Programmable money (PM) is in the air. It may be the next stage in the evolution of money. And it could be as disruptive as any financial technology in development today.
Yes, China is close to launching the first central bank digital currency (CBDC) at scale — perhaps within the next 12 months — but if so it will be eclipsed before the decade’s end by CBDC 2.0, i.e., digital currency attached to blockchain-enabled smart contracts. At least, that’s what many think.
Programmable money is money with constraints. An analogy is food stamps where recipients are given coupons, the equivalent of money, which can be spent only on food — not on alcohol, betting on horses, lottery tickets or anything else. In modern guise, these ‘food stamps’ are digitized tokens transacted on a blockchain platform with smart contracts.
Last month IBM was awarded a patent for a “bespoke programmable crypto token,” the first PM patent awarded in the U.S.,