Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa
Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa

As any hip urban teenager will tell you the world we live in today is non-binary. But it seems that is not just in regard to gender. For many years the crypto-currency space was a two-sided one too.

One side, the “mainstream” camp, always said that blockchain technology might be useful but crypto-currencies are all just a scam so they all need to be either shut down or controlled.

The other side, the more “radical” one, countered that cryptos could change our world but the existing financial establishment, in a tyrannical bid to hold on to its power and wealth, is trying its very best to crush them by, yes… shutting them down or controlling them.

However, an interesting middle ground has emerged that seems to indicate that not only are crypto-currencies here to stay, but that they really will go on to change the financial fabric of our world.

IBM’s newly appointed head of blockchain development, Jesse Lund, has revealed that the technology giant has been meeting with executives from commodities trading platforms, large corporations and even central banks to explore how crypto-currency platforms can work on what she describes as “permissioned but public” technology.

Public blockchains have always been the realm of bitcoin and the rest of the cryptos. Those with “permission” are private and have essentially been the preserve of established institutions. But in a recent interview with Coindesk, Lund says IBM is seeing “tons of demand for digital asset issuance across the board” and this has caused the “emergence of a new segment that could actually be one of the biggest segments, that is a ‘permissioned’ but public blockchain network typology.”

Late last year, IBM announced that it had worked on a trial project to use digital currency and blockchain software to move money in near real-time throughout the South Pacific across a 12-country banking network that included Australia, New Zealand and smaller countries Fiji and Tonga. The network traded in a digital currency called the Lumen and was part of the ever-growing open-source Hyperledger initiative.

In the South Pacific project, the Lumen traded on a non-profit Stellar blockchain, also part of the Hyperledger initiative, and essentially it was the start of a “permissioned but public” network that Lund referenced to Coindesk. And as Lund says, this could become a significant pathway to the widespread adoption of crypto-currencies in the future.

As for our non-binary gender future, who really does know?