NewTech is bringing prices down on every
As usual, a small aside to show you how I am thinking here.
Ripple, a blockchain company specialising in money
transfers, invested $30 million into legacy money transfer
In return, MoneyGram implemented Ripple’s xRapid platform to
facilitate cross-border transactions using Ripple’s digital
For Ripple, this move broadened exposure. And this is a
competitive advantage for MoneyGram that will enable the
company to lower the transaction fees it charges.
MoneyGram usually takes 10–12% off every money transfer a
customer makes just to be profitable. That means customers
can send $100 to family members, but they will only receive
With Ripple, MoneyGram’s fees will drop to pennies on the
dollar. When customers send $100, $99 and change will get
where it’s going. Everyone wins. The only losers are
MoneyGram’s competitors, like Western Union.
Now let's have a brief look at what Tesla is doing.
The upcoming premium version of Autopilot will be fully
autonomous. We will be able to have our Tesla drive us from
Point A to Point B without us ever needing to touch the
Tesla was very clever with its business model.
It sells or leases the car, and then it offers software
upgrades like Autopilot for additional fees. Autopilot can
be purchased for $7,000 outright, but that steep price tag
is out of range for most consumers. That is why a
subscription model is so attractive.
Early estimations for the premium Autopilot package are just
over $100 per month. Tesla is imitating Silicon Valley
software companies by choosing a software-as-a-service
strategy. These models have been remarkably successful over
the last decade.
How many Tesla owners wouldn’t pay $100 per month to have
the car drive itself? It’s a great value proposition.
And then what happens when Tesla turns on its autonomous
Tesla’s taxi network will allow anyone who owns a Tesla with
the 100% self-driving package to put their car to work when
they aren’t using it. The car will go out and provide taxi
rides to consumers until it’s summoned back to the owner.
The owner will receive a large portion of the revenue
generated from these rides, which means the Tesla will
ultimately pay for itself. At that point, the car is free
for all practical purposes.
Who wouldn’t want to own a Tesla then? Think about it… Sign
a lease for a Tesla Model 3, and drive it home. Then,
monthly revenue from the robotic taxi service pays for the
lease and then some.
* * * * *
Square’s Cash App is growing like crazy. This is Square’s
money transferring application. The app allows peer-to-peer
money transfers with the push of a button.
Square’s quarterly report shows that the Cash App’s gross
profit grew 115% year-over-year. That’s amazing growth for
such a large platform.
The Cash App facilitated $222 million in dollar-based
transactions last quarter. That’s a solid base.
And the company saw a spike in direct deposits into the Cash
App. That means more consumers are choosing to have their
paychecks deposited into the Cash App rather than a
traditional bank account.
If consumers can save, invest, and buy goods and services
through the Cash App, what’s the point of having a bank
account? Consumers can even buy stocks on the Cash App.
Square Cash cuts out the middleman and makes it so consumers
never have to physically touch anything. All transactions
There are two interesting aspects to this and similar
First, a whole sector of the current commercial part of
society is being made redundant.
Disintermediation was a buzzword in the nineties. It means
getting rid of middlemen. However, blockchain is going to
usher in some serious disintermediation.
Why need a bank if all your money needs can be dealt with
digitally by simply using an app?
Self driving vehicles are going to put taxi drivers out of
work. How about truck drivers?
Who's going to want to employ a truck driver when the truck
can drive itself, and drive for hours without a break?
When smart contracts become the norm, how many more
businesses will go the same way?
As blockchains and smart contracts become more common and
even more sophisticated, a whole raft of disciplines will
vanish. Why would you need lawyers to deal with contractual
arguments when smart contracts control most deals? There are
bound to be residual arguments that need testing, but over
time the more straightforward arguments will not need
arguing, unless someone has used a badly-written smart
contract (a not-so-smart contract) in the first place.
Real estate conveyancers will become history very quickly
once the land registry goes over to a blockchain. As with
every other case there will be a short period when things
change from one system to the other, but once that change
has taken place, conveyancers will also be a thing of the
There is scarcely a business which cant be transformed by
the use of distributed ledgers. These developments are being
used to transform the logistics businesses, including the
scheduling of goods and container ships, routing and
delivering goods both nationally and internationally.
One further example of the move towards an almost
fully-digital connected world is the development of implants
to monitor health. These implants, once the 5G networks are
in place, will be able to be linked to digital medical
centres to monitor health, and maybe in time either transmit
instructions to the person, or even, in cases where the
patient already has a further implant such as a heart
monitor, to alter the implanted device in order to deal with
changes within the body.
This will, one hopes, cut down on the number of people
needing to be monitored and treated in hospital.
There is, of course, another way of looking at this.
Once you have an implant which is programmable by someone
else, you are immediately allowing control of yourself to
someone else. I hardly need point out how dangerous that
Not only are whole businesses being transformed, made more
efficient, and operated more cheaply, but in the process
whole swathes of jobs are disappearing almost by the day.
These new modes of operation are also able to be adapted by
self-learning routines as artificial intelligence begins to
be used in more and more applications. We are approaching
the point where these new technologies can be made self
operating, self learning, self improving, and self
This means that although initially these new technologies
will generate more jobs, ultimately those new jobs will also
be able to be done by robots.
Unskilled labour will disappear rather rapidly, and jobs
requiring the various levels of intelligence will gradually
go as well.
* * * * *
Central governments will want to maintain control of the
China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, is already
testing its new purely digital version of the renminbi,
China’s national currency.
The app handles all transactions. It also has a built-in
digital currency exchange. It’s everything citizens need to
earn, save, and spend in the country’s new digital currency.
The U.S. won’t be far behind with a purely digital version
of the dollar. Indeed, several countries are already
experimenting with similar developments.
Removing banknotes from circulation will force people to
transact on a single platform, using only a digital version
of the country's currency.
This will set the stage for a major showdown between
centralized digital currencies such as a U.S. digital dollar
and decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
Don’t be surprised when you walk into a store and see a
sign: “We accept bitcoin and U.S. e-dollars.”
The digital currency revolution isn’t years away, it's right