Upgrading widely accepted and familiar forms of money

Money is now on the cusp of a transformation that will transform banking, finance, and even the fabric of society. We are witnessing money’s biggest transformation since the creation of paper notes in Tang Dynasty China over 1,000 years ago — the era of cash is coming to an end, and today’s infrastructure isn’t ready. We have arrived at a watershed moment in financial services — the decisions made today will have far-reaching implications for decades to come. Currently, the world’s financial infrastructure is an amalgamation of outdated and isolated systems, designed merely to automate outdated processes from a paper-based world. Hampered by the lack of a global standard, major systems have difficulty interacting with one another, leaving them susceptible to numerous inefficiencies. Given the overheads required to overcome these inherent inefficiencies in the system, traditional financial institutions pass along substantial costs (in terms of both time and expense) to transfer value between participants. Even the most simple transactions, e.g. a debit card payment, involve up to seven intermediaries, each of which add both delays and expense. Account fees, card fees, and markups on prices from merchants passing on payment processing fees cost us each an average of $700 a year, but it’s often the people with the least amount of money who end up paying the most for financial services e.g. migrant workers from Senegal being charged an unacceptable average of $20, each time they send just $200 home to help their families. Given that we have access to cheap and near-instantaneous means of interaction, there is no longer any reason why we should continue to pay so much money and waste so much time transferring money to one another; so the world has begun to adopt an ‘always-on’, interconnected alternative to the traditional financial system — crypto. However, with billions of dollars lost to hacks, scams, stablecoins that are anything but stable, risky lending practices, over-leveraged hedge funds, and widespread contagion, the ecosystem has a long way to go before reaching mainstream adoption, with many insiders — in an industry founded on libertarian ideals — advocating for more regulation and consumer protections. Seeking to capitalize on the move to digital assets, rather than let the private sector run away with the category, over 90% of national governments and central banks are currently exploring ways to issue their own digital currencies, known as Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), however many citizens remain wary of the potential for government overreach, and privacy erosion. The world is desperately seeking a solution, and that solution is Millicent. An award-winning blockchain enabled fintech company, co-funded by the UK’s national research and innovation department, Millicent is designed to combine the best aspects of the private sector, the public sector, and decentralized finance technology, while eliminating many of their weaknesses; balancing the safeguards of today’s financial system with the exponential benefits of DeFi to deliver an open, transparent, and equitable foundation for the future of finance. Founded by serial entrepreneur, Kene Ezeji-Okoye; computer scientist, Dr. Zakwan Jaroucheh; distributed ledger engineer, Umair Sarfraz; and ex-Wall Street powerhouse, Stella Dyer, Millicent was made to do just that by tokenizing all existing forms of money — e.g. central bank; commercial bank; e-money — and putting them on a hyper-fast, near-instantly settled, and nearly feeless Layer 1 blockchain. Upgrading widely accepted and familiar forms of money with the ability to be frictionlessly transferred around the globe; to be programmed with smart functionality; to be almost infinitely divided; and to be leveraged through any number of ‘money lego’ financial primitives will open the floodgates with a myriad of use cases — micropayments; streaming payments; complimentary currencies; the machine to machine economy — all through one single wallet ready for use everywhere from the supermarket to the metaverse. Recognising that this versatility and interconnectedness will be transformative on a global scale, Lan was one of the first to bring Millicent into her portfolio.