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We are moving from money we understand to money that understands us. Man, I wish I’d said that.

This year’s 17th annual Tomorrow’s Transactions Forum, held in London in March, was absolutely terrific. As always, I asked one of my very favourite writers, Wendy Grossman, to come along. I’ve been reading Wendy for many years, and her acute and accurate observations on the technology scene have always attracted my attention. Last time that Wendy was mentioned in dispatches from the Forum it was for offering to lick people’s money (as I mentioned yesterday, which is why I was thinking about her!). But this time I want to enter her into the Tomorrow’s Transactions Chronicle because she came up with an astonishing turn of phrase that is proving impossible for me to to forget.

We are moving from money we understand to money that understands us.

[From net.wars: A money that understands us]

I was very taken with this brilliant encapsulation of a couple of thousand years of monetary evolution from coins made from precious metals to computations across the social graph. Identity is the new money as they say. Well, as I say. To capture all of this in (and I mean this appreciatively, not dismissively) a T-shirt slogan is a breakthrough. I’m going to use this in literally every single presentation I give for the foreseeable future.

We no longer have money that we understand. Most people don’t know how a credit card card works. The person in the street doesn’t understand where money comes from or how it works. I know for a fact that some of them think that there is gold in the Bank of England that sits behind each banknote, something that hasn’t been true for nearly a century. .

The general public don’t really understand how it works and they don’t really care.

[From Search for “journalist gold bank of england” – Tomorrow’s Transactions]

We now have money that understands us. Barclays, Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Simple, Loop, Amazon – they all know what I bought yesterday, where I bought it, when I bought it, how often I bought it and so on.

New data visualization technology is now empowering banks to understand and capitalize on payment data that has historically been hidden away in inscrutable databases and spreadsheets.

[From Visualizing Payments Data for Customer Analytics – BAI | Banking Strategies]

Money that understands us. One of our clients was exploring some ideas around this recently: it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about the context, but one aspect of the business model is related to data that comes from electronic transactions, data that didn’t exist in an era of non-electronic transactions but that businesses have not yet evolved to use effectively. There’s going to be a lot of activity in this space over the next couple of years. Money that understands us. Brilliant: Wendy, I owe you one.

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