Not just Bitcoin: How will multiple digital currencies compete, succeed, and fail?


Bitcoin surpassing a valuation of $1,000 yesterday is a real landmark, giving the currency a market capitalization of almost $12 billion and 75-fold growth in value this year.

However Bitcoin is not the only digital currency, simply the most prominent. As Bitcoin’s value has soared, partly driven by a positive response from Senate committees last week, participants have looked further afield to see whether there may be other alternatives that have not risen by so much already.

The second most prominent currency is Litecoin, with a market capitalization of over $1 billion. After that Peercoin and Namecoin currently have capitalizations of close to $80 million, followed by a number of others from $20 million and down in a long tail, with the 23rd ranked currency, Goldcoin, still valued at over $1 million.

Litecoin is over 10 times its value from just 10 days ago, with Peercoin growing 4-fold and Namecoin 12-fold in value over the same period.

The following chart is a snapshot from Coinmarketcap, which provides real-time information on digital currencies. The table shows the largest currencies by market cap, with the chart on the right hand side showing growth over the last 90 days.

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Latest global comparison of household Internet speeds


The speed at which we can access the internet is important. Very important.

I’ve written before on the evidence that internet bandwidth is a key driver of economic growth and online participation, and there is plenty of other research to point to its role in social value creation.

A decent source of data on internet speeds across countries is, which aggregates the data from all the tests it does for its users. In quite a few countries it does not have extensive usage, however with a few exceptions the data usually appears to be fairly representative.

It has just provided a new update of Internet bandwidth country comparison data on its NetIndex site, including a chart of speeds over the last 2 1/2 years.

A selection of the data is shown below.

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The case for the death of cash by the hand of digital currencies


This morning I gave the opening keynote at the ATM and Branch Automation Seminar run by Payments Consulting Network.

In my keynote I spoke about the broader trends in technology, society, and business, and then looked at some of the uncertainties impacting ATMs and branches. Clearly one of the most important is the future of cash.

I noted that while I’m happy to predict the timing of the death of newspapers, I’m not prepared to make firm forecasts on the death of cash. The uncertainties are simply too big.

There are many payment mechanisms that are replacing cash, notably mobile wallets and contactless cards, and in many developed countries there is clear evidence that these are beginning to reduce demand for cash.

However this does not mean cash will die.
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Meeting of the Minds: Key future trends with Ross Dawson and Gerd Leonhard


When I was in Switzerland recently, esteemed colleague Gerd Leonhard and I recorded a number of video conversations, produced by Jonathan Marks. Following ones on Big Data, the future of privacy, and the future of Switzerland, here is our conversation on Key future trends.

For more conversations about the future see Meeting of the Minds.

After discussing some of the major trends, we go on to discuss our own preferred futures.

Trends and implications that we raise and discuss in the video include:
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[VIDEO] Conversation with Gerd Leonhard: The future of Switzerland


When I was recently visiting Switzerland to deliver a keynote on the future of work my colleague Gerd Leonhard and I recorded a series of video conversations that are featured in his Meeting of the Minds series.

Following our conversations on the implications of Big Data and the future of privacy, here is our dialogue on the future of Switzerland.

While I haven’t spent a lot of time in Switzerland recently, I lived there for 13 years in my childhood, so do have experiences and perspectives to bring to bear on the topic.

Here are some of the issues we discuss in the video:
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Metropolitan IQ and Urban metabolism: Great case studies of innovative, collaborative cities


Last week I went to the launch of an excellent issues paper created by The Committee for Sydney, titled #wethecity: Collaborating to Compete in the Digital Era.

Lucy Turnbull, chair of Committee of Sydney, notes in her opening comments that:
Cities are collaborating to compete and the ones that collaborate most compete best.

The paper focuses on the challenges and opportunities for Sydney, with the summary recommendations at the bottom of this post.

However to understand how innovative cities can be designed, the paper notes that [Leading cities] invest in the art and practice of what we could describe as “systematic serendipity”.

It draws on 16 excellent case studies of how to develop “metropolitan IQ” and a healthy “urban metabolism” (analogies I of course love), including both international and Australian examples. These are summarized below and described in detail in the paper:
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Emerging markets professionals are at the vanguard of the future of professional work


A very interesting global survey title The Professional Revolution has just been released by Thomson Reuters (Disclosure: I long ago worked for its predecessor Thomson Financial as Global Director – Capital Markets).

The report uncovers a number of very interesting insights into professionals and professional work. One of the most interesting is the differences between emerging market and developed market professionals.

The most interesting statistics from the report, shown below, show emerging market professionals demonstrating clear leadership in creating the future of professional work.

Source of all charts is the report The Professional Revolution.

Emerging market professionals are substantially more entrepreneurial than their developed market counterparts, wanting to drive change and initiatives, and preferring a competitive environment. They also recognize there is no conflict between competition and collaboration, and that collaborative work is the essence of professional growth and work satisfaction.
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Study: Global comparisons of news consumption and shifting channels


The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford has just published the very interesting 110 page Digital News Report 2013, which draws on an extensive survey of news consumption across nine major countries.

Below are a selection of some of the most interesting data points in the report, focusing on how people are paying for news, along with brief commentary. Source for all data is Digital News Report 2013

There is very strong variation in the degree to which newspapers are bought by subscription or at the newsstand. This is one of the factors we looked at in our Newspaper Extinction Timeline, as it shapes how quickly people are likely to change their news consumption habits.
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Carving out the middle: how we must respond to the dangers of the polarization of work


One of the consistent themes in my Future of Work framework is the polarization of work and value.

In a number of the keynotes and workshops I’ve run recently, including at the Richmond Financial Services Forum in Interlaken, the Institute of Chartered Accountants conference in Melbourne, and for the executive teams of various corporate clients, I’ve pointed to research from noted labor economist David Autor that brings into focus what is happening.

Source: The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market, David Autor
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The rise of crowdsourcing in Malaysia


I was recently in Kuala Lumpur to do twin keynotes at the National Crowdsourcing Conference organized by Digital Malaysia, and meet with government officials to discuss how Malaysia can best tap the potential of crowdsourcing.

The Star of Malaysia, the largest English-language newspaper in the country, interviewed me while I was there for a feature section on crowdsourcing. Here are excerpts from some of the articles:

The main article Captivate the crowd looks at the big picture of crowdsourcing and its potential:
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