I recently watched a video interview with Magic Leap's Founder and CEO, Rony Abovitz. In the video, he quipped that his technology produced mixed reality. Not virtual reality or augmented reality (AR), but rather mixed reality.
After watching his interview and viewing the Magic Leap experience, I started thinking about how this mixed reality technology could be interwoven with shopping, buying and paying for goods.
Money is defined as a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes; coins and banknotes collectively. But how much money worldwide now originates in digital rather than physical (coins and banknotes) form?
And how much money does not begin life as a national currency but is at sometime in its lifecycle is used as one? The idea of physical dollars and cents today makes about as much sense as physical banks – they are really just not necessary. With all these new currencies floating around, how much "money" is currently circling the globe?
"The amount of money that exists changes depending on how we define it. The more abstract definition of money we use, the higher the number is," said Jeff Desjardins, an editor of Visual Capitalist. How much money there is, is determined by how loose our interpretation of money is.
In its most encompassing sense, the figure is in the quadrillions. This includes all digital and virtual currencies, above ground gold supply and funds invested in various financial products like derivatives. Bitcoin's total tally worldwide is only $5 billion, a paltry sum when compared to the total. But it's a new currency and it is growing, and at a rapid rate I might add.
As we move towards a cashless society, the originating form of the currency means less and less. Foreign currency is exchanged in real time at market rates. Cashless means credit in some places, and is used as a convenience tool. In other areas, cashless means debit and it is utilized primarily as a security tool.
Hundreds of megawatts of power are used in the global production of Bitcoin annually. It's said that 90 or more percent of a Bitcoin's cost is the electricity required to produce it. Energy equals money.
I recently read that players are already flipping Pokémon accounts, turning shoe leather and virtual monsters into cash. There are a bevy schemes that allow your standings on various social networks to gain free goods. Air miles, digital dollars and virtual rewards change; form, value and hands just as banknotes and coins used to.
Most of these transactions happen electronically, in many cases virtual dollars are spent on virtual goods. None of it actually exists in the real world. I'm spending Google rewards, generated by answering surveys to purchase CGI animated movies. The only thing that actually exists is the hardware and networks that make it all happen.
Full circle back to Rony: Magic Leap's technology is a new computer hardware system built from the ground up that provides stimulation to the display monitor in your mind, enabling you to see and interact with the images being projected. The hardware, software, chips, processors and circuits is what makes the mixed reality happen.
Making money networks more "Magic Leap-like" should be the focus moving forward. We need a reimagining of the current financial systems. A redesign and reboot is required of our worldwide economic systems, where all digital and virtual values are accepted and traded for goods and services.
A financial system is needed with complete interoperability where all money can exist and can be transacted at its current rate of exchange, predicated by where it entered and exited the system. Now more than ever before we need to start moving towards our future, a mixed money reality.