Banking in 2048: A Story From the Future

Tom Short
June 10, 2020

January 24, 2048 – San Francisco – Today marks the bicentennial of the discovery of gold in the American River at Sutters Mill in the Sierra foothills of California. Wells Fargo CitiBank, which in its early days grew quickly in part due to the gold rush, announced special celebrations to mark this historic date, as well as deliver news on reaching an important milestone in their history. 

Last week the global bank announced they had reached five trillion dollars in assets, the majority of which is held in their WFX digital asset coin (0.99943/USD, as of 5:00pm UTC). 

Since its merger with CitiBank ten years ago, Wells Fargo has remained the largest bank in the United States and is the fifth-largest bank in the world by assets. 

Their WFX digital asset coin is an area they dominate globally in banking, with more assets held in the coin by more account holders than any other banking concern.

Fed USDD

In other news, the Federal Reserve announced a new round of UBI payments to support those who lost work due to the resurgence of a flu-like virus that caused businesses to send people home and reduce or cease operations. This is the fourth time this has happened on such a wide scale since the COVID-19 virus pandemic in 2020-2022. 

Along with the new round of payments, the Fed also announced that they have completely eliminated using traditional paper checks and payments in US Dollars, relying instead on payment in USDD (US Digital Dollar) directly to registered digital wallet holders no matter where they are in the world. 

The Fed claims this approach allows them to get funds to all eligible recipients, including those who are unbanked, in less than 30 seconds after receiving Congressional approval and at no cost for paper, printing or postage, saving time and some $250 million in expense and greatly reduced risk of fraud. 

Over the last 20 years, the Fed has slowly built the infrastructure needed to support this system, starting with getting the green light to roll out the US-issued USDD central bank digital currency back in 2028. The timing for this coincided with a second virus pandemic that required support payments, which the Fed discovered could be easily and inexpensively delivered to anyone with a digital wallet. 

This led to a great Federal Reserve-backed promotional effort to help people understand the advantages of setting up and using a digital wallet, which the banking system got behind and pushed even further. 

The above article from the future is the product of a Scenario Planning exercise we did internally at Nex Cubed while considering the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on various federal functions and related legislation, including the recent flurry of Congressional bills related to cryptocurrency and blockchain. We think it’s a useful tool in times like these where things are wildly unpredictable, whether we are working with one of our startups or another one of our Corporate Innovation Partners. 

You may be surprised that Scenario Planning originated in the 1970s when Royal Dutch Shell developed and popularized this strategic planning technique. Unlike traditional strategic planning, which assumes a predictable growth curve based on recent history, scenario planning aims to create a set of hypothetical future states and accepts that any one of them may eventuate. 

Each scenario is then walked back from the future to the present, and tell-tale indicators are identified along with strategic action plans to put in motion when those indicators are observed. This gives companies the ability to “see around corners” compared to the competitors that assume a single version of the future — and make their strategic bets accordingly. 

Scenarios are a powerful way of helping you think about how what’s happening now may affect your business in the future. Being able to “see around corners” gives you the ability to identify which actions you can take right now – and which ones you should be ready to take when the time is right. 

At Nex Cubed our staff and advisors have worked with hundreds of technology startups, many of which have gone on to successful launches. We help corporate innovation teams not only build “fast cars” — we help them see around corners, too!

Tom Short is a strategic advisor at Nex Cubed and Principal at Tom Short Consulting where he provides strategic messaging for startups and non-profits.

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