Dr Jane Thomason is an entrepreneur, social capitalist, experienced CEO, energetic change maker and thought leader in the applications of blockchain technology for social impact. 

Unlike the medieval alchemists who strove on the transformation of base metals into gold – will Blockchain and frontier technologies enable small states to undergo a radical transformation and re-create themselves into new digital powerhouses?

Artificial intelligence and Blockchain allows small states to overcome barriers of distance, talent and isolation.  They are more agile, their responsiveness less inhibited by legacy systems, and in many cases their needs are more acute. While larger states are still debating and procrastinating, smaller jurisdictions are embracing the promise of new technologies.

Small states are already on the move…

Estonia has already established it’s self as a world leader in digitisation. Switzerland and Singapore are early adopters.  Dubai plans to go paperless on blockchain by 2020. (All these cities feature in the top ten world ranking of Blockchain Cities by Boyd Cohen published in BreakerMag 2018. – Ed)

Recently there has been a literal onslaugt as small states that have seen the economic potential of being ICO friendly vie for the new economies.

Bermuda announced its new regulations on initial coin offerings (ICOs) July 13 – describing minimum required information for ICO projects and establishing compliance measures for companies to conduct an ICO.

Jersey: Financial Services Commission’s launched Jersey’s ICO guidelines on 12 July.

Gibraltar: In February 2018, HM Government of Gibraltar announced its intention to proceed with token regulation,

Malta: On July 4, 2018 the Maltese Parliament has officially passed 3 bills into law, establishing the first regulatory framework for Blockchain, cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology.

The East African island nation of Mauritius is seeking to brand itself as a regional haven for Blockchain innovation.

Belarus:  On 22 Dec 2017 Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko signed the decree that legalizes Bitcoin, initial coin offerings (ICO) and transactions in crypto-currencies, including their exchange for traditional currencies on Belarussian exchanges, while all trades will be tax-free for the next five years.

Georgia is reported to be a second world power in cryptocurrency mining.

This is not a comprehensive list, but points to a new paradigm, where small populations may not be a constraining factor for digital transformation. Imagination, agility and aspiration may enable small states to leap frog and be leaders in a new digital economic order.

This is not unrecognised in traditional circles,  and ex banker Adnan Hassan wants to use advances in technology to provide an innovative single integrated FinTech platform (especially Blockchain based tools and digital assets) to small states to spread the benefits of scale in a world where geography should have less meaning, and small size should be an asset due to nimbleness of movement.

He describes his vision for a Global Bank for Small States to reinvent the global economic system creating a ‘clean’ environment for a Blockchain based de-centralised world:

“With multiple nodes of influence, we believe that the ensuing framework will be far more resilient. Philosophically, Global Bank for Small States will also broaden and deepen globalisation, in a way that is sustainable and inclusive”.

Take your pick – “Blockchain Island” “Blockchain Beach” “Blockchain Lagoon” or “Blockchain Alps” –  innovation is not constrained by geography any longer.  Indeed, the agility of the small states may lead them to grow in influence and be transformation leaders in a digital world.