This week, our 6 Questions go to Jane Thomason, an entrepreneur and thought leader in technological innovation, fintech and blockchain for social impact. She is also the founder of Supernova Data, co-founder of the British Blockchain and Frontier Technologies Association, and chairperson of Kasei Holdings, an investment company specializing in the digital asset ecosystem.
I have always believed we can change the world! For most of my life, I tried that in an analog way. In 2016, I discovered blockchain, and I realized it was a game-changing technology for social impact. I needed to be part of making that happen, so I left my day job and stepped into the blockchain world. Every day, I am excited by the innovations that are already changing lives, especially in emerging economies. I try to be the bridge between the old world and the future. We are at a unique moment in history when we really can reshape things and create a fairer, more equitable and inclusive world.
1 — What is the main hurdle to the mass adoption of blockchain technology?
A lack of understanding in the wider community and the poor reputation of crypto, coupled with resistance from legacy players. In 2018, I predicted gaming would be the path to widespread adoption, and we are indeed seeing that. The more use cases are built where people can see the practical benefits, the stronger adoption will be. In that light, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an accelerant, as we have seen blockchain used in the secure transfer of health data, supply chain provenance, payments, remittances and cross-border transfers. This builds credibility and will drive wider adoption.
2 — What do you think will be the biggest trend in blockchain for the next 12 months?
I want to say social impact and gaming, but I would be kidding myself. Right now, people are reaping huge rewards through decentralized finance, nonfungible tokens and GameFi. We will see that continue to accelerate. In addition, we will see continued growth in institutional investment and the proliferation of regulated blockchain securities funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
3 — What’s a problem you think blockchain has a chance to solve but hasn’t been attempted yet?
Can blockchain technologies support the activities required for the sustainable management of the global commons, through systems of governance, transparent decision-making, smart contracts, and decentralized mechanisms and incentives for collaboration, cooperation, consensus and trust?
Blockchain has the potential to connect a global decentralized community around a common purpose. Using tokenomics, blockchain is able to create a new digital economy using behavioral economics and game theory to incentivize and disincentive distributed community behavior and action. Tokens can unite and economically align people around a common purpose. Blockchains are fundamentally a way to create economies. The ability to create new tokens and to distribute and allocate these tokens according to economic incentives will lead to the creation of new economies.
Can we see these distributed token economies emerge around global commons issues like climate, preservation of forests and oceans, public health, and gender equality where we can all contribute, participate and benefit?
Social impact and global commons issues require a greater level of cooperation and collaboration than usual, among ecosystems that don’t normally collaborate or converge. We need immediate collaboration to pave the way for digital transformation — collaboration to help build and shape the technology, collaboration in engaging and educating governments and regulators, collaboration in building the talent pool for the future digital economy, and collaboration in developing a new global economic system that is human-centered, preserves the planet, and is fairer and more equitable for all.
4 — What would you like to see tokenized? When, if ever, do you expect this to happen?
Investing in women! I would like to see the female economy tokenized and to incentivize investment in women-led startups and businesses focused on products for women, creating an opportunity to economically empower women and drive social impact. Women drive the world economy, and women control $20 trillion in consumer spending, growing to $28 trillion in the next five years. While data exists on female entrepreneurs, gender equality, employment and leadership, the data is fragmented and static. I would like to see the world’s first token economy to democratize investment in and empowerment of women and that uses data analytics to predict and track growth in the female economy globally.
The global focus on growing the female economy is accelerating as a result of the impact of the pandemic on women’s livelihoods. A blockchain token economy has the potential to transform the way that women’s businesses are funded and measured, and to accelerate investment and growth. This would also help to unlock the deal flow for women entrepreneurs in the early stages. Both investors and investees will be able to track and measure outcomes — such as capital flows and returns, enterprise segmentation, and impact monetization — access analysis to contribute to global research, and track and measure impact. We can incentivize investors with even a small amount of capital to support the increased participation of women in the economy.
With over a trillion dollars in assets under management, a less than 0.5% commitment to women would still equal more than $5 billion dollars. Only a small increase can mean massive change can be made — blockchain gives us an actionable path forward.
5 — Which alternate movie universe would you most like to live in, and why?
Is there a Bollywood one that I can join? I love all the fabulous costumes and dancing and exotic scenes. Let me know when the Bollyverse opens, and I will be there in a flash in my best frock!
6 — Close your eyes and think of a happy place. What do you see?
For me, a happy place is with the people I love. I can be anywhere in the world, but if I am with my son, daughter and granddaughter and any of my very large adopted extended family around the world, that is a happy place!
A wish for the blockchain community:
You are building the future. Therefore, build us the kind of world we would all like to live in.