At the beginning of this year I wrote that the transition to universal mobile digital money is likely to be among the most exciting, important and challenging projects the world will undertake in the coming decades. Everything I have learned through the year indicates that, while still in the very early stages, the transition is well underway and gathering momentum.
This transition involves a lot more than the transformation of money - cash, checks, credit and debit cards, and so on, - from physical to digital objects that we will carry in our smart mobile devices. It encompasses the whole money ecosystem, including the global payment infrastructures, the management of personal identities and personal financial data, the global financial flows among institutions and between institutions and individuals, the government regulatory regimes, and so on.
In other words, just about every aspect of the world’s economy is involved. Over time, mobile devices will truly become our personal windows into an increasingly global, digital economy. This will take decades to fully play out, - historical transitions take their time. But, it is most definitely underway, with an increasing number of market pilots and research studies already taking place around the world.
As part of my work with Citi, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the implications of this historical transition to a digital money ecosystem. The more I learn about it, the more I am convinced that this is truly a major paradigm shift that will change the very way we think about money.