Today, a group of over 15 leaders from the emerging payment and virtual currency industry announced the formation of a Committee for the Establishment of the Digital Asset Transfer Authority. The committee seeks to foster prudent, responsible development of new technologies at the forefront of a sea change in finance that will add 2.5 billion people to the economic system in the next four years.
Every generation or so, the global economy absorbs the arrival of a major new asset class. In the 1980s it was all about derivatives, the 1990s saw the emerging markets catch fire and the 2000s saw the arrival of ETFs and other tools. Today, we're in the midst of another exciting arrival: digital assets to enable financial inclusion for all.
Led by virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Ven and Ripple, digital assets create both vast opportunities and complex questions. In the past six months, a parallel financial ecosystem has risen, driven by the efficiencies these assets enable for exchange, financial inclusion, remittances, and more. But even more questions exist: how will governments react, what standards should be set, can they combat illegal money laundering, how do we manage the need for privacy vs. the lure of anonymity, and more.
Using these technologies, it is now possible for a college student in Iowa to deploy help directly to another student in Uganda, or for London professionals to fund clean energy retrofits with their lunch money. Hub Culture members have put over five million Amazon trees under protection with the American Carbon Registry through asset backed transactions in Ven. People everywhere are discovering the power of localized exchanges to hold value in communities and spur employment.
With every new industry comes a need to ensure protection of consumers and adherence to law in an effort to make sure the advantages provided by progress are not derailed by the unscrupulous. These reasons are behind the creation of DATA, The Digital Asset Transfer Authority. When fully established, this self regulating organization is envisioned to play an important role in creation standards and best practices for digital asset transfers, while providing a reliable solution to regulation that helps the brightest ideas flourish.
DATA will hopefully be a new type of organization, respectful of existing structures and working to evolve the virtual currency industry to benefit everyone.
Virtual currency in particular and digital assets in general are poised to make life easier and better, saving consumers billions and building value in areas where society currently struggles -- like the environment or disenfranchised localities. Technology is moving at a rapid pace, and there is an urgent need to develop financial empowerment on a planet rapidly coming online through mobile technologies. Beyond that lies a future of machine to machine payments past the scope of human involvement, with over 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Bots will pay bots.
Virtual currencies enable us to manage these tides of opportunity with grace and depth. How we create these standards will affect a generation, and widespread support of and involvement in DATA will be needed on a global level. Follow DATA @datauthority and see what unfolds. If you run a company in the emerging payments space, please get in touch by visiting DATA online.