The Third Age of Credit

Originally @ TechCrunch
Society is beginning to wake up to a tremendous shift in one of the most fundamental underpinnings to how we live our lives: thecreditsystem. Even though it’s not commonly known,creditinfrastructure has existed about as long as civilization itself. In one way or another,creditsystems have always formalized the one essential basis for relationships between people: trust. Over millennia, the way credit looks, feels and is used has changed dramatically. Today, buoyed by a plethora of technologies and a golden age for abundant data, credit is undergoing its most radical change yet. But it is being pulled in many directions by competing forces, each with their own vision for the future. In the beginning, credit was highly personal and subjective — this persisted for thousands of years. Over the last century, a miracle happened: Driven mostly by statistical modeling, credit became for the first time “objective.” Yet today, the cracks in that system are beginning to sh…

Hacking the Social Welfare Protocol

Ripple offers banks a new way to settle international transactions in fractions of the usual time and cost. Australia plans to re-launch its stock market using blockchain technology. Bitcoin continues its meteoric climb in price as the CBOE releases futures trading. 2017 has witnessed a marked rise in blockchain technologies grabbing the headlines, but the more fascinating use cases may be quietly developing in the background.
What do a woman struggling to open a bank account in the Congo, refugees crowding a makeshift camp, and a forest slowly eroding to logging all have in common? They may be the next beneficiaries of blockchain technology.
Silicon Valley technologists are often maligned for creating “the internet of stuff your mom won’t do for you anymore,” and known (sometimes rightly) for focusing on lucrative solutions to first-world problems. The community that has grown around bitcoin sometimes fits eagerly into that mold.
And yet, away from the spotlight, small communities of te…