Bancor’s Galia Benartzi on the role of blockchain

Galia Benartzi

We can agree that money is one of the most central elements in all of our lives, and we can also agree on the fact that most of us know little about how it works. Right?

Galia Benartzi is a serial technology entrepreneur now running Business Development for Bancor, a standard for the creation of Smart Tokens™, cryptocurrencies with built-in convertibility directly through their smart contracts. In June 2017, Bancor raised $153 million in the largest token generation event in history.

Written by Lauma Berzina

In 2005, Galia co-founded Mytopia, the first social gaming company for smartphones, and in 2010, Particle Code, a cross-platform development technology for mobile applications. In 2013, Galia moved to Tel Aviv to support and invest in Israeli technology as a Venture Partner at Founders Fund, where she also launched numerous local currency pilots to model, build and test software for community currencies. Galia is a founding member of Powder Mountain and creator of the Eden2Zion Reality trips by the Schusterman Foundation. She is passionate about decentralized technologies, women’s empowerment, consciousness, natural wellness, and plants. Here we discuss her interest in decentralized technologies, and more specifically, how blockchain technology will fuel the upcoming value revolution.

No more intermediators

In this context, Galia emphasizes how cryptocurrency already has and will continue to change the world in the near future. Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency built on blockchain technology, ensures users can safely send digital money over the public Internet, directly between two parties, without any intermediary such as a bank.

Some years ago Galia had a moment of revelation when she understood that money doesn’t directly move between us on the Internet, as she had previously thought was the case thanks to PayPal and online banking. But rather, the money sits in closed private networks owned by banks and governments, and every single time we send money, we ask them permission by paying fees to move money around in their systems. While the information we send online, such as texts, pictures, and documents, can exist in many places at the same time – value, such as money, can exist in only one place at a time. When you give money to someone, you no longer have it. With money, it is essential to know that you are not getting a copy. Galia emphasizes that this revelation about a new Internet of Value was essential for her as a person who had grown up in Silicon Valley, watching the information Internet transform the world.

First, information revolution

Think about how information moved around before the Internet, and how it does now. Back then, you had to ask for permission to publish in a newspaper or broadcast on a television network. The Internet allowed anyone to post their thoughts almost instantly, directly between people, and this information revolution completely changed our society. And this was simply through the sharing of ideas stored in information. Imagine what would happen when we could easily share the value stored in money.

Blockchain and decentralization

Blockchain allows us to transact freely and directly with each other without asking permission or paying gatekeepers, a phenomenon is as BIG as the Internet.

The technology’s power lies in allowing a network to operate reliably without the need for a central point of control. It does this by stringing computers together so that collectively they are in charge of running and securing the system. It allows users to place their trust in a transparent algorithm that reliably records and transfers value from one place to another without a central control. Galia explains that this is like a Google document – without Google. No one can shut it down or change the terms of service. It’s completely decentralized.

People’s money online

Bitcoin was the first decentralized currency built on blockchain technology. It was a revolutionary spark that inspired thousands of entrepreneurs like Galia to think of a world without a monopoly on the transfer of value between people. This is the first ever people’s money, online. Today there are already many cryptocurrencies on the market, and the new generation of blockchain technology allows us to customize money in even more sophisticated ways.

A few years ago, Galia and her team tested this concept by creating a platform for local currencies. One of their successful projects was called Heart Market, and it allowed mothers in Israel to use a currency called Hearts to purchase goods and services from each other in a trusted marketplace. She notes that within a year, the team saw over $10 million worth of dollars in commerce just in this community, only in Hearts. These mothers had a ton of potential to share, but before they had Hearts, few of them had any money available to share and cooperate. In the Heart Market, mother’s could earn hearts for participating in the community in positive ways.

The value revolution

Galia is convinced that blockchain technology will let local currencies like Hearts flourish all over the world. She believes that we can create a much smarter money supply, money that is custom made for diverse needs, money that catches up to our modern economy and that reflects our modern values. But blockchain goes even further than money – think about the other centralized services we use. For example, what social networks look like, without a company in the middle? What would media networks look like, without media companies in the centre? What would a digital cloud look like, without servers in the center, but rather with many distributed computers strung together? It would fundamentally change how we pool and share our resources. Blockchain decentralizes control, which helps us shift society from a pyramid, with a limited room at the top, to a web, with more access to opportunity and more consensus on what is valuable. Galia concludes that economic freedom is the next great challenge of our time, and she calls it the value revolution.

What’s next?

Galia currently works on the Bancor Protocol, a standard for the creation of Smart Tokens™, cryptocurrencies with built-in convertibility directly through their smart contracts. Bancor utilizes an innovative token “connector” method to enable formulaic price calculation and continuous liquidity for all compliant tokens, without needing to match two parties in an exchange. Smart Tokens interconnect to form token liquidity networks, allowing user-generated cryptocurrencies like Hearts to thrive. For more information, visit the website and read the Bancor Protocol white paper.

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