1. (Forced) Convergence between,

  • Telcos, Banks, and Providers
  • Connectivity, Payments, and Goods/Services
  • Who owns the Consumer? (Hint: No One!)

2. Cash-replacement is NOT Cashless

  • Cash is a State-backed Utility
  • Frictionless Cash-in and Cash-out

3. Central Banks “have to” issue currency in bits and bytes

  • APIs for issuing and settling Cash
  • If they build it, everyone will come
  • If they don’t, we will be forced to react to outliers

4. Key building blocks are already in place

  • Contextual experience for secure enabled ecosystems
  • Next-gen infrastructures
  • Math-based fiat money

5. Cashless impacts,

  • All consumers and citizens
  • All Industries, Geographies and Demographics
  • Everything from Cost of Capital to National Security

Section I – Connecting The Dots

“…but, say you, surely there is nothing easier than for me to imagine trees, for instance, in a park…and nobody by to perceive them…the objects of sense exist only when they are perceived; the trees therefore are in the garden…no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them…”

George Berkeley, Irish Philosopher



  • Definition of Cash; Intrinsic relationship of the state
  • Cash; Killer Application, Business Model, Value-chain, Factors driving Ubiquity, Adoption/Scale
  • Definition of Cash-replacement; historically cash-replacement had been primarily driven by private enterprise (albeit regulated), but not public institutions
  • Cash-replacement; Killer Application, Business Model, Value-chain, Factors driving Ubiquity, Adoption/Scale
  • Points of convergence, versus, divergence between Cash & Cash-replacement; has Cash-replacement now become a “Trojan Horse”, and why it is important to determine the same as we now look at the next big evolution of Cash, beyond Cash-replacement, to Cashless

Evolution of Connected Commerce

  • History of electronic transactions
  • Role and evolution of payments networks
  • Rise of the internet (as rails for transactions); emergence of “new networks”, and, “new-rails”
  • E-Commerce; virtual market place and electronic exchanges; re-defining transactions
  • M-Commerce; why m-Payments are different; why we need a border definition for m-Transactions


“e-Plumbing” for Issuance & Settlement

  • Buyers & Sellers; Credentials & Tokens; Identity & Privacy
  • Definition of Issuance; prevalent models of Issuance; Business Models, Value-Chain, and(factors that influence) Scales
  • Definition of Settlement; prevalent models of Settlement; Business Models, Value-Chain, and (factors that influence) Scale
  • Issuance & Settlement in the “Cloud”; impact of Big Data, Analytics and AI; the 800 pound Gorilla in the room!
  • Enter e- Commerce, then m-Commerce, then m-Payments, and finally m-Transactions; the need for e-Plumbing; if we get the e-Plumbing wrong, nothing will work.

Illusive Adoption

  • Vertical services were first movers; continue to proliferate
  • Emergence of Ecosystems; lost window of opportunity; fragmentation will prevail for the foreseeable short-term
  • Few initiatives have scaled; select verticals have scaled; larger promise of mobile is to facilitate secure and personalized transactions 10 times a day (versus 2 times a month) - across all verticals, all channels, all devices
  • Leather Wallet, to, Mobile Wallet; propagation of the disjointed experience between applications and transactions; IoT may help expedite non-personal transactions (and indirectly help accelerate the infrastructural build-out - washing machines before tapping!)
  • Guiding principles; critical factors for driving adoption are (1) Simplify Experience (2) Applications leading Transactions thru a seamless (instead of disjointed) Experience (3) Contextual & Behavioral Intelligence

Challenges of Scale

  • Considerations for 10XDay versus 2XMonth; technology, scalability / availability / redundancy; business; regulatory
  • Good news - ePlumbing is gradually falling into place!  The key is distinguishing between the "utility" (to ensure scale) and "usability" (which will drive adoption)
  • Innovation & Industry; best bet for evolving solutions and business models that will drive adoption and scale
  • Industry & Regulators; collaboration or oversight; do we need a new kind of regulator to ensure compliance and consumer protection?
  • Guiding principles; critical factors that need to be addressed at Scale (1) Identity Management & Privacy (and of course Security) (2) Customer Support, and (3) Cost Savings, or, figuring out how the sum of all parts is less than the individual parts; transferring the value-creation (higher convenience, lower fraud, etc.) back to the Consumer

  • Section II – Heart & Soul

    “…a little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle…”

    Khalil Gibran, Lebanese Artist, Poet & Writer 

    Contextual Experiences for Secure Enabled Ecosystems or Lifestyle

    • Secure Enabled Ecosystems; underlying principles and considerations; aggregation and disintermediation
    • Contextual Experiences; user-centric context driven experiences; based on time, location, preferences (private and public profiles), and intelligence
    • Behavioral Analytics; hybrid rule based and learning systems; based on transactional analytics
    • Device-aware, channel-aware, and vertical-aware
    • Guiding principles; Minimal Intrusions with Maximum Usability from the Ecosystem!

    Next-Gen Infrastructure or NGI

    • Applications leading Transactions; support for seamless experience; device-aware, channel-aware, and vertical-aware
    • Existing and New Rails; embrace scalability aspects of legacy infrastructure; provide expansion for new rails and "nodal spectrum"
    • 'Inverse' of Core-Banking; conventional core-banking designed for rich, with savings and disposable income; enable funding accounts whose sole function is to disburse funds for near-real-time settlement and/or cash-out, but with the ability to support other value-added-services
    • 2-3-4-N Party Settlement; common settlement infrastructure to support different risk models; Consumer, Merchant and Provider Initiation; common infrastructure to support different business models
    • Guiding principles; Balancing Performance (for Users) and Risk (for Providers)

    Math-based Fiat Money or Sovereign CBDC

    • Anonymous and Non-Repudiation
    • Distributed Identity Management; Distributed Authentication; Distributed Infrastructure Services; Distributed Ledger Technologies, its potential and promise; the need for identifying and implementing distributed business models
    • Central Bank Coupling
    • Politics of Gold; evolution of (e)Gold Standard?
    • Guiding principles; Frictionless interfaces for Cash-in and Cash-out!

    The Proverbial Convergence

    • Convergence of Lifestyle + NGI + MFM
    • Building blocks are in place; mid-point of a 20-year cycle; the last 10 years have been about the ePlumbing; the next 2-5 will be about leveraging the ePlumbing; the following 5-8 will be about ubiquity; challenges related to adoption and scale can be traced back to asking the wrong questions!
    • Drawing the right line between, Least Common Denominator versus Personalization; Utility versus Usability; Regulation versus Innovation; Industry, Innovation & Competition, and (convergence of) Regulators
    • The Holy Grail of electronic transactions; evolving the technology, business, and regulatory framework for "digitizing cash"!
    • Guiding principles; Converged or integrated system – which will include the infrastructure, business model, and regulation – should support true cashless environment!

    Section III – What If?

    “…external nature is only internal nature writ large …”

    Vivekananda, Indian Philosopher 

    Boon & Curse of Cashless Society

    • Key assumption; more positive players than negative
    • Boon; access to, and uniform societal cost of, capital; more inclusive growth to reduce disparity
    • Curse; abuse thru loopholes by positive players; systemic fraud; system being hijacked by negative players
    • All considered, the evolution is inevitable, and hence an expedited planned transition, with co-existence and backward compatibility with Cash, and with a well-defined road-map is in everyone’s – consumers, providers, and regulators – interest; implications go beyond finance, directly influencing socio-economic growth and disparity, geo-politics and national security 
    • Guiding principles; move all positive players to the grid, isolating negative players for more efficient tracking and mitigation