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Ian Khan is a futurist who expects that blockchain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will merge together to create an entirely new type of world.
He’s the inventor of the Future Readiness Score, the author of eight books and the chairperson of the Money 20/20 fintech conference.
His first film, Blockchain City, is far from an underground production. The 42-minute film, which is available on Youtube and Amazon Prime, is a businessy, optimistic and somewhat sanitized take on the industry. It focuses decisively on piercing the nebulous concept of “blockchain technology” while largely dodging the sometimes controversial phenomenon of cryptocurrency, promoting blockchain as an efficient tracking mechanism furthering the interests of “the establishment.”
Khan’s positioning in the industry is therefore very much in contrast to the cypherpunk movement — the old guard of the blockchain revolution.
These original torchbearers of the industry were not eager to see the technology used to improve governance systems but to circumvent and effectively overthrow them by turning their outdated systems and processes against them. Such an imagined technological overthrow is, however, unlikely to succeed with the likes of Khan advising governments on how to prevent disruption by way of future readiness.
At a fundamental level, Khan considers blockchain-based systems as “a way to do things in a better way.” The main reasons for this are the efficiency benefits derived from a network that confirms its own accuracy, and the trust that no unauthorized user has been able to manipulate records.
Notably, he does not give central praise to commonly lauded themes like decentralization [away from governments] or the perceived benefits of online anonymity. Instead, he emphasizes how blockchains can be used by governments to better secure private information and prevent things like identity theft.
500 years of basic accounting principles are going to be disrupted. Are you ready? Learn more from @IanKhanFuturist and his presentation from ACI Learning’s 2021 Audit’s Future virtual conference. Watch the full session on demand. https://t.co/jSHgj9xJVE pic.twitter.com/Dvy4hOMpCN
— ACI Learning (@ACI_Learning) August 8, 2021
When it comes to “the last 100 years off, how we’ve been doing business,” for Khan, blockchain is “something that does things better in 1,000 different ways.” On the part of improving government processes, “the efficiency part will come up as a result of the exchange of data between government entities — incredible government services will happen as a result of that.”
This talk of efficiency and the future does not come from a vacuum, as Khan runs a Toronto-based company future-readiness business called Futuracy, which he describes as “an emerging technology educator” that has worked with corporations and governments around the world. The prolific author is also a key figure in the Dubai GITEX technology conference — such a key figure, that he was serving as the stage manager as I arrived to deliver a keynote on the history of the blockchain movement at the event in mid-October. While I was looking to the past, his head was (and is) firmly in the future.
The firm creates a Future Readiness Strategy for each client. These strategies are tailored based on the answers to 200 questions put to the clients which are designed to reveal weak systems and processes which may be disrupted by advancing technology. Depending on the scale of the organization, minor weaknesses can have outsize impacts.
“If there’s an inefficiency in government, common people will suffer,” he explains, noting the need for future-readiness analysis in preventing disruptions to important functions such as medical care and education — both of which have been impacted by the pandemic.
Khan is also looking at other phenomena that promises to shape the future of his clients, namely the Future of Work and Artificial Intelligence The Next Frontier, both of them also titles of his two upcoming films. For him, ideas such as digitization, the Internet of Things, blockchain and artificial intelligence are not standalone innovations. Instead, they are connected and it is only a matter of time until they combine and integrate to form an entirely new tomorrow for the way governments, companies and institutions function.
“It’s very easy to paint the picture where we can talk about the world that is powered by AI that has blockchain in it,” Khan mentions casually as if the idea is in no way terrifying. It’s about efficiency, as AI-blockchain integration will be “saving lots of time, energy and effort,” and information will be less likely to be stolen, according to Khan.
Much of Khan’s recent work has been in Dubai, a city he says “is always trying to do things in a different way.” An early patron of the blockchain movement, “Dubai was one of the first countries with a blockchain strategy at the government level,” Khan says.
Khan believes that the best way for governments, large companies and institutions to ease into the blockchain age is for them to provide all employees with an understanding of the technology “whether they are decision makers or not,” because if an organization is to survive in a changing environment, it has to “become a learning entity.”
— Ian Khan Futurist (@IanKhanFuturist) August 23, 2021
The effective way to learn about new paradigm-shifting technologies like blockchain, according to Khan, is to start with examples of successful technical implementation with the goal to “massively simplify the understanding of these big giant buzzwords, so that people can relate” to what the technology is actually capable of and useful for. In practice, this could mean investing in education courses — perhaps beginning with watching his film.
Despite his emphasis on learning the basics, Khan concedes there is no need for everyone to have more than a surface-level knowledge. After all, blockchains are horribly complex, but the way we interact with them could be made a lot simpler. Just as not all car users need to understand exactly how a combustion or electric engine works, in the future it will be the “blockchain that is taking care of things underneath the hood,” he says.
“Everybody needs to be at the basic minimum level of understanding of technology — it doesn’t matter if they don’t work in the same department. I think education of basic technology concepts and the value it creates is important.”
Another way in which organizations, especially governments, can harness the benefits of blockchain is to open up the ideation process by giving as much creative freedom to their people as possible, in order “to come up with ideas that can really change the way they do things.”
On this virtue, Khan gives special praise to Estonia, a small European country of only 1.3 million, where he says “there’s a lot of freedom to express” one’s ideas to the highest levels of decision making. As a small country with a huge emphasis on technology, as evidenced by the eResidency program making it easy for digital nomads to operate businesses from the country, Estonia has forged a reputation as a digital hub.
The third way, Khan says, is for organizations to continuously run small experiments and pilot projects “that prove a point,” even if there is no obvious short-term benefit or return on investment. As a prime example, Khan brings up Zug, a Swiss city of 30,000 which in 2016, adopted Bitcoin as an option for paying city permits. Due to the success of the experiment, Zug soon became known as “crypto valley” as blockchain companies from around the world opened offices there.
Instead of being a blockchain native, Khan is future-native. “I just love learning these things and understanding them and helping others understand them,” he proclaims.
He was born on the Indian side of Kashmir, a region whose other half lies in Pakistan. There, Khan recalls that he became interested in emerging technology at the age of six when he saw a computer at school. “It was a BBC Micro hooked on to a black and white screen that had Pac Man on, and my mind was completely blown,” he recalls.
He studied engineering at Kuvempu University in southern India between 1995 and 1999, obtaining a diploma in software at the same time. Soon after graduation, he moved to Bahrain where he worked in a sales and marketing role in the energy industry, while also working towards a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism which he received in 2003. In 2007, Khan moved to Canada, where he lives today.
In Canada, Khan tried his hand at a number of side hustles, upon which he founded Agnitio Solutions. He tried his hand at numerous projects and startups over four years, until “I got into the publishing industry and started a healthcare magazine,” he recalls. In his free time, he continued to study, earning a project management professional certificate from Humber College in 2009 and a certificate in public relations from the University of Toronto the following year.
Khan had the idea to make a documentary about the blockchain revolution in 2018, around the time that he attended the first Future Blockchain Summit in Dubai, part of the larger GITEX technology convention for which Khan serves as Smart Cities Conference Chair. He saw that, in addition to blockchain being incredibly confusing to most people, “there’s lots of hype around it and there’s lots of misinformation around it,” he notes.
“The story needs to be told that clarifies things, brings some light to the situation and helps business decision makers, governments leaders and individuals understand this technology better”
Blockchain City – The Future of Cities Driven by Blockchain tells a “story of cities around the world and their shift towards being technologically powered through Blockchain.” In the 2019 film, he interviews representatives of various governments who speak on the wonders of blockchain technology and the opportunities it holds for making societal functions more efficient.
In line with his mantra of teaching from real-life cases, blockchain use cases that were brought up include preventing over-fishing and child trafficking. These examples of the next level of the digitization of governance infrastructure can help global institutions “join hands and take the next steps together.”
While Blockchain Cities largely avoids cryptocurrency, he has made a separate documentary titled The Bitcoin Dilemma on that subject. It is technologically agnostic and neutral of any politics or ideology, which is known to permeate the cryptocurrency industry.
I recently spoke to the BBC about the International Monetary Funds (IMF) upcoming Global Financial stability report and its recommendations on Crypto. Also discussed was my new documentary film “Bitcoin Dilemma”, El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption, and the ou…https://t.co/lBCKK5e6vV
— Ian Khan Futurist (@IanKhanFuturist) October 1, 2021
Bitcoin (BTC) could still crash to $29,000 and lower, but price action is “healthier” than a week ago, the latest research concludes.
In a fresh market update on Friday, analysts at trading suite Decentrader said that BTC price action is finally showing “green shoots of optimism.”
After a difficult week in which BTC/USD dipped to just under $33,000, market analysis is now focusing on the likely outcomes of the rangebound behavior seen over the past few days.
For Decentrader, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic now where there was none a week ago.
“We believe that the current derivatives landscape shift and this extremely negative sentiment backdrop does increase the potential for at least a near-term relief bounce,” analysts summarized.
The reason lies in factors that had previously not fully “reset” as price action declined, notably the structure of derivatives markets. These include open interest declining toward less speculative levels, along with deepending negative funding rates.
As Cointelegraph explained, negative rates correspond to overall market sentiment calling for fresh losses — often perfect conditions for an upward price shift.
“We are now also beginning to see meaningful buyers step in, which is driving a potential change in the higher time frame trend from bearish to bullish,” the market update added about the additional positive pressure on the available BTC supply.
Selling overall, while uncharacteristic of bull markets, hints that those behind it are taking losses.
Going forward, the outlook for support is a bounce zone at $29,650, something tha would itself only come into play should several other areas above $30,000 fail to hold.
To the upside, meanwhile, resistance lies between $38,850 and $39,700, Decentrader said, followed by a significant “empty” patch to $47,900 and then $53,400.
“Support remains for now at $32,700 though there is some argument to suggest that price reached that level with Monday’s wick falling just $300 short of it,” the update reads.
“Beyond that level, the next support is just shy of $30k, at $29,650 leaving the door open for a potential sub-$30K liquidity grab.”
Sentiment, in line with funding, continues to stay in “extreme fear,” as per the Crypto Fear & Greed Index, this now rivaling the 2018 bear market trough and the March 2020 coronavirus crash in terms of record-breaking length.
Flushing Financial Corporation, the parent company behind New York-based Flushing Bank has partnered with crypto firm New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) to offer Bitcoin (BTC) services to its customers.
The bank was founded in 1929 and according to its Q4 report it held more than $8 billion worth of assets at the end of 2021, with a net income of around $200 million.
According to an announcement, the partnership with NYDIG will enable the bank to offer its customers BTC buying, selling and holding services in a “safe and secure environment.”
Flushing Bank stated that it aims to launch its BTC-related services later this quarter and will divulge further details of its roadmap soon.
Flushing Financial Corporation CEO and president John R. Buran attributed the firm’s BTC adoption play to its desire to keep up with growing trends in financial markets:
“As part of our ongoing digital transformation, we recognize the importance of staying current with emerging market trends and consumer demand for alternate financial services.”
On the banking front and credit union front, NYDIG states that it has more than 35 partnerships in the sector, including deals with Five Star Bank, Idaho Central Credit Union, STAR Bank, U.S. Bank and NYMBUS to name a few.
NYDIG Chief Innovation Officer Patrick Sells stated on Jan. 25 that the firm is paying significant attention to partnering with traditional financial institutions as it’s “ready to show the world that banking is better with Bitcoin.”
Sells highlighted a growing demand for crypto exposure via organizations that users are already familiar with:
“Our research is clear; consumers want Bitcoin and they want it through the banks and credit unions they already trust.”
The firm has also been steadily growing its mainstream presence via partnerships with top sporting organizations such as the NBA’s Houston Rockets, along with Luxury Automobile Dealer Post Oak Motor Cars.
Bitcoin (BTC) price continues to flash mixed signals, raising uncertainty among investors and negatively impacting asset prices across the market.
Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows BTC price pinned below $36,000 and even though crypto and equities markets underwent a brief relief rally on Wednesday, comments from the recent FOMC meeting appear to be settling in as investors internalize the fact that interest rate hikes are on the way.
Here’s a look at what analysts and traders are saying about Bitcoin’s most recent price action and the macroeconomic factors impacting the wider crypto market.
The long-term range-bound trading that BTC has been in since early 2021 was addressed by Mike McGlone, Senior Commodity Strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence, who posted the following chart and asked, “What ends Bitcoin, Ethereum range trade?
According to McGlone, the key to escaping the current range are the “bullish fundamentals” that back the underlying strength of Bitcoin.
“By the rules of economics, a market with rising demand and declining supply will go up over time, suggesting that Bitcoin may be forming a bottom again around $30,000 as $60,000 resistance ages.”
A deeper analysis on the impact of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting was provided by Bilal Hafeez, CEO and head of research at Macro Hive, who noted that the tone of the meeting “turned out to be more hawkish than expected.”
Hafeez pointed to the decision by the Fed to raise the inflation forecast as a sign that the central bank has realized that “they need to be more hawkish than before,” and he highlighted Powell’s comments that “this cycle would be different to the last cycle, which suggests faster hikes than before.”
With that being said, Hafeez indicated that the Fed “has not decided on a path yet,” and noted that Powell “didn’t give much additional information on quantitative tightening except that it would operate in the background.”
“Overall, the Fed is comfortable with equity and risk markets selling off as it tightens financial conditions and so could reduce inflation. Bond yields have risen after the meetings, equity and crypto markets have given back gains. The Fed continues to add downside risks to risky markets.”
The near-term outlook for BTC was briefly touched upon by derivatives traders and pseudonymous Twitter user ‘Crypto McKenna’, who posted the following chart and stated that “BTC price action is about to get very boring.”
“No trade season for the next 10-20 days in my opinion.”
Despite this projection for near-term weakness and sideways price action, the long-term outlook continues to brighten for multiple reasons, as noted in the following Tweet from crypto analyst Will Clemente.
Bitcoin price weakness because of risk-off behavior while fundamentals strengthening: Intel creating mining chips, Russia looking to get involved in mining, Goldman Sachs bullish, Google partnership w/ Coinbase, El Salvador Bond.
Hard to think asymmetry is to the downside.
— Will Clemente (@WClementeIII) January 27, 2022
The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.663 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 41.5%.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
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