On January 29 I attended the 2014 Digital Money Symposium in London, co-sponsored by Citi and Imperial College. The Symposium convened a group of leaders in their fields to explore the state of adoption of digital money and its economic and societal impacts around the world. This is the second such Digital Money Symposium, the first one having taken place in London in January of 2013.
I was a part of the Citi-Imperial team that organized the event. For this year’s Symposium, we developed a framework that would enable us to discuss the state of adoption of digital money on a more data-driven, scientific basis. We looked at digital money as a highly complex sociotechnical ecosystem, that is, a technology-intensive system that has major societal, economic and political implications, like cities, healthcare and education. To help us begin to quantify and understand this ecosystem, we developed the Digital Money Readiness Index, a set of global metrics that enables us to link digital money adoption to various measures of socio-economic development.
The Index is a multi-functional tool, encompassing publicly available data from 90 countries around the world. By analyzing its various interdependent components, the team computed a measure of how ready a country is to adopt digital money. Quantifying the progress being made by each country along the digital money roadmap should help understand the key obstacles the country faces, as well as the potential actions it could take to overcome them.
Overall, the Index aims to help answer two fundamental sets of questions:
What Matters?: What factors affect the adoption of digital money around world, and how do they vary across different countries and regions?
Why Bother?: Does digital money adoption really make a difference, and if so, can we quantify the benefit to governments, companies and individuals?