminated on it for a whileum and then I began to think what is actually in the bankright I don't really have any money in the bank as my bank manager will willingly testifyum you know virtually none of my wealths such as it is is in the form of money inthe bank um what's what's really in the bank is my identityand my and and it's an easy thought experiment to do so uh Brett and I getinto a fight he smashes a chair over my head uh I wake up in the morning and uhyou know I've I've lost all my money my cards are gone I wake up in analleyway oh that was that story I was writing sorry but you know you have to put it incontext we'd been drinking and just yeah just kidding but the point is you know I wake up and all my money is gone mycards have got you know whatever that's okay I still have my identity I still have my reputation I can still goand borrow some money from somebody I I can still go to the bank and get a low you know I mean like it's not for meapparently yeah but if all my money disappears it doesn't really matterbut now I wake up in the morning and I don't know who I am and I I go to the bank and say I needsome money lend me some money in the bank like well who the hell are you uh it's a different storyand so I began to think that actually a big part of the few and this is how actually I originally started readingback back 2.0 Brett's book which is how I eventually got talking to Brett because I started thinking hold on thisstuff that we're working on for these bags this doesn't seem quite right there's something else bubbling alonghere okay so I just want to understand your story so what you're saying is if you go in a situation where you lost your identity where you your identitywas stolen your identifier your credit your cards your your passport were taken away then it's really hard for you toget any kind of access to the money and the wealth that you've got because no one knows who you are you can't prove itcorrect I don't know how old your audience is I don't know your demographicsbut I don't know if you remember the fabulous furry freak Brothers um but for that what are you talkingabout yeah you know old enough um but you might say identity will getyou through times of no money more than money will get you through times of no identity yeah it's it's highlyasymmetric so so at one level there was this idea that was which I think hasturned out to be you know broadly true that we're heading towards a reputation economy that Banks really should play aleading role in that um I have no evidence to offer that banks have any actual strategies fortaking advantage of this but that's a that's a different issue Are banks playing a role in reputation managementis that even something that you think they're doing it's a true story I've told Brett thisstory before and I won't name but I once went to the unveiling you know this isin the this is in the 1990 this is after mobile phones have been invented after the internet in the late 90s one of theuh Banks I was working for had a big uh project running about the future ofbanking and several you know we were invited along to the Grand unveiling of the bank of the futureand the bank of the future was exactly the same as the bank of the past except I'm not making this up the corners ofthe desks were rounded and the idea was that rounded corners on the desk would be more welcoming to customers cominginto the branch than Square guns I'm not even making this up I wish I was making that out and that's how I startedreading that's weird because you know I read Brad's book and I'm like there's something different going on you hadthis Epiphany 10 years ago have things improved uh what is what is your perspective on the state of digitalidentity now well it's pretty poor I mean let's uhlet's reflect on on on Brett's uh Brett's motherland I was down inAustralia a couple of weeks ago there's been a massive data breach of Optus the telecommunications company but it's NGeverybody in Australia has had their identity stolen uh three million driving licenses Ithink three million passports and the CEO I'm not making sub either this isyou can look in AFR the CEO was quoted as saying well essentially this is unfortunate people'sname address date of birth social security number driving license passportphone number was stolen but fortunately no financial information was stolen oh well okay so no financial informationwell that's great you know unfortunately the identity is the new money so Optus have had to go and block uhthese passports so people whose passports they they can't use their passport number for online identity twomillion people had their passport information stolen yeah and now Optus has got the the government has hasmandated that Optus needs to pay for Replacements right I'm not I know I know Optus the I saw a figure of 140 millionAustralian dollars for restitution I'm not I don't know what exactly it's being spent on but but so so to your to yourquestion directly no things haven't improved and um we'll hear about data breaches on thatscale every month sometimes every week I mean it's not only that it's it's usingidentity I was a you know this is the layers of irony here I was at aconference I was a digital identity conference with the world's leadingdigital identity people and I wanted to stay a bit longer I had to change my flight back so I run up myAirline app and because I'm logging in from somewhere new where I've never logged in before it asks me for myfavorite breed of dog which presumably 10 years ago when I was setting this thing up so I'm trying to change my theconference of the world's leading digital identity experts I'm trying to change my flight and I do have to do itby remembering what my favorite breed of dog was 10 years ago it was luckily I got right on the third guess so toanswer your question no it hasn't improved but there's a second and I think more important meaningum Robert you know in the book I I say that if you're looking to the sort of if I Isay at the end of the book the future of money looks much more like the past than the present if you read the word not oftechnologists but if you read the work of of the social anthropologists the people who understand how people uh usetools and technology or whatever what they what they say people are Jack weather for people like that what you see is they're sayingin the past there were lots of different kinds of money and different communities had differentkinds of money and they used it for different things and then because of cities and trade orwhatever you have a marginalization and then you have the Industrial Revolution and you go from this pre-industrialSociety where there basically is no money I mean in a pre-industrial society most people lived on credit the entiretime you know Farmers would live on credits throughout the year and then pay off their debts when the Harvest came inand it all worked perfectly well because everybody knew everybody else one of my favorite case studies fromhistory about this which Brett and I have discussed before is the Irish Bankstrikes of the 1970s so Island was still quite a rural economy at that point the banks went on strike there was no moneyin circulation and when economists look back and study that period they see a negligible impact on GDP why was thatbecause when there was no money people just made up their own and the and thekind of central clearing Center for these new money which is basically people writing ious was the pub becausein a rural economy the guy running the pub knows everyone he's perfectly capable of discounting my ious againstBrett that's like the tea and coffee houses used to be the central part foreign Exchange in London in the those days but you know it's but but like I Ithink the absurdity of your you know your date of birth your address your mother's maiden name if you live in theUS your social security number being considered your identity as ways youjustify your identity I think that's ridiculous today because none of that information is really securable today soif you want secure identity to protect your assets then you know this is theproblem with conventional identity in that it just it you know you can't be protected and that kind of an identitythat's issued by a government that's an artifact of the industrial era I mean that was it right at the time when thatwas issued yeah yeah um you're right it's a bureaucratic response to the urbananonymity of the Industrial Revolution but in your book you make the excellent point though that the real basis ofidentity is reputation and on the internet you have the ability to build reputation and I'm interested in yourthoughts about reputation as currency well that that's why I ended up with the conclusion that you know in in this pastwhere everybody knew everybody else so everybody could continuously compute essentially the credit rating ofeverybody else and the mutual sort of cross obligations in a local Society were memorized and played out you know Iowe you a cow at the end of the year you need to put a roof on my house next year I mean whateverum we could remember all of these things once you once that's why coach Lakota says money is a primitive form of memoryyou know once once you can't remember all of those things you need some other intermediary to do it but in theinternet world the kind of mcluhan world the global village where everyone is connected to everybody else all the timeyou can remember all of these things everything can be remembered you don't need money by whom though because thebig issue on the internet as I understand it with identity is that you don't have one digital identity you'vegot hundreds but you don't control any of them they're controlled but as you've pointed out we wouldn't interact throughour identity as you know as Brett made the point about names we would we would interact on the basis of reputation sofor example let's say I'm buying something from you and in order to do it I need to see that you've got uh you'vegot five eBay stars like whatever I mean some day I the the thing that enablesthe transaction is me seeing that reputation and let's imagine that's happening in a structure which iscryptographically uh secure is unforgeable and so on so I need to see this reputation with the transactionsproceed great and we do the transaction everything's fine I have no idea whether you're a person or a bot or a car or atoaster pretending to be a dog and the point is I don't care because your identity is not the transactionenabler your reputation is and in that kind of society in the long termyou know and and I'm a great disciple of Edward de Bono in this respectum so people people like McClure and debono they they thought this stuff through before there was even a worldwide web they just thought of reverse principles what happens when everything is connected to everything else theyweren't technologists they weren't they weren't thinking in terms of oh HTTP or the they were just thinking wheneverything's connected to everything else how does that change things mcluhan has turned out to be right inalmost every respect you know and he said he said in in this interconnected world the old ways of establishingidentity the bureaucratic ways just don't work and he was he was spots on with that but debono also said look ifif you have this like if you have this Global Market continuously Computingcredit rates it's continuously connected you no longer need the intermediary of moneyso when Brett and I come to a day like on our phone like Brett's gonna sell me a book and I'm going to pay for it andon my phone it says 10 Wessex growths because that's where six growth so the currency that makes sense to me onBrett's phone it says he's selling it for you know nine nine ounces of gold or something whatever makes sense itdoesn't matter okay when we execute the transaction ouragents our AIS will negotiate baskets of liquid assets to exchangeand that sounds crazy when you're talking about people like that I was oh Brett you know I've got a bus pass and atin of red pain and well I'll take the tin of red paint will you take will you take this bag of hay in in return aschat well no I'll take the bag of hay but actually that doesn't quite well that's not quite so let me give you this pencil as well I mean it makes no sensewhen you're talking but when you're talking about tokens and decentralizedfinance and AIS that can compute these things in nanoseconds I press the buttonto buy the book a few nanoseconds later our AIS have worked out which basket oftokens to exchange so this so this you know and there is no money anymore rightso this I think this is where Ai and sort of machine to machine transactionsget really interesting I can think of dozens of examples where a self-driving Uber who might negotiate for uh you knowelectricity time for example you know um to regenerate its battery and trade offhours driven for access to energy and so forth um but largely that's going to be sortof a black box function of um these AIS dealing with each otheryou're talking about individuals um but the machine the machine element iswhere it gets really crazy I think I I don't think people will be involved in a lot of these look Brett when you'relooking at when you're looking into the future of financial services as a whole and there's a very sweeping statementbut I would say broadly speaking there are two categories of transactions there there are there are transactions are tooboring for people to do like when I go and park as I've just done when I go and park my car and I have to pay for thecar parking that's so boring like why are human beings made to do this I meanlike that's exactly the sort of thing that you know I should just drive in and park and my car should negotiate andtake care of it for me like I don't want to be involved in that transaction I don't even want to be in the loop you know it's so mind-numbingly boring it'swhy would any of my brain cells be wasted on this you know but tomorrow Ihave a call with my parents tomorrow morning in fact I have a call with my pension advisor this is the single mostimportant Financial set of transactions in my entire life and I I get I will talk to my pension advisor tomorrowmorning and he will tell me that the triple inverted tax flip overdub hasbeen replaced by an inverted Capital allowance literally no idea what he's talkingabout he may as well be talking to me in Mandarin Chinese I've and I'm an intelligent person I have no clue whathe's talking about so you have these two categories of transactions they're either there's transactions which is too boring people shouldn't be doing thembut should be doing them and there are transactions that are too important for people to do you know justlike in a few years time you won't be allowed to drive your car into the city center because it's manifestly moredangerous to let you drive the car than have the like if you want to drive a car you'll have to go to a special place todrive it you have to go to a park somewhere or one they are a track yeah or a crack you know why would you allowpeople to drive cars around this is madness yeah they're too risky like the connection make the connection totransactions so I want to understand why do you why do you allow people to make decisions about their pensions and so onwhen they clearly don't understand what they're doing well who should do that for them should some government if you do thatI don't know why I don't have to be a government agency well I'm just trying to think if you're saying that people cannot make and they're not they're notcapable of making decisions or the decisions are too too complicated for them that implies that some other personit's probably like an 1820 rule there Robert actually it's probably like a a 98-2 rule like for the overwhelmingmajority of people you know basically a pretty simple ml you know and a botcould really like for the average person to be told listen you need to take out a bank loan to pay off that credit carddebt and you need to put that Surplus into this pension account like this does not need this no we just need we justneed an AI to manage our money in the optimal most optimal for most people themost yes and frankly frankly even getting a financial analyst to lookafter your money today and give you advice on that is fraud because a you know they're incentivized to you knowtry and get you to invest in certain products that where they get the the most commission and secondly you knowanalysts and banks in general are trying to get you to make decisions to for forthem to make fee off your money right so um what you want is you want to take that element out of their Sim and intheir Financial Services System we've had this concept of financial education or financial literacy which is all itbasically says is you need to have a certain level of Education or literacy so you understand the financial systemas the bankers have designed it right I just don't see this as a way forward like in any version of the future whichrequires people to learn anything I just don't see it you know I'd say I was joking you know you say we if youimagine you have these Bots working for people like in the UK would say well maybe this would be like a kind ofnational wealth service instead of a National Health Service for the National Health Service you didn't make a National Health Service by teachingeverybody medicine and teaching them how to be Dochere are qualified people who do this if you break your leg you go see the doctor and he fixes it like it's a similar kindof thing right and all of those algorithms the machine learning we're seeing but particularly in areas likediagnostics for example because it's collecting all of the best humanum you know knowledge in respect to medicine or Diagnostics is actually outperforming humans now right but butin medicine that's done to support the doctors like it's done to make life but better for the doctors better for thepatients you know I don't see why Finance would be any different so so this idea that you know people should beyou know this be your own bank thing that comes out of the Bitcoin like these people are insane that's a literallythat's the worst possible way you could imagine running anything so so I look Isort of think you know Brett's right about the role of AI and all of this I I just guess what I think is probablyunderrepresented in the thinking is that when people talk about AI in banking andfinance they tend to think about the banks having the AI and and you know personalizing service and doing chatBots and whatever and when I log into the bank I get served by a very believable Avatar of Robert De Niroplaying Bernie Madoff in that that all you actually need is a smart wallet but you don't want to be entertainedwhen I go you know but the point is that that's the the real revolution infinancial services is when customers get the AI not when the banks get yeah exactly so that's not thought throughenough we're heading into the break but before that we like to do our quick fire round Dave's these are quick answersright um so I know that's very difficult for you but I'm going to pin you down to itso um all right so here's here's our quick fire lightning roundwhat was the first science fiction you remember being exposed to on TV or viabooks uh well on TV it would have been Doctor Who without shadow of a doubt as an integral part of my childhood interms of books I'm I can't actually remember but the stuff I grew up reading was the kind of golden age stuff yeahand the the re the writer that I devoured when I was a kid was Isaac Asimov yeah amazingum what technology do you think has most changed Humanityair conditioning that's a pretty cool one actually no it's like you see again this isn't methis is because I've read Robert Gordon's uh history of American productivityso I know the I know the actual figures you know there you go there you goum but you've already mentioned azimov so this that might be the answer but can you name a futurist or entrepreneur thathas personally influenced you and and why uh well entrepreneurs there's probablyquite a few that I've I've paid attention I suppose like everybody of my generation we all look at sort of Steve Jobs I mean how how much he's inspired Ican't say in terms of Futures I I always point the finger at the same person which is William Gibson because the forthe early part of my career was in Secure Communications technology I did a lot of work in Military and civilian uhsatellite Communications and early networking and I remember the first time I read anything by Gibson it's justyou're you're a future technically brilliant yeah and suddenly you realize like oh my God now I understand what I'mdoing like a real artist he showed you you know what I mean like and all of asudden all the stuff I was working on these networks and I could visualize them in a way I haven't before so Ialways I always point at Gibson okay andum last one what is the best prediction an entrepreneur futurist or science sciencefiction practitioner has ever made do you think no everybody knows the answer to that it's Arthur C Clarke and thecommunication satellite there you go the clock orbit which we now refer to asgeosynchronous or but yeah yeah yeah so it was a pretty interesting point andhe's pretty prescient on the internet too you know um as was David Bowie actually well that's great let's take aquick break that's true absolutely um we'll take a quick break and thenafter the break we're going to get full futurist on the future of money and identity with Dave Birch you'relistening to the futurists provoked media is proud to sponsor produce and support the futurist podcastprovoke.fm is a global podcast Network and content creation company with theworld's leading fintech podcast and radio show Breaking Banks and of course it's spin-off podcast breaking BanksEurope breaking Banks Asia Pacific and the fintech 5. but we also produce the officialphenovate podcast Tech on reg emerge everywhere the podcast of the FinancialHealth Network and next-gen Banker for information about all our podcasts go toprovoke.fm or check out breaking Banks the world's number one fintech podcastand radio show welcome back to the futurists I'm BrettKing your host along with Rob turc um and our guest this week is Dave Birch but before we jump back into the futureof money and identity Rob take us through this week's news from the future on our Deep divecool this week I want to talk about nft's non-fungible Tokens The Generalperception is that the the field of cryptocurrency is in a state of chaos and that's evidenced by the collapse ofbeing exchanges like FTX and other big players in the cryptocurrency fieldum that said there's been a lively Innovation happening in non-fungible tokens non-fungible tokens havedifferent properties from other cryptocurrencies one of the interesting things about them is that they make itpossible for people to exchange things that aren't money they create Lively markets for other kinds of itemsincluding things that pertain to Identity the topic I thought would be interesting for today is to talk about brand identity in nftuh most of us think about non-fungible tokens for things like artwork and they work quite well for that there were somespectacular cells about 20 billion dollars of transactions in 2021 and byall accounts it's going to be more than that this year despite the Meltdown in the cryptocurrency so the field of thenfts is growing and Lively but what's interesting to me is that the major brands are moving into this space andyou'd think given all the chaos in cryptocurrency they'd be quite cautious companies like fashion brands uh likeDolce Gabbana Gucci Lacoste Louis Vuitton Prada and sports brands likeNike it's generated more than 200 billion 200 million dollars in the space already and Adidas have been at the veryForefront but other kinds of brands have also been very active with nfts issuing their own nfts that includes beverageBrands like Budweiser Robert Mondavi wine the Scottish distillers majorsports brands in the United States uh than the NBA the NFL the football leaguethe Major League Baseball and of course the European soccer league leagues as well media Brands like Walt DisneyWarner Brothers paramounts BBC Studios have also issued nfts and many gamecompanies have experimented with nfts inside of games to create currencies a lot of this would be shocked up to akind of innovation exercise or experimentation they're fairly small scale in terms of the number of coinsthat being offered in some cases they're not attempting to monetize in some cases they're doing it for charity purposesbecause this is mostly a marketing exercise so it's not they're not their objective isn't to make a profit on thenft sales but they do understand one thing that's really important fans super fans want to identify with the brandsthat they love and they want to purchase that identity in some cases and they want to share that with people and sowhat we're starting to see is kind of like an opt-in Community emerge here this has been a very Lively field and it continues to growum so I thought we'd kick off with that as a notion and that helps us talk a little bit more about the future ofidentity and some of the ways it's evolving because of course when we think about identity it's not limited to people identity there's identity forthings there's identity for products identity for locations and so forth now uh Dave at the break we were talkinga little bit about cryptocurrency and um let's let's get into that subject uh youknow the the the problems of identity the lack of identity on the web led to the rise of the big web 2-0 companiesum you know our social media networks in a way they manage our identities for us we opt in we share a ton of information with them and they make a livelybusiness out of monetizing those identities um by targeting ads at us and that's worked pretty well until recently whereApple's shaken it up a bit and now we're going to a cookie-less web browsing experience that will shake that up evenmore and that creates an opportunity for some form of decentralization that's really at the core of the web freemovement it's not quite the same as cryptocurrency but it does rely on the blockchainDave if you would share with us some perspectives about decentralized identity foreignI think that the underlying Technologies here are really pretty indeed you knowthis idea that you'll have some sort of wallet this wallet will contain multiple identities those identities can be theowner of of both you know plungible tokens like cryptocurrency like you knowdollars as well as non-fungible tokens I I think that's really pretty interestingand and actually in many ways I think this is much more interesting than than just the straight kind of cryptocurrencystory itself you know nfts in particular you know people tend to think aboutthose as stupid pictures of chimpanzees with sunglasses on that people paid three hundred thousand dollars for nowthey're worth nine cents and so they kind of write off the whole kind of nft thing but actually nfts this idea thatyou can have digital objects which have the same fundamental characteristic as physicalobjects in their uncopyable we don't yet have a Star Trek replicatorand even if we did you could think of nfts as being a sort of gold press latinum that won't go through the replicator this is a genuinelyinteresting development in the history of online so up until relatively recentlywe thought that everything that was digital could be copied um whether it's an artwork or a song ora computer program or anything else is a data it can be just copied the really interesting thing about tokens is theycan't be copied and that's that's profound I mean that's really interesting so now you have digitalobjects that people can actually own because they're big because and people don't own those at the moment so so Imean people talk about oh look at fortnite you know is this the future where you you know you're going fortniteand you work hard and you buy a hat in fortnite and everybody wants this hat and so on but the point is you don't youdon't own the hat fortnite does uh it's it's a so this idea that you can havethese digital objects that can actually belong to somebody I think that really is very interesting and I think thereare certain I'll give you a very simple example you read all that stuff in the papers last week about Taylor Swiftyeah yeah mm-hmm yeah so I read it so I I couldn't pick Taylor Swift Out of apolice lineup as far as I know I've never heard any of her music I wouldn't know but you know she's famous and andthere was this thing about her tickets like and I'm thinking why are all these people involvedtickets concert tickets are the perfect example of an nft they are absolutelyunique like a ticket for row b c 27 atthis night at Madison Square Garden that is a perfect example of something that should be an nft yeah there shouldn't beany issue of People counterfeiting barcodes or turning up with copies of tickets or no because there's only oneyeah yeah or scalping there's wellyou know why why is it considered like if I buy a share in apple because Ithink it's going to go up that's okay but if I buy a ticket for a Taylor Swift concert because I think it's going to goup that's bad I don't understand why is that I don't get that yeah but the nftsenable a secondary Market where royalty of courseyou know and Taylor Swift would have just minted all of her concert tickets as nfts and just sold them on eBay whatelse Ticketmaster got to do with it and the interesting thing is Ticketmaster is now has partnered with uh with thecompany that that did NBA uh Top Shot to create nft tickets and there's a lot of there's a lot of uh evidence to supportwhat you're saying there's some trouble right now with scanning those you know with at the um at a concert venue youknow you know obviously my why do you need to scan like I can't just walk through an electronic gate you knowtransactions per second on the blockchain are quite slow and so uh when you have 50 000 people trying to comeinto a concert venue you in the space of a couple of hours if it takes 12 seconds to verify each one that that creates abattery yeah festivals now is that they're creating a separate line for the nft holders because they are creating this kind oflike lifetime membership concept that's because you know these nft experiments are going on on ethereum andthese other blockchains the thing is while it makes sense to have them onsome form of distributed Ledger technology it's completely not obvious to me why that should be a blockchain soa blockchain is a very very specific problem so a very very specificparticularly a public blockchain it doesn't necessarily have to be a public public yeah yeah so so the so the pointis you know uh that I I I I agree like if you're going to do it using Bitcoin or ethereum or something yeah it's alltoo slow and blah blah but I don't think that means anything about the future I think the point the future is part of itwould you would you highlighted at the beginning is there's something different about nfts because we never used to havethat and now we do and so how do people respond to that uh I mean one of the things that'sdifferent is now now you can have ownership without possession you don't actually have to possess a physical item and you can still have ownership of itand you can transfer that ownership this is really the the powerful aspect I think of nftbecause it makes it possible to transfer ownership yeah and in in financial terms I thinkit means that you can have liquid markets in things that didn't used to be liquid that's right so you know Brettand I can trade a square inch of the Mona Lisa or you know tickets to a Dodgers game or I mean whatever we cantrade things in continuous liquid markets where identity can be established I mean these markets will bereputation markets not identity markets where we can't cheat each other where we can't forge where there's a kind oftransparency to what's going on which in in many ways is a really importantfactor in the future Financial infrastructure that we don't have now this kind of transparency so I I I thinkyou're on the money there Robert I think nfts are really interesting can I ask you Dave sort of taking this in aslightly different direction but you know we're now um you know let's think about the problems that identity needs to solve soone of the problems we have you know emerging on Twitter at the moment for example is you know under the the bannerof you know quote-unquote free speech is that you have Bad actors who arepretending to be other people um you know and other brands and things like that but you know how to you knowin in this world of disinformation that has really created a ton of Chaoshow do we attribute you know these things not to Russian Bots and you knowand and trolls and so forth how do we get to a point where when someone sayssomething that is extremely damaging to society that can create violence against a group of people for example how do wehold them responsible given the changes we're going to need in Identity or is that even possibleI mean I think there's a there's a political problem there which is out outside my technological envelope butwhat I would observe is there there are really two distinct problems here which have been sort of jumbled up a littlebit so when um Elon Musk was was was takingover Twitter one of his major complaints was that there's too many Bots and that's true there's an issue sothere is a technical issue which is how do I know whether you're a bot or not that's actually quite easy to solve theyI don't know why they don't do this like when I when I go and create my Twitter account you could just bounce me to mybank and for get me to log into the bank the bank knows that I'm a real person or not the bank can send back acryptographic token that tells Twitter yes this is one of our account holders with no personally identifiableinformation in it it's none of Twitter's business who I am just an authentication yeah it's just this like am I a personor am I a bot that's like one issue which actually is quite easy to solve I think that's why he's trying to getpeople to subscribe for the verified identity because then I say this is why that this is right clarification thingso so problem a is am I a person right problem B is am I this Dave Birchand Twitter I think personally is it's none of their business neither of thoseproblems are twid Twitter it should be operating The Social Network properly they should be policing and they shouldbe working out how followers work and who I am why is that any of Twitter's business I don't understand that butisn't it isn't it um like Twitter's responsibility to ensurethat if you're going to represent yourself as someone or put some ideas forward that there needs to beaccountability for that yeah but why does that come from Twitter I mean for example if you're trying ifyou're trying to find so this is digital identity infrastructure essentially or are you the Brett King well that rightwho knows that you're the bread King well actually LinkedIn does so but how Imean this is this is sort of really when we come to this question of decentralized identity versuscentralized because if you are going to have an identity system that enables youto verify who you are when you're transacting when you're asking for medical advice when you're sending yourkids to school when you're driving on the road you know Etc um you know this needs to be really coreinfrastructure foreign just because the identity is decentralized so so I mean if you wantme to be horrible technical nerd about this when when you say decentralized identity what I hear is control overprivate keys so are the private Keys held in some place or are they decentralized held by methat's quite as a completely separate problem from who attaches credentials to the associated public keys so so if yousay like am I a doctor for example what is that what does that actually mean what that means is I need to present acredential which contains the fact that I'm a doctor and it has to be signed by someone that you'll trust like if I sayoh I'm a doctor you'd be like whatever you know I need to see a thing that says you're a doctor that's signed by theAmerican Medical Association or the hospital or whatever now you will have the public key of thehospital you can immediately check is that is that really from the hospital or does that mean like those things are Iwouldn't say trivial but the point is we understand exactly how to resolve all that stuff so the location of theprivate key and the signing of things that are attached to the public keys are are distinct issues you can have adecentralized identity infrastructure with a with a with a reputation systemthat works perfectly on top of it because when you challenge that certificate I I present the thing thatsays I'm a doctor under the hood you're constructing a cryptographic challenge against the public key that can only beanswered by the person who has the corresponding private key so what I'm in practice doing when I put my thumb on myiPhone or look at it or whatever is I'm demonstrating control of the corresponding private key now but butbut this uh this can't realistically occur with out at least aum a standard for identity that is published or must be appeared and it's happening right now Brett it's happeningbut in a in a fragmented haphazard fashion so for instance today if I log into Googleum it's going to ask me for two-factor identity and I have to go to my phone and log into the Google app just to prove that it's me but it works right Imean it's only within Google's ecosystem that it will work but they're making a big play for this right because they'retrying to extend Google identity across the web and they'd like to continue to control it just like Facebook and presumably Apple's going to follow downthis path as well this is what the big web 2 companies are seeking to do if you want to be more speculative aboutthat Brett I think one thing to think about might be who is it that underwrites those so because we we youknow I'm a boring old person I'm very reactionate I assume that eventually the banks are going to get their act together and sort this out so when I goto log into Twitter and prove that I'm a person it'll be my bank that does it but actually there are other candidates yeahright like Walmart knows that I'm a person you know the Disney Channel might knowthat I'm over 18.have a huge opportunity here that they're not currently doing much with frankly they know much more about usthan they're willing to let on Dave let me offer an idea here that you might find interesting because this is a field that's uh quite futuristic uh in the inthe field of decentralized autonomous organizations where many of the participants are are Anonymous and theythey we don't even know where they are and they don't want that information to be known by the other members of the Dowbut yet people are working collaboratively towards a goal and they can actually run a business this way soit's a novel kind of an organization uh the way you build identity there where you don't know who the people areis with reputation tokens and so you earn reputation tokens based on positive contributions to the communityum and if the community feels your contributions are not positive you know like the kind of crazy stuff we see on Twitter and Reddit then your reputationwill be voted down by the community so over time people can be quite cautious about the contributions they make ifthey want to have a better reputation what I've learned is that if you're a member of multiple doubts and manypeople are um as you build up reputation tokens a reputation uh inside of each of thesedials that is a perfect fingerprint that is aperfectly unique identity across multiple dials or you've got a reputation token uh you know multiplereputations across multiple dials can't be replicated by anybody else because you have to earn it over time and youhave to earn it with the community's consent and what we don't need there is the traditional identifiers you know mymy weight my height my face my fingerprint uh my address uh my birth date the stuff that government identityrelies upon and the stuff that as Brett pointed out earlier is you know easily stolen on the web and it's not very easyto protect so it doesn't seem to be the right approach this idea is quite different and I think it's a reallyfascinating and fun idea because it's identity that is placeless and actually Anonymous you don't really need to knowwho the you don't need to know if it's a man or a woman what country they're from and so forth It's just is this person a reliable contributor to this communityover time that reputation score builds up uh so that becomes the basis for thedistribution of proceeds inside of a dow based on how much reputation you have that's how much you're going to get paidwhen there's a distribution from uh of Revenue or of profit to the partners in the dome it's a fascinating New Conceptand wait yeah and I think I think this is a really interesting line of thinking Robert because also it also contains theseeds of the sort of kind of Law and Order side of this thingyou know if I misbehave in one of thoselike if I if I'm speeding in my car on the way home and I get caught I'll get fined whatever it is I know 50 pounds orsomething I pay and carry on if I do something really bad in one ofthese uh Dows and I get shut out of it that's a really serious punishment yeahlike you know I so I I will behave myself because if if I get cut outthat's really bad for me your future income will be cut off right from there down so there's kind of a there's athere's a line of argument which says actually when these things are structured properly people will behavebetter more constructively in those Virtual Worlds than in the actual world and I I I'm not sure if it isn't thatthe argument for Sesame Credit in China and then you see what's happening now the protesters against covert aregetting there that's a centralized system though and it's used by government to controlpeople right we're talking here about a completely opt-in system where you voluntarily participate if you want to drop out you canhere's an interesting question for you Dave from this is is what what about theidentity of the Dow what about identities of AIS and these um you know Bots and agents will be transacting onthe web how how do we come to trust those um you know digital constructsyes it's so interesting talking to you guys I love it umwell look you know the the reputation would apply to a bot just the same as itwould apply to a person like if you're if you're a bot that makes constructive suggestions about I don't knowyou know let's say you know you talk about you you said earlier about sports fans I wonder so like I belong to aSports Fan's group and we have interesting conversations about about the World Cup and uh you know who theGermany manager picked tonight for the like and and I cut I I think you're really into you know you make reallysensible contributions to this and I like your thoughts about this and I you know I I like the way you think aboutthe team construction why would I care whether you're a person or not you know yeahit doesn't really matter if you're purely reputational environment yeah you know now in Elon musk's world there'sgood reason to care whether you're a bot or not because I don't want to sell you advertising that's a waste of money for advertising to a quad of course soknowing you're a bot or not makes sense in some circumstances but not in others and if you if it is areputational economy then why would the reputation depend on whether you're a person or not unless it was a personalreputation if you see what I mean so and I look I'll tell you one very quick story Robert about this I once I want II used to read a newsletter about digital money and one day it showed up with a little thing at the bottom whichsaid I'm really sorry I just can't afford to do this for free anymore you know somebody needs to sponsor this or Ican't do it and I love this newsletter so I'll sponsor it for the company so I said okay we'll give you whatever it wasa thousand dollars on it and I get back a message which says that's great but actually to save on F can you just wirethe money to our ISP to pay for our ISP Bill I said sure give me the details so I send the money to the ISP thenewsletter shows up with thanks to consult type hearing at the bottom I'm happy I'm still getting the newsletterright I have no idea whether newsletter was produced by a room full of studentssub-genius guy agents of a foreign power I don't even know it was useful to me Ipaid for it did I care whether it was a person or not I did not I did notokay so um two bit we want to get big picture now totally sci-fi here Dave soum breaks come off okay um 30 years out 50 years outwhat has happened to money and identity well hopefully identity will will haveshifted into a reputation I mean I hope this will happen whether it's driven by the Banks or Disney or Walmart Icouldn't say but I think it's coming money I said in I said in one of myother books Beyond um before Babylon Beyond Bitcoin I said that I thought the next evolution ofmoney would be more community-oriented I kind of Stand by that and when you see the interesting things going onbecause the new technology lowers the cost of going into the money business you'd reasonably expect to see moreexperimentation and more different kinds of money and I just have a feeling that the kinds of money that will getattraction will be kinds of money that reflect the values of of the communitiesthat use them you know you could imagine imagine there was an Islamic electronic currency that was based on gold right nono non-interest bearing currency that was based on that could have a billion users nothing to do with like Financeor suppose Suppose there was a Suppose there was a kind of money that was onlywas only created using green ecos like there could be billions of people that use that Earth coin so this Earth coinyeah exactly so I said in my head so so this idea that you you would have moneythat embodied some values or purpose yeah and used it I I can sort of see theseeds of that being sown now you know so the idea that everybody willbe using dollars um I don't know I don't know how to Vlogthe nft thing too much here but that is actually what's happening that's why nfts have been durable during this meltdown you don't have to convince asmany people that they're valuable it's a smaller Community where with a general purpose cryptocurrency you've got toconvince everybody that it's a unit of accounts or medium of exchange or a store of value and candidly they haven'treally demonstrated that very well even with Bitcoin but with nfts you only have to convince a thousand people that thatactually has some value and that the character I don't think we need nfts I think we need pdtspurpose-driven tokens Yeah well yeah first I think utilityfeatures is yeah no I think that that's a big field of growth all right Daveum here's where we want to wrap up uh now I want you to get totally sci-fium you know like 30 50 years out again long long Horizon stuffum what are you most excited about for our long-term future as a human speciesjust a little question I think you know in the long termthe octopuses are going to take over so thanks for all the fish thanks for allthe fish um what I'm most excited about I I was listening earlier on to the uh TomStandish from The Economist was doing his um you know forecast of the year ahead he's very I know Tommy he's a verysmart guy and one of his four well it's not his Focus he's collated these from otherfuturists was you know you know there's weird things happen right a weirdoutcome of the war in Ukraine is an acceleration of green energy becausepeople want sustainable energy like it would never have come in another yeahyeah so that's been brought forward so I I think in 50 years timethere will be a giant solar farm in the Sahara which will supply energy to most ofEurope as well as Africa um Africa's biggest export will beenergy at that point um and the cable that's gonna by the way people are building talking about doingthis right now there's going to be a cable that runs from Morocco to Cornwall to powering so if you think like what'sgoing to be really different in 50 years time I think it's going to be energy I Ido you know what what's really interesting is if you research um you know the the concept of turningthe you know part of the Sahara into a massive solar farm that the side effectsof that is that in a couple of hundred years that Sahara will be arranged for us because that heatsink that it createsdraws moisture in and it's very interesting to look at that it's I know it's off on the track but anywaythere's always this futurist thing like if you want to look 50 years forward you have to look a hundred years back rightand so if you look at what what's what's really going to be like if if the internet is connected into my head it'sstill the internet you know um what's going to be really different uh just it's going to be energy I justyeah free energy is also going to change the way we think about economics and everything Dave Birch thanks for joiningus this week on the futurist where can people follow your musings your your writings and so forth It's all atwww.dgwbirch.com dgw Birch and that's of course yourTwitter handle as well yeah yeah and Linkedin uh that's it so uh rob you want to takeus out this week sure thing well Dave it's been a great pleasure to meet you and I've enjoyed your book and your comments immensely thank you for joiningus this week um folks if you've enjoyed listening to the futurists that's it for this week but we'll be back next week with anothershow and in the meantime tell a friend about our show if you like it please leave a five-star review review whereveryou listen to podcasts on Spotify apple or anyplace else that helps other peoplediscover the show and we've been so grateful for those who've done it because the number of people listeningto the podcast is growing really quickly so thanks to those who've done that already yeah we've had over a hundredthousand downloads already and Brett and I welcome suggestions and questions and comments we start to get a number ofthose from people who are listening uh questions about the future suggestions for improving the show and suggestionsfor Gus we welcome that as well so please keep sending that stuff our way and then we finally want to thank ourproduction team at provoke media including Kevin hershern or our producer and audio sound engineer who's going tohave a hell of a time this week fixing the show but I'm sure he's up to the task and to Elizabeth Stevens and SylvieJohnson who produced the show this week thank you all very much for listening and we will see youin the future [Music]well that's it for the futurists this week if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share itwith people in your community and don't forget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find theshow and you can ping us anytime on Instagram and Twitter at futuristpodcastfor the folks that you'd like to see on the show or the questions that you'd like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we'llsee you in the future

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