Despite best intentions of becoming a biologist, I’ve found myself reading the Economist instead of Nature, and sketching payment flows instead of specimens. Financial infrastructure is not a place of natural beauty or wonder. Like biology though, it is abstract, messy, and bewilderingly obfuscated. I’m hooked!
The system humanity has unanimously chosen to assess, hold, and transfer value is fantastic. With it:
- An individual can obtain a meal from a vendor by transferring – through an intermediary – the intangible value of their future work (Credit Cards)
- An individual can purchase partial ownership in dozens of newly formed companies in the hopes of at least one becoming a global household name (Venture Capital)
- A retailer can decide at the time of sale to extend credit to a stranger with high certainty of repayment (Installment Loans)
- An individual can live their entire life without touching any physical currency (Digital Banking and Payment Cards)
- A private company can track the financial behavior of nearly every citizen within a country, rank their financial trustworthiness, and sell it at profit (Credit Bureaus)
- A fraudster can, with trivial effort, can piece together bits of real people’s information to create a fake identity, and use that to enter the financial system (Synthetic Identity)
- A sustenance farmer can instantly receive a transfer of local currency from a loved one living on the opposite side of the planet (Remittances)
- And more..
Now is the golden age for Financial Infrastructure. It grows more complex daily thanks to the advent of:
- near ubiquitous interconnectedness;
- limitless, instant, and easily workable data; and,
- novel regulatory guidelines.
Where will this renaissance lead us? How will a highly efficient – and increasingly automated – financial system impact the world? Will dependence on algorithms for establishing trust and credit eliminate bias or reinforce it? If all payments become traceable, how will societies react? What about the individual?
While online content describing today’s financial system is inexhaustible, I’ve found the discussion on the its meanings and nuances thinner than it could be. Instead, most content boils down to corporate announcements, uninformed bombast, hyperbole, or dry reports. What engaging discussion that does take place is far too infrequent.
The subject deserves more.
I aim to help fill this gap with CURRENCCI by dissecting our global financial infrastructure. Content will focus on exploring the complexities of the financial system, and how it does and will affect both individuals and societies at large.
Cut down to its core, the financial ecosystem is a living manifestation of trust, an evolutionary tree of human attempts, the foundational web of modern society. Through it, the best and worst of human expression is written daily. While a lab-coat may not be necessary, studying the financial ecosystem allows us to explore the very nature of human brain-work. I hope you will join me in exploring this natural science, and please feel free to reach out through the contact section of this site.