Participants ponder cashless society
By Katie Ford
Date: October 30, 2003
Future of money conference draws about 250
Financial experts gathered at the Broomfield Omni Interlocken Resort this week to address various aspects of the green stuff in your wallet — including getting rid of it altogether.
The Future of Money Summit, produced by Louisville-based think tank the DaVinci Institute, was held through Wednesday.
Participants discussed copious money-related topics, including the possibility of cyberterrorism attacks on financial systems, the creation of biometric devices to increase security of money and the invention of a global currency. Sponsors of the event include Forbes magazine, Gartner/G2 and ColoradoBiz magazine.
At the introduction of the seminars Monday night, Tom Frey, executive director of the DaVinci Institute, said money itself has continually evolved from the first shekel used in 3200 B.C. to the first fingerprint payment in 2002.
Following Frey, John Gage, chief researcher and director of the science office of Sun Microsystems, spoke in place of John Naisbitt, author of bestsellers "Megatrends" and "Re-inventing the Corporation," who was originally scheduled as the keynote speaker.
The conference didn't generate enough of a turnout to support Naisbitt's price tag, which included flying him and his wife from Vienna and putting them up in a suite at the Omni, according to Alexis Lee, president of Lextek, the public relations firm handling the seminar.
Lee said about 250 participants attended the conference, which costs $1,495 per attendee.
Gage spoke on the recent rapid changes in technologies that impact financial industries and the possibilities for shifting tides in the monetary world.
"Where the money goes is how we run the world," he said.
For the finale of the summit on Wednesday, Bernard Lietaer, the chief architect of the Euro, was expected to speak about his plans for the Trade Reference Currency or Terra. The Terra, a form of global currency, is being developed as a way to streamline global trade and currency exchange.
Also on Monday night, two analysts from Gartner talked about the possibility of a cyberterrorism attack that could disable the country's main systems including power, telecom, Internet and financial systems.
Rich Mogull, a research director for Gartner, said studies by the company have revealed holes in the security systems currently protecting vital systems in the United States.
"Our system is probably more vulnerable than we would like," he said. Panelists, including former Gov. Richard Lamm and David Mahon, supervisory special agent of the Cyber Crime Squad for the Denver division of the FBI, discussed security issues surrounding the probability of cyberterrorism.
Mahon said more companies must be compelled, possibly by new legislation, to report problems. He said "corporate complacency" is barring tracking down cyber criminals.
Much of the conference centers on theorizing where money is headed in the future and into what form it will evolve. Some of the participants from Biometrics companies spoke on the possibilities of a cashless society where customers pay for products through a fingerprint scan or access their bank through a voice identification system.
One participant, Dick Hardt, traveled from Vancouver to Broomfield for the conference and said the seminars have brought together a wide range of people with various perspectives on the future of money.
Hardt, who is with Canadian startup Sxip Networks, which is developing products related to digital identity and money, said he was particularly interested in the discussion of the Terra because it directly impacts small businesses that deal with customers internationally.
The recent shift between currency rates in the United States and Canada has greatly impacted small businesses, he said.
Lee said she is pleased with the turnout for the event, one that the DaVinci Institute hopes to make an annual engagement. Everyone's interested in money, she said.
"The thing that is so powerful about this topic is the number of brains we're able to bring together," she said.
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