The Multiplier Effect of Digital | The good. The bad. The ugly.
I am excited everyday when I think and see the opportunities that digital presents in everything we do in life. Sometimes hourly. Sparkle is the ultimate manifestation of my love for all things digital. Simple, fast, safe and transparent. Through the multiplication of resources, digital allows you to do so much, with so little; much like Jesus feeding the 5,000 with just five loaves of bread and two fish. With a little, you can do a lot. You can scale. That is if you have the right tools and apparatus.
Digital promised us the good — the ability to make transactions at no cost, instantly, perfectly. Whereas moving money from one account to another is free, printing and moving cash around, costs money. We’ve seen in the last few weeks the power of digital when it comes to global transactions, with millions being donated to Ukraine in the country’s period of turmoil and despair. This FT story about how Ukraine’s Govt raised $100M from crypto in just a few days, was fascinating to me and in particular, the point about how the money was being deployed, with over half going towards life saving items, such as thousands of bulletproof vests, food rations, helmets and medical supplies, demonstrated perfectly the instant and transparent nature of digital transactions. The good!
However, with digital we also see the bad — seamless and speedy digital transactions can also make money quick to steal — a talented hacker can break into even the most sophisticated financial institutions, from the comfort of their own home, which could be anywhere in the world that has decent internet connection. In the old days, the days of physical robberies, the logistics, human capital experience and costs combined were eye watering; it was a lot harder back then to steal vast sums of cash than it is now.
And that leads us to the ugly — the aftermath; the after effects. It doesn’t just hurt the people you steal from, it hurts the promise of digital and the scale of digital, because people will stop trusting it when negative stories arise. Bad news travels fast, again because of digital. The opportunity to bring more people into digital is hampered due to the ugly side of digital. An example would be the digital global campaign by anti-vaxxers during COVID; their bad campaign led to an ugly reaction of spreading misinformation via digital media channels, and the end result was more people died or became seriously ill, than had to.
The bad side of digital creates ugly situations that in turn prevents us scaling the good. I prefer to start with the good and mitigate against the bad and the ugly, where possible