This paper by DCI Reserach Scientist Robleh Ali sets out a structure for a digital fiat currency system. Bitcoin showed that functions of the financial system could be reliably executed by decentralized networks and in doing so raised the prospect of a new financial system. Almost a decade later, Bitcoin still works despite frequent predictions of its demise but the overwhelming majority of payments still use fiat currencies and the financial system is unchanged. We propose a cellular structure in which digital fiat currency issuers and transaction validators create functionally separate ledgers, decentralized but capable of cohering into a single system for moving digital money. The primary benefit of the cellular structure is that it lowers barriers to entry for payments by using trustless intermediation between cells in the system. The larger purpose of this structure is to create an open foundation for a decentralized financial system in which competition can thrive but which cannot be captured by private interests.
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"Emphasizing that not all products are the same for development is a significant departure from the establishment."—Changyong Rhee, Chief Economist
Asian Development Bank (Cambridge, MA 2011)
"The ECI can play a very important role. It can help identify the role of developing countries."—Justin Lin, Chief Economist
World Bank (Cambridge, MA 2011)
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