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The International Lawyer

The International Lawyer, Volume 56, Number 2, 2023

Money and Financial Technology (FinTech) History

George A Walker


  • Banking and financial services have increasingly become dominated by new Financial Technology (FinTech), Regulatory Technology (RegTech), and other forms of advanced Technology (TechTech) change.
  • These technological advances represent a fundamental shift in the nature and provision of products, services, and the underlying functions carried out by financial institutions.
  • Many of these new operations are carried out through innovative digital platforms and facilities provided on a highly mobile or virtual basis through laptop computers, mobile telephones, and other digital tablets.
Money and Financial Technology (FinTech) History
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Banking and financial services have increasingly become dominated by new Financial Technology (FinTech), Regulatory Technology (RegTech), and other forms of advanced Technology (TechTech) change. These technological advances represent a fundamental shift in the nature and provision of products, services, and the underlying functions carried out by financial institutions. Many of these new operations are carried out through innovative digital platforms and facilities provided on a highly mobile or virtual basis through laptop computers, mobile telephones, and other digital tablets.

The new FinTech world has created a new language of incubators, accelerators, and catapults, as well as unicorn start-up companies with values of over $1 billion each and decacorn start-up companies with values of over $10 billion each. Operators include FAANG (Facebook (Meta from 2021), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google, as well as Microsoft), BEGgars (Box, Etsy, and GoPro), MisFITS (Match, Fixbit, Twitter, and Square), and Chinese BANTs (Baidu, Alibaba (Alipay), Netease, and Tencent (WeChat), as well as Ping An and The new conditions are characterised by digitalisation, decentralisation, disintermediation, privatisation, disruption, and dislocation of markets.

Financial technology and general technology have, nevertheless, had a long history that dates back to the origin of numeracy and accounting, as well as telecommunication in the form of transmission of information over distance. FinTech is of more recent origin and represents a combination or compound arrival dependent upon the coming together of a number of separate advances in digital and mobile communications, direct service provisions, and a new sense or condition of personal empowerment and control. This change has resulted in the mobilisation, personalisation, monetisation, socialisation, and democratisation of many aspects of banking and financial services.

FinTech has been more significantly impacted by recent developments in the Internet and World Wide Web. The Internet and World Wide Web have progressed through a number of identifiable stages, including static and supply read-only; reply, write and participate, execute, and control; and connection and machine-driven, with possible future sensory and integrative iterations. FinTech can be considered to represent the beginning of the third, or ValueNet, phase, which overlaps with the fourth machine net phase as industrial, commercial, governmental, and household and individual systems and applications can be brought together on the Internet. The sensory, or immersive, net represents an anticipated future further personalised and symbiotic phase where people effectively live inside the Internet.

FinTech also represents an important event in the evolution of social technology and the use of technology to deliver an ever-expanding range of social functions. Communication and the exchange of information have improved substantially in recent years, specifically through the digitalisation and mobilisation of telecommunications, which supports the development of many new social means of engagement and platforms, including earlier email, instant messaging, and chatrooms, as well as more recent formalised social media sites and weblogs (blogs) and personalised one-to-many web pages, as well as user-edited wikis, Internet fora, and other many-to-many social network services. Society more generally can then be considered to have evolved through a series of more recent Consumer or Consumption; Information, Knowledge, and Digital; Risk; and Social, Sharing, and Caring phases, with the most recent Popular and Protest iteration. Money and FinTech are both social technologies that will significantly impact social relations by their continued evolution.

This paper aims to consider the principal phases in the historical development of money, banking, and financial technology, as well as in FinTech, RegTech, and TechTech within larger historical periods or eras. The nature of human history is briefly outlined, as well as the connection between the principal stages of money, banking, and financial development and key social revolutions. The principal stages in FinTech evolution are outlined in terms of a sub-divided FinTech (FT1.0, FT2.0, FT3.0, FT4.0, and FT5.0) approach with a parallel history of money (M1.0, M2.0, M3.0, M4.0, and M5.0), banking (B1.0, B2.0, B3.0, B4.0, and B5.0), and technology (T1.0, T2.0, T3.0, T4.0, and T5.0). This includes the evolution of computer processing systems (C1.0, C2.0, C3.0, C4.0, and C5.0). The parallel iterations of the Internet (I1.0, I2.0, I3.0, I4.0, and I5.0) and World Wide Web (W1.0, W2.0, W3.0, W4.0, and W5.0) are reviewed. The relevance of FinTech to contemporary history is considered in terms of the development of the Consumer or Consumption Society; Information, Knowledge, and Digital Society; Risk Society; Social, Sharing, and Caring Society; and Popular and Protest Society (S1.0, S2.0, S3.0, S4.0, and S5.0), a five-part division of recent post-war social history. All of this provides new insight and perspective into the evolution of modern history and society and the key underlying forces and social technologies involved going forward.

I. Human History and Technology

A general division can be drawn between cosmological and human history, with the universe being estimated to be 13.8 billion years old. The history of markets and technology forms part of the history of humanity from the earliest use of natural and manufactured tools. The study of human history is generally divided into pre-history and proto-history, ancient history, the Middle Ages, modern history, and post-modern or contemporary history. History can refer to written or recorded history, with pre-history being studied through earlier archaeological remains. Proto-history constitutes the period during which a society is recognised by other civilisations before it develops its own written history. Recorded history only covers about 5,000 years from the introduction of writing in Mesopotamia around 3200 BC, with numeric notation having been introduced 300 years previously around 3500 BC. History is distinct from historiography, which examines historical methodology.

A. Pre-History

Pre-history is generally divided into the three periods of the Stone Age (3.4 million years ago–6000/2000 BC), Bronze Age (3300–1200 BC), and Iron Age (1200–500 BC). The two-part division of the Stone Age into the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods was originally developed by the English banker, politician, and archaeologist in Prehistoric Times (1865), Sir John Lubbock, with archaeologists later adding the Mesolithic period. The use of stone tools dates back to Homo habilis around 2.8 million years ago. Pre-history includes the emergence of Homo sapiens around 200,000 BC in Africa until the Neolithic or Agricultural Revolution around 10,000 BC. The earliest descendants of man were carnivorous scavengers, with more formalised hunting and gathering emerging around 600,000 BC and the control of fire by 400,000 BC.

B. Ancient History

Ancient history, or classical antiquity, comprises Greek and Roman history between the eighth century BC, with the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, and the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west in 476 AD. Greek history consists of the Greek Dark Ages (1100–750 BC), Archaic Period (750–500 BC), Classical Period (500–336 BC), and Hellenistic Period (336–146 BC). Rome was founded in 753 BC with the Roman Kingdom (753–510 BC), Roman Republic (510–31 BC), and Roman Empire (31 BC–476 AD). Many attribute the collapse of the Roman Empire to monetary matters, including monetary debasement, high inflation, and taxation. The Eastern Roman Empire became the Byzantine Empire, which lasted until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD, following defeat by the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

C. Middle Ages

The Middle Ages generally lasted between 500 and 1500 AD. The post-classical period consisted of the Middle Ages, including the Early Dark Ages (500–800 AD), High Middle Ages (101–1300 AD), and Late Middle Ages (1154–1485 AD). The feudal system of structured land holdings based on tied reciprocal legal and military obligations among lords, vassals, and fiefs developed between 900 and 1150 AD. The Dark Ages are characterised by the collapse of trade and commerce, which Italy would later restore with the growth of city-states and the beginning of the Renaissance between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries.

D. Modern History

Modern history consists of the early modern and late modern periods, with the subsequent post-modern or contemporary period. The latter period is characterised by the rise of capitalism, individualism, urbanisation, scientific and industrial advancements, and recurrent political revolution. The early modern period extended from around 1450 to 1850. The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 was followed by the Renaissance (fourteenth to seventeenth centuries), Age of Discovery (fifteenth to eighteenth centuries), and Scientific Revolution (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). Christopher Columbus was reputed to have discovered America in 1492, with Nicolaus Copernicus publishing De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) in 1543. This includes the Reformation (sixteenth century) and the Enlightenment (eighteenth century). The early modern period ended with mercantile capitalism’s emergence and the Industrial Revolution’s beginning around 1750.

Early modern history covers the First Industrial Revolution (1750–1840), with the Second Industrial Revolution, or Technological Revolution (1840–1914), falling within the late modern period. The development of several significant new technologies in the area of communications, including the telegraph, telephone, and radio, characterized the Technological Revolution. Late modern history includes the Age of Revolutions between 1774 and 1848, including the American Revolution (1775–1783), French Revolution (1789–1799), and other democratic revolutions across Europe until the Spring of Nations or People’s Spring in 1848. The late modern period can be considered to include World War I and II, the Cold War (1945–1991), the Atomic Age (from 1945 onward), and the Space Age (from 1957 onward).

E. Post-Modern or Contemporary History

Post-modern or contemporary history examines history within living memory and generally covers the period from the end of World War II in 1945 and onward. Contemporary history can be understood in terms of the emergence of many new types of societies, which are examined in further detail below, with the Consumer or Consumption Society; Information, Knowledge, and Digital Society; Risk Society; Social, Sharing, and Caring Society; and, most recently, the Popular and Protest Society.

Post-modern history includes the period from the early 1970s onward, which corresponds with the beginning of the creation of a new international financial order, following the collapse of the Bretton Woods system of managed exchange rates confirmed by President Richard Nixon on August 15, 1971. This led to substantial new currency and interest rate instability and risk, with a number of major banks suffering substantial losses. The most significant failure was of Bankhaus Herstatt in Cologne, Germany, which was forced to cease business on June 26, 1974. Franklin National Bank in the United States also suffered substantial losses in May 1974 and had to be closed in September 1974. This created significant instability in international financial markets, which, in particular, led to the establishment of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in February 1975 and the beginning of the development of international banking standards and then equivalent provisions in the payment, securities, and insurance areas. International banking had grown substantially following the restoration of currency stability in 1958, especially with the development of the Eurodollar markets in London, which consisted of an underlying interbank market and emerging syndicated lending and Eurobond debt market.

This instability during the early 1970s was accompanied by the development of modern forms of risk management, particularly with the creation and growth of financial derivatives and the establishment of new derivatives markets and exchanges across the world. This was also associated with a substantial growth in the securitisation of financial markets, with the transfer of funding from international lending to securities and bond markets, as well as with later instability. Subsequent financial crises arose with the Banco Ambrosiano Crisis of 1981, the Third World Debt Crisis in the early 1980s, the closure of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in 1991, the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995, the Argentinean and Russian Debt Crises of 1998, the collapse of the dotcom bubble in 2000, and the Global Financial Crisis from 2007 to 2008.

Modern or post-modern financial markets, characterised by continuing currency, interest rate, and wider market instability, can accordingly be considered to have dated back to the collapse of Bretton Woods in the early 1970s, which generated periods of further instability and collapse, culminating in the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–2008. One of the key factors driving the most recent interest in new FinTech solutions is the lack of public trust and confidence in more traditional banking and financial markets and the need for new solutions following the most recent crises that have occurred.

The earlier history of money in the form of coins, notes, commercial bank and central bank accounts, paper, and more recent electronic forms of payment can be considered as part of the more specific revolutions that have occurred in history, including the Agricultural or Agrarian Revolution, the Commercial Revolution, the Financial Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Digital Revolution. Post-modern and contemporary history can be examined further from a social and financial perspective in terms of the growth of the Consumer or Consumption Society; Information, Knowledge, and Digital Society; Risk Society; Social, Sharing, and Caring Society; and the most recent Popular and Protest Society. The various stages or iterations through which the Internet and World Wide Web have evolved can also be examined separately.

II. Revolutions

The last 5,000 years of human history can be understood in terms of significant events or revolutions at various key stages and periods in social and human revolution. These can also be tied to significant elements of technological change and important innovations in banking and finance. This creates an alternative revisionist treatment of financial and technological history. This can then be supplemented by other overlapping historical reviews or historical maps, including of FinTech, money, banking, technology, computing, and more specifically the Internet, World Wide Web, and Contemporary Society.

The following revolutions may be more specifically understood in terms of technological change or revolution to the extent that they were driven or impacted by associated technological advances during the relevant period. This would involve the introduction of one or more specific new technologies that would stimulate growth in other technologies, with wider commercial, industrial, or social impacts beyond the immediate trigger event. While the term “Technological Revolution” is often used specifically to include the Second Industrial Revolution from around 1870 to 1920, it may be extended to apply more generally to each of the revolutions referred to below due to their technology related cause, impact, and progression.

A. Agricultural or Agrarian Revolution

The Agricultural, or Neolithic, Revolution refers to the shift in early human societies from nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes to more sedentary communities with the associated domestication of plants and animals. This occurred during the Late Stone Age around 10,000–8000 BC in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the land around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the east to the Nile Valley and Nile Delta in the west. This corresponds with parts of modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt, as well as Turkey and Iran. This can be explained in terms of a number of theories, including weather change, demography, location, adaptation, and social display. A “secondary products” revolution occurred as man was able to extract other useful items from animals, including hides, wool, and milk, in addition to meat, with animals also being used for personal transport, pack transport, or burden and traction in ploughing. This led to significant social change, with the emergence of villages and, later, towns and cities, in particular, in the Levant, Mesopotamia and the Sumer (circa 5500–2270 BC), Akkadian (2334–2154 BC), Babylonian (1894–911 BC), and Assyrian (2600–599 BC) empires.

Early forms of counting script were developed around 4000 BC, with writing around 3200 BC. Numeracy began with correspondence counting and the use of small physical clay tokens to represent specific items that were later replaced by flat clay tablet numerals or graphics around 3500 BC. The Sumerian script was referred to as cuneiform, with the Egyptians developing a separate system of hieroglyphs from around 4000 BC. Modern writing systems are based on the Phoenician alphabet derived from Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite script. The Phoenician alphabet was constructed using twenty-two characters and was phonetic, which made it easier to learn than the earlier, more visually complex non-auditory systems. Its use spread with the Phoenicians emerging as reputed merchants and seafarers. The Phoenician alphabet formed the basis for the Greek alphabet, which led to the development of Latin script and then other modern European alphabets.

The earliest writing and numeracy, including accounting, which is measuring value over time, can then be attributed to the period after the original Agricultural, or Neolithic, Revolution. This was later followed by a Second Agricultural Revolution, with the modernisation and mechanisation of agriculture as part of the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Third Agricultural Revolution, or Green Revolution, refers to the transfer of agricultural technology from developed to emerging nations between the 1930s and 1960s to improve agricultural management and production across the world.

B. Commercial Revolution

The Commercial Revolution refers to the extended period of exchange and mercantile expansion from the latter 1200s to the early 1700s. This coincided with the Renaissance in arts and learning (1300s–1600s), Protestant Reformation across Europe (1500s), and Scientific Revolution (1540s–1687). This also corresponds with the Age of Discovery and the European exploration of the world (1400s–1700s), with colonialism from the 1500s to the early 1900s. This also coincided with the end of the High Middle Ages (1001–1300) and the Late Middle Ages (1301–1500).

The Commercial Revolution was associated with the recovery and subsequent substantial growth in trade across and outside Europe. This led to a significant expansion in the need for money and payment and growth in early forms of banking and securities activities, originating in the issuance of government debt, including the Monte Commune in Florence, Italy. Continued shortages in silver and gold supply led to the emergence of payment and credit facilitated through early forms of negotiable instruments, including specifically bills of exchange and promissory notes developed by Italian merchant and banking families.

C. Financial Revolution

The Financial Revolution was concerned with the creation of a modern financial infrastructure within Great Britain between 1688 and 1756. This followed the Glorious Revolution in 1688, in which William III of Orange and Queen Mary acscended the throne after the overthrow of James II of England and VII of Scotland. This can be considered to have involved three more specific sub-revolutions in foreign policy, political economy, and religion. The powers of the monarchy were limited under the Bill of Rights in 1689 (and Claim of Rights in Scotland), which confirmed Parliamentary authority and protected individual rights. Strict controls were placed on royal spending. The Bank of England was established in 1694 on the proposal of the Scottish merchant William Patterson to raise funds to support the war with France and to raise other government funds through long-term debt or short-term Exchequer Bills.

Earlier Italian promissory notes were reinvented as private bank notes, beginning with goldsmith and silversmith receipts in London in the 1640s. The Bank of England would issue private notes from 1694 onward and slowly acquire a monopoly issuance until this was confirmed under statute in 1844 with the Bank Charter Act. Bill of exchange use grew in importance, with London emerging as the international processing centre for the “Bill on London” and the emergence of specialist acceptance house banks, which would accept bills by adding their signature and credit to them, and discount houses, which would purchase the bills at face value less a discount calculated on the interest due until maturity. Cheques, as bills of exchange drawn on banks, also became increasingly commonly used towards the end of the 1600s. One of the first private cheques was issued for £400 by a Mr. Vanaker to a Mr. Delboe, to be drawn on Messrs Morris and Clayton on February 16, 1659. Pre-printed cheques were produced by the Bank of England from 1777 onward.

D. Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution in Great Britain occurred between 1750 and 1840 and was associated with improvements in transportation and communication due to the substantial advancements in energy resources, the mechanisation of production, and the restructuring of the organisation of labour to support mass production and factory systems. All of this led to significant economic, industrial, commercial, social, and political change initially in Great Britain and then in other countries as these changes were expanded and adopted elsewhere. The economics of this were formulated by the Scottish economist Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations in 1776.

While earlier history can be understood in terms of improvements in tool technology, with a shift from stone to bronze, and then iron, the Industrial Revolution was stimulated by advances in power technology, with machines driven by water, steam, electric, and then combustion engines. Through these advancements, textile manufacturing was mechanized. Developments in iron and steel production facilitated the manufacture of new machine tools, which led to better improvements in canals, railways, road construction, and transportation. While working conditions in factories were strongly criticised, this would lead to later improvements in employment, social, and welfare rights and then political inclusion and voting enfranchisement.

The birth of the first Industrial Revolution was followed by the Second Industrial Revolution (1860–1940), with further advancements in steel production, manufacturing, use of the internal combustion engine, telegraphy, and electrification.

E. Digital Revolution

The Digital Revolution began in the late 1950s and led to advancements in computing and telecommunications. The Digital Revolution has been described as the Third Industrial Revolution, or the Digital Age. The Digital Revolution specifically refers to the change in communication and technology from being continuous and based on variable analogue signals to being based on digital formats. Digital data processing is far more efficient in terms of copying, reproduction, and application. The first digital computers included the Colossus, which was used to break the Lorenz cipher by the UK Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park between 1943 and 1945. Computer manufactures used digital transistors from 1947 onward. Binary number systems date from Leibniz in 1679, and Boolean digital logic from 1854, with the mathematical basis for communication and information theory being produced by the American engineer Claude Shannon in 1948. The Internet was developed in 1969, with access extended in 1986 and then fully opened to commercial and private use in 1995.

The expansion of the Digital Age can be further understood in terms of the growth in data collection, Internet use, and mobile telephony. Data storage has increased from around 2.6 exabytes in 1986 to 5,000 exabytes in 2014. Total global data volumes grew from 1 zettabyte (1021 bytes) in 2010 to 16 zettabytes in 2016, 18 zettabytes in 2018, and were expected to reach 160, and then 175, zettabytes in 2025. Internet use expanded from around 2.8 million users (0.05% percent of the world’s population) in 1990 to 3.675 billion users (50.1 percent of the world’s population) in 2016. Mobile telephone usage has also risen from 12.5 million users (0.25 percent of the world’s population) to 4.01 billion users in 2013 and was expected to rise to 5.07 billion users (66.8 percent of the world’s population) in 2020, with the estimated global population of 7.584 billion rising to 8 billion by mid-2023.

The Digital Revolution and growth of the Digital Age has corresponded with the transfer of focus from atoms, which are made up of tangible objects, to bits or bytes (8-bits), which form the basis of digital information systems. The Digital Revolution can also be understood in terms of the Information Revolution that followed the earlier switch in tool technology from stone to bronze, and then iron, and the later changes in power technology from water to steam, to electrical and combustion engines, and then most recently to information and data. Other forms of advanced technology (TechTech) can also be considered to constitute extensions of the Digital Revolution, which specifically includes more particular new fusion and quantum, as well as biotechnology (BioTech) and nanotechnology (NanoTech) innovations.

III. Financial Technology

The history of financial technology (FinTech), regulatory technology (RegTech), and wider advanced technology (TechTech) can be understood in terms of the more specific tools or devices developed at different times that have assisted the carrying out of financial transactions either directly or indirectly. The history of technology is clearly extensive, although a number of key areas of innovation can be identified to construct a simpler history of core financial technology. Much of this is generally concerned with counting and accounting over time, as well as distanced communication, or telecommunication, and controlled processing through early arithmetic, and then mechanical and electrical, and later digital computer systems. These technologies can be classified in different ways for the purposes of this paper, including money (M1.0–5.0), banking (B1.0–5.0), FinTech (FT1.0–5.0), technology (T1.0–5.0), computing (C1.0–5.0), the Internet (I1.0–5.0), the World Wide Web (W1.0-5.0), and society (S1.0-5.0), with other possible future iterations.

Financial technology history is closely associated with that of money and banking. Many core innovations within the history of money can be explained in terms of technological advancement. Money itself can be considered to constitute a form of social technology. Banking represents the application of technology to carry out the functions of savings or deposit, lending or credit, and payment. Technology simply constitutes a technique, product, or process used to achieve a specific aim or objective. The history of FinTech is then also closely associated with that of telecommunications, computing, and the Internet.

Financial technology can be divided into five key phases for the purposes of this paper. FinTech 1.0 is generally concerned with the analogue or pre-digital phase, and FinTech 2.0 with digital devices. The new FinTech era can be considered to constitute the beginning of FinTech 3.0 and the emergence of the ValueNet. FinTech 4.0 and 5.0 represent future iterations associated with the future growth of the Internet, including specifically the machine and immersive Internet or web.

Each of these, and specifically FinTech 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, is closely associated with specific changes in the development and history of money, which can be examined in terms of the five specific forms of money, consisting of coin (M1.1–5), notes (M2.1–5), accounts (M3.1–5), central banking and reserve accounts (M4.1–5), and electronic or digital money (M5.1–5).

M1.0 covers the period from the beginning of monetary valuation around 3200 BC to the introduction of coin in 700 BC and the use of bills of exchange and promissory notes around 1200 AD, while M2.0 covers the 500-year period from around 1200 to 1700 AD and the development of private bank notes. M3.0 applies from around 1600 AD and involves the commercial use of bank accounts for payment and lending purposes to the middle of the 1800s and the emergence of modern money clearing and payment and securities settlement systems. M4.0 is concerned with the development of modern central banking and financial systems from the middle of the 1800s to the middle of the 1900s and the beginning of the Digital Age. M5.0 represents the development of modern forms of electronic and digital money.

Separate innovations can also be identified, as noted in banking (B1.0–5.0), technology (T1.0–5.0), mathematics and computing (C1.0–5.0), the Internet (I1.0–5.0), the World Wide Web (W1.0–5.0), and society (S1.0–5.0). Each of these is considered in further detail below.

A. FinTech 1.0

FinTech 1.0 is concerned with the early creation and development of banking and financial services before digitalisation. This corresponds with the general historical period of the development of coin, notes, bank accounts, and central banking, up until early post-World War II (M1–4.0), which was followed by the introduction of electronic and digital banking (M1–5.0). Divisions within FinTech 1.0 (FinTech 1.1–5) correspond with specific money events within these money phases (M1–4.0).

1. Monetary Valuation and Coin (M1.0 and FinTech 1.1–5)

The early history of money can be considered in terms of original barter, gift and debt, commodity and representative money, monetary valuation, deposit, and the creation of metal coinage and stamping (M1.1–5). Early societies operated on a barter basis, with commodities being exchanged in kind. This was, nevertheless, only necessary in dealing with strangers, with sophisticated gift economy and credit models being used in family and smaller communities. Commodities were later used as proto-currencies, such as with seashells, beads, and livestock, specifically oxen (M1.1.2).

Monetary units (M1.1.3) were developed out of early means of measurement, such as with the shekel in Mesopotamia, which was originally used to weigh barley and cereals and later given equivalent values in silver. Ancient civilisations operated through the central management of land and commodities under the temples or ruler, with sophisticated monetary arrangements being constructed using monetary measurements without actual coin. This would include providing associated deposit and credit facilities in Mesopotamia and Egypt (M1.1.4). Metal coin would only later be introduced around 700 BC with the Stater in Lydia under the rule of King Alyattes using a silver gold electrum alloy (M1.1.5). The significance of stamping was that this attached an official value to the coin without the need for the separate weighing and assaying of metal. Coins were subsequently produced across emerging Greek and Italian city-states and Rome, and this remained the principal form of monetary exchange until the beginning of the Renaissance between the 1100s and 1200s.

The associated early history of financial technology can be considered in terms of the creation of numeracy, recording of debt in physical and paper formats, and then the later development of writing and accounting (FinTech 1.1–5). Counting originally had been carried out using fingers and then marks or notches on wood or stone. Early records of debt were kept in the form of tally sticks, such as the Ishango bone found in the Belgian Congo, which was possibly used over 20,000 years ago (FinTech 1.1). Small shaped clay tokens were used for counting purposes in Mesopotamia, which were later stored in round clay balls or held on a string sealed by clay bullae from around 8000 to 7500 BC (FinTech 1.2). The clay tokens were subsequently transferred to flat clay tablets and then papyrus scripts. Plain tokens were replaced by impressed markings and notches on the clay tablets, with complex tokens being reproduced using pictographic signs. This represents the beginning of recorded debt and numeracy on the one part (FinTech 1.3) and writing on the other (FinTech 1.4). The use of the clay tokens had constituted a form of correspondence counting, with each token representing a specific item and quantity of items that can be considered to represent the beginning of accounting, and counting over time, which could be used with calendars (FinTech 1.5).

2. Paper Money (M2.0 and FinTech 1.2)

M2.0 can be considered to correspond with FinTech 2.0, which represented the development of paper bills of exchange and promissory notes (M2.1–2), goldsmith receipts (M2.3), private bank notes (M2.4), and early public notes (M2.5). Italian merchants used bills of exchange to direct parties to whom they had extended credit to pay other tradesmen that they wished to purchase goods from beginning in the 1200s and 1300s (M2.1). Promissory notes were undertakings by merchants to pay one another, with the first promissory note being signed in Milan in 1325 (M2.2). Such negotiable instruments were commonly used at village, town, country, and great cross-border fairs and for trade across Europe from the Renaissance onward.

Goldsmiths in London began issuing receipts for deposited gold and silver during the 1600s, with these becoming exchange, rather than working, goldsmiths, and then later goldsmith bankers (M2.3). Goldsmiths had collected substantial amounts of specie following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the later seizure of the gold at the Royal Mint by Charles I in 1640, and the beginning of civil war in 1642. The first private bank note was reportedly issued by Messrs Morris and Clayton, scriveners or writing scribes, in 1659 (M2.4). The Bank of England allowed customers to draw notes on the bank against their deposits from 1694 onward (M2.5). The Bank of Scotland issued sterling pound notes from 1696 onward.

Goldsmith banking emerged around 1633. Coutts & Co. originally operated as a goldsmith bank from 1692. Early banking services were provided to the Kings of England by the Jewish community until the withdrawal of protection by King Edward I by edict in 1290. This was only later cancelled by Oliver Cromwell in 1657. The usury laws that prohibited interest rates on loans were abolished by Henry VIII in 1546 following earlier church prohibitions. Financial services were provided by Italian merchants in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and then by English syndicates and wealthy merchants such as William de la Pole, Richard Wittington, Thomas Gresham, and Edward Backwell. The Treasury was reorganised in 1660. Charles II’s default led to the Stop of the Exchequer in 1672. The Crown continued to raise funds from the City of London secured against anticipated Parliamentary revenues. Frank Melton notes that the term “banking” was generally only used in the 1600s and 1700s to refer to government funding and royal finance rather than private banking, which was described in terms of goldsmith bankers and goldsmith “shops.” The origins of English banking in terms of goldsmiths’ practice was referred to in a pamphlet on The Mystery of the New Fashion Goldsmiths in 1676. Other writers attribute the origins of banking to the royal financiers, such as Backwell, during the first half of the seventeenth century, with their practices adopted by the private goldsmith bankers subsequently. Other writers, such as R.H. Tawney, identify the origins of English banking with the scriveners, which accepted deposits from farmers and agriculture, creating scrivener-banks.

The Bank of England produced the first £5 note in 1793 at the beginning of the war with France. Following the crisis in 1797, the bank suspended payment in gold and issued £1 and £2 notes. Printed notes were first produced in 1855 without the need for a cashier signature, with notes stating that “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of.” The printed signatures of three cashiers were used until 1870, when these were reduced to one. Monarchs have appeared on bank notes in Scotland since 1727, with the first monarch to appear on an English bank note being Queen Elizabeth II in 1960.

Several associated developments can be considered to have occurred during this period that can be associated with financial technology (FinTech 1.2). Tally sticks, or nick sticks, were applied for tax collection purposes and used in England from around 1100 under King Henry I (FinTech 1.2.1). London would later emerge as the international centre for the processing of bills of exchange (FinTech 1.2.2) through specialist acceptance houses (FinTech 1.2.3) and discount houses (FinTech 1.2.4). This would later result in the emergence of the “Bill on London.” Cheques were developed during this period (FinTech 1.2.5). The term “cheque” is derived from “exchequer,” or treasury, with cheques developing from early exchequer orders to pay. A cheque is, in law, simply a bill of exchange drawn on a bank. Scroll work was used on cheques to limit fraud in 1717. Personalised cheques were first provided by the Commercial Bank of Scotland—now the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)—in 1818.

3. Bank Accounts (M3.0 and FinTech 1.3.0)

The following stage in money evolution can be understood in terms of the formalised development of the commercial bank accounts for deposit, lending, and payment purposes (M3.0 and FinTech 1.3.1). London’s goldsmith bankers provided “running cashes” from the 1660s onward, which allowed depositors to draw against their account funds. Lending services were extended during the 1600s, with depositors able to direct payment to be made to third parties.

The more significant innovation in terms of financial technology during the 1600s was the formalised use of the bank account (FinTech 1.3.2). This was extended from the debt records of private lenders to the Crown, early scrivener bank ledgers, and then goldsmith exchange bank accounts. While running cash notes were used from the 1660s, these were initially only against deposited, rather than lent, funds. The Royal Bank of Scotland provided the first overdraft in 1728.

A cheque clearing house was created in Lombard Street in 1833 (FinTech 1.3.3). Daily cheque clearing was introduced using “Walk Clerks,” who met at the Five Bells tavern in Lombard Street from 1770 to exchange cheques and settle net amounts due in cash. A separate room was provided beginning 1773, with clearing moved to Messrs Smith, Payne & Smith next door in 1805. A permanent body was established in 1821 to manage clearings, which became the Committee of London Clearing Bankers, and the Bankers’ Clearing House was being constructed in 1833 on Lombard Street (FinTech 1.3.4). Joint-stock banks became members in 1854, and the Bank of England in 1864. Larger premises were acquired at 84–85 King William Street in 1902. The New York Clearing House Association was established in 1853, following a proposal by George D. Lyman, and clearing began at 14 Wall Street on October 11, 1853. The first electronic money transfer was provided by Weston Union in 1871. Money payment was later extended to include securities settlement and custody systems (FinTech 1.3.5).

4. Central Bank Accounts (M4.0 and FinTech 1.4.0)

The history of money was then associated with the growth of modern central banking, including the provision of reserve bank accounts and the construction of modern financial systems during the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s. Significant events included the adoption of the Gold Standard (M4.1), central bank monopoly issuance powers (M4.2), recognition of the need to provide lender of last resort (LLR) support to the financial system (M4.3), collapse of the Gold Standard (M4.4), and creation of an alternative dollar-based exchange standard under the Bretton Woods Treaty in 1944 (M4.5).

Great Britain adopted the Gold Standard on a de facto basis in 1777, with the United Kingdom applying a formal gold specie standard and with coins convertible into gold in 1819 (M4.1). The United States followed in 1834 and 1900, with the value of the dollar being fixed to gold at $20.67 per ounce formally under the Gold Standard Act of 1900. Bank of England notes had been made legal tender for sums above £5 in England and Wales under the Bank Notes Act of 1833 (M4.2). The Bank England was given monopoly rights of note issuance in England and Wales under the Bank Charter Act of 1844, with private note issuance entitlements being withdrawn over time, subject to exception in Scotland and Ireland. The production and value of money became under increasingly direct control with the emergence of modern central banking during the 1800s, which included the acceptance by the Bank of England of its LLR responsibility during the First Barings Crisis in 1890 (M4.3). The Gold Standard was suspended at the beginning of World War I in 1914, with Britain returning under the Gold Standard Act of 1925 to using the pre-war parity, although this had to be abandoned on September 19, 1931, following a drain on gold reserves.

Private bank gold stocks were nationalised in the United States under the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 in exchange for gold certificates during the Great Depression and withdrawal by other European countries from the Gold Standard in 1931. This followed the Wall Street Stock Market Crash on October 29, 1929, and the collapse of Creditanstalt in Vienna on May 11, 1931. An alternative dollar-based gold exchange standard was subsequently created under the Bretton Woods Treaty negotiated July 1–11, 1944, with the dollar fixed to gold at $35 per ounce and other countries tied to the dollar until the collapse of the system in August 1971 (M4.5).

Financial technology developed during this phase can be considered in terms of the adoption of various tools to manage the supply and value of money (FinTech 1.4.1), monopoly note production (FinTech 1.4.2), company formation (FinTech 1.4.3), telecommunications innovations (FinTech 1.4.4), and advances in computer technology (FinTech 4.4.5). Attempts have always been made historically to regulate the value of money, principally through either crying up or down the currency or through recoinage. This became more formalised during the 1700s with the adoption of bimetallic and then single gold specie standards, which would be replaced by the development of more formal monetary policy mechanisms during the 1900s and 2000s. The creation of limited liability, joint-stock banks, and other financial institutions can subsequently be considered to constitute a significant technological development. A voluntary statutory right to incorporate was created under the Joint Stock Companies Act of 1844, with limits on shareholder liability provided under the Limited Liability Act of 1855. While early British banks were established and operated as partnerships, many took advantage of the new joint-stock formation rights, with many smaller banks also merging to create larger banks during the 1800s and early 1900s. Scottish Banks were not subject to the same restrictions on the creation of joint-stock banks.

Financial technology was substantially improved with advances in communications and telecommunications in particular during the 1800s and 1900s. The telegraph was created by the English scientist Sir Francis Ronalds in 1816. The telephone was invented by the Scottish scientist Alexander Graham Bell in 1878. Wireless telegraphy was developed by the Scottish inventor James Bowman Lindsay in 1832, with a commercial system launched by the Italian engineer Guglielmo Marconi in 1894. The first television images were transmitted by the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird in 1925, who was also involved in the subsequent development of videotelephony. Satellite communications began with the launch by an American Atlas Rocket of Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) in 1958.

Financial technology was also substantially assisted by advances in mechanical, electrical, and digital computer hardware and software (FinTech 1.4.5 and 2.1). Numeric computing evolved through various counting tools, including early abacus, and calculation devices, such as logarithms, mechanical calculators, punch card processors, mechanical computers, and analogue and digital computers. Five generations of computing (C0 and 1.0–5.0) can be identified for the purposes of this paper. The most significant innovations included Charles Babbage’s mechanical “Difference Engine” and proposed “Analytical Engine” and Alan Turing’s design of a “universal computing machine.” Mechanical analogue computers were superseded by electromagnetic machines using electrical switches and mechanical relays, and then electric vacuum tubes (valves) and electronic circuit computers. Earlier mechanical and electromechanical machines were subsequently replaced by modern first-generation electronic circuit computers, which were, in turn, superseded by second generation transistors and third generation integrated circuits.

Computers shifted from fixed to multiple stored program machines that could carry out more than one function without reprograming. Super computers also date from the 1970s, which provided dedicated high-level computational capacity rather than carrying out general purpose functions on a parallel, rather than serial, processing basis, with performance measured in floating point operations per second (FLOPS). The Atlas Computer was built by the University of Manchester, Ferranti, and Plessey in 1962, with the Titan computer developed by the University of Cambridge and Ferranti in 1964. Supercomputers were built by Seymour Cray at Control Data Corporation (CDC), Minnesota. The most powerful supercomputer is now the Frontier system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the United States with 8,730,112 cores and producing 1.102 Exaflops (1018 FLOPS). Future developments are expected in the areas of quantum computing (with qbits, superposition, and entanglement), photonics (light) computing, and biological computing.

B. Electronic and Digital Money (M5.0 and FinTech 2.0)

FinTech 2.0 can generally be considered to correspond with Money 5.0, which includes the provision of electronic and digital banking and financial services in the post-war period. This can be understood to have included the first production of bank and credit cards in the 1940s and 1950s (M5.1 and FinTech 2.1), cash dispensers in the 1960s and 1970s (M5.2 and FinTech 2.2), mobile banking at the end of the 1990s and 2000s (M5.3 and FinTech 2.3), and telephone banking (M5.4 and FinTech 2.4). The provision of the full new range of digital financial technology related services can be considered to constitute FinTech 3.0 (and M5.5).

Electronic banking services include direct deposits, direct debits, standing orders, account transfers, large value transfers, foreign exchange facilities, and electronic cheque conversion in some countries, with all of this made available on a twenty-four hour basis without the need to visit branches. The first bank card (Charg-It) was produced by John Biggins in Brooklyn in 1946. The first credit card was provided by Franklyn National Bank in New York in 1951, with Diners Club providing credit on their cards from 1950 in the United States and abroad from 1955. The first automated cash payment or teller machine (ATM) was installed by Barclays Bank in Enfield Town on June 27, 1967. Online or Internet banking was launched in New York in the early 1980s by Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Chemical Bank, and Manufacturers Hanover, but the videotex technology was not well received. The first cheque guarantee card in the United Kingdom was made in 1965, with Barclaycard being the first credit card in 1966. The British currency was decimalised from pounds, shillings, and pence to 100 pence in £1 on February 15, 1971. Telephone banking was launched in 1980 by Girobank. The first debit card was provided in the United Kingdom in 1987, with Barclays’ VISA Delta and Connect with Royal Bank of Scotland, National Westminster, and Midland using Switch in 1988, which was renamed Maestro in 2004. Online banking was introduced in the United Kingdom with Bank of Scotland’s Homelink in 1983 using the Post Office’s Prestel (a portmanteau of “press telephone”) and a television. The Nationwide Building Society was the first to provide Internet-based banking services in the United Kingdom in 1997, with Barclays offering online banking in 1999. Chip-and-pin cards were introduced in the United Kingdom in 2003, contactless credit cards in 2007, and contactless debit cards in 2009.

In terms of UK clearing, automated electronic payments are managed by the Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services (BACS), which was established in 1968 and renamed the Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services and shortened to BACS Ltd in 1986. High-value sterling payments are made through the Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS), which was set up in February 1984. UK payments are overseen by the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR), which was established by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in April 2015, replacing earlier Payments Council, which was established in 2007 following recommendation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in 2006. Direct credits and direct debits are managed through the BACS system, with switching provided under LINK. Mobile payments are managed under VocaLink PAYm, which was launched in April 2014 by the Payments Council. A token-based, real-time retail payment service was also to be provided through VocaLink’s Zapp beginning 2015. UK cheque and Giro credits are cleared through the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC), which was set up in 1985. A “2-4-6” clearing cycle was agreed upon in November 2007, with cheques having to be cleared within a maximum of six days.

C. FinTech 3.0–5.0

FinTech 3.0 represents the beginning of the new financial technology era following the post-Global-Financial-Crisis conditions. This comprises the current phase or iteration of FinTech, with the launch of a wide series of new platform-based digital delivery facilities across all the principal financial sectors. This would include all the new banking, payment, foreign exchange, securities, and insurance applications currently in development.

FinTech 3.0 reflects Net 3.0, or the beginning of the ValueNet, which represents the creation of multiple forms of alternative digital valuation and exchange systems, including through the use of other private and social tokens. FinTech 4.0 corresponds with the further technological advances that will support the emergence of the machine or semantic net, and FinTech 5.0 with the immersive net. This will incorporate significant new elements of RegTech and TechTech, including, for example, with BioTech-based cryptography, big data analytics, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence (AI). These phases and iterations of FinTech, RegTech, and TechTech are still to unfold with the Internet, World Wide Web, Web3, and growth and expansion of the Metaverse.

IV. Internet and World Wide Web

The history of the Internet is concerned with the development of “inter-computer networking.” The development of the Internet is distinct from the creation and subsequent enhancement of the World Wide Web. The Internet refers to the system of globally interconnected computer networks that operates on the basis of a communications protocol suite consisting principally of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP). The Web is concerned with the provision and content of websites and service platforms principally operating using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Hypertext Mark-Up Language (HTML). The evolution of the Internet is closely associated with the growth of telecommunications and the transfer of messages over distance.

The Internet and World Wide Web can be considered to have evolved through a number of stages over time. These are referred to as Net 1.0, Net 2.0, Net 3.0, Net 4.0, and Net 5.0 and Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web 4.0, and Web 5.0 for the purposes of this text. These partly reflect or map the other divisions developed, although they also provide further specific insight into the nature of the complex layers of new network systems set up in the digital area over time.

A. Internet

The early history of the Internet can be considered in terms of five key stages, with the original creation of the ARPANET using packet switching in 1969 (I 1.0); the proposed creation of an “inter-network” using a single transmission control protocol (TCP/IP) in 1974 (I 2.0), which switched from ARPANET to TCP/IP in 1983 (I 3.0); the creation of the Domain Name System (DNS) in 1984 (I 4.0); and more recent further interconnection with the Metaverse and then possible state fragmentation or splintering (I 5.0). The provision of structured site content was also introduced during this most recent period (I 5.0) following the invention of the World Wide Web by British programmer Tim Berners-Lee in 1990, representing the beginning of the web (Web 1.0).

1. ARPANET and Packet Switching

Early computers were connected through Local Area Networks (LANs), which were extended to wide area networks (WANs) in the 1950s, and with the subsequent history of the Internet intended to bring computers together on a national and international network basis. The idea for the creation of a global network was proposed by Joseph Licklider, Vice President of Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. in 1960, with a follow-up paper being published by Licklider and Welden Clark in 1962. Licklider was employed by the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) within its Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO). Licklider proposed designing a single terminal to connect the three networks that the IPTO used at that time. Robert Taylor at the DARPA brought in Larry Roberts to develop the first ARPANET link using packet switching on October 29, 1969, between Stanford and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Donald Davies at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom had proposed the establishment of a national data network using packet switching in 1965, with a Mark 1 network being built in 1970.

2. Internet Protocol TCP/IP

A common Internetwork protocol was developed by Robert E. Kahn and Vinton Cerf at DARPA in 1973. The programme document referred to the “Internet,” rather than Internetworking, for the first time. The Internet protocol suite was expanded to create the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) in 1978.

ARPANET was transferred to the Defense Communications Agency in July 1975, with a military network being created with the MILNET in 1983. The National Science Foundation (NSF) established the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) in 1986 to connect sponsored supercomputers across America and to support network connections between regional research and educational systems. ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990, with the NSFNET brought out of commission in 1995 and replaced by a number of independent Internet service providers (ISPs). Early ISPs included PSINet, UUNET, Netcom and Portal Software and the World, CerfNet, and ANSCo plus RE. The TCP/IP was adopted by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1984.

3. NSF and Commercial Access

The NSF was allowed to permit access to non-research or educational institutions under the Scientific and Advanced Technology Act of 1992. While concerns were expressed with regard to the commercial access that this provided to the Internet, the move was confirmed with the NSF’s decommissioning of the NSFNET Backbone Service on April 30, 1995. This led to the massive subsequent expansion of the Internet in terms of commercial and social use, which preempted the later creation of the Multinet and separate Metaverse.

4. Domain Name System (DNS)

The Internet Domain Name System (DNS) was opened in 1984 with the first Domain Name Servers (DNS). This created a centralised hierarchical system for identifying domain names with specific IP addresses. This also created a global directory service for domains. Responsibility is managed through core authoritative name servers with sub-servers.

5. Splinternet, Multinet, and Metaverse

The most recent history of the Internet has been one of external dislocation and separation at the same time as internal expansion and consolidation. A number of countries have been concerned with the dangerous potential of the Internet to promote freedom of speech and critical opinion, which can be considered to form a natural part and extension of the Popular and Protest Society referred to below. This has resulted in the assumption of state control over access to and content delivery on the Internet. This has, in turn, led to a fragmentation, or splintering, of the global Internet, as certain countries have created closed controlled national systems, such as Russia with its “RuNet.” The “Great Firewall of China” (Golden Shield Project) was set up in China to control Internet access and content in 1993. Russia has also applied a “Digital Iron Curtain,” with other countries adopting similar models to assert their perceived “information sovereignty,” such as in North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and Turkey.

The most recent history of the Internet has, however, also been associated with the proposed creation of a Multinet and Metaverse. A large number of virtual worlds have been set up on the Internet, principally for gaming and social purposes. Each of these, nevertheless, requires separate access and operates in a distinct and independent manner. The effect of the Metaverse will be to build extended new worlds within this online environment for business and social purposes and to connect all these separate worlds through common interconnections to allow people to move among them using single point of access systems and, where relevant, common digital avatars.

There were around 185 online worlds, with approximately twenty-five of these connected with cryptocurrency or distributed ledger technology. Many of these could become fully interconnected over time. These may also operate with their own cryptocurrency or separate cryptocurrencies or tokens, with new forms of exchange and conversion set up over time. While it is already possible to purchase land and property and other goods and commodities in these worlds, a wide range of banking and financial services may increasingly be provided on the Metaverse, which will, in turn, form part of the wider growth in the ValueNet with the creation of a whole series of new social value tokens distinct from fiat currency. All of this will raise significant new issues in terms of banking, finance, and other private and public law reform.

B. World Wide Web

English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee designed the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 and built the first web server and web browser, WorldWideWeb (later Nexus), in 1990. The WWW allows all relevant resources to be located and identified using Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) with HTTP and HTML. The objective was to connect hypertext and Internet technologies using URLs, HTTP, and HTML.

The difference between the Internet and the Web is that the Internet constitutes the underlying network infrastructure that connects computers with the Web, forming a specific language based on HTTP protocol that allows the sharing of information in a common format. The Web principally uses HTTP and HTML, with HTTP specifying how messages should be formatted and transmitted and HTML determining how to construct web pages using tags and attributes. Other languages include Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which is used for emails, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and instant messaging.

The history of the WWW can be structured in a number of ways. For the purposes of this text, a parallel five-part division (W1.0–5.0) is developed.

1. Web 1.0 Access Only

The WWW became operational and publicly available on August 6, 1991, although web pages were essentially “read only” until 1999. Large numbers of new websites were created, but these were information only. Web 1.0 sites did not allow for any interaction. Documents could be sent through email, including through the use of the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) mailto. WWW 1.0 sites included early shopping cart catalogues and brochure facilities.

One of the most important companies during Web 1.0 was Netscape Communications, which was originally established as Mosaic Communications Corporation in 1994. Netscape Navigator was the most popular browser during the 1990s until the advent of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, despite the United States antitrust case against Microsoft in 2001. The most commonly used browsers now include Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Edge, Google Chrome, Opera Mini, Safari, and Firefox.

2. Web 2.0 Self-Publishing

Web 2.0 represented the read-write web, which allowed users to write content and interact with other parties. Web 2.0 was referred to as a “Fragmented Future” by Darcy DiNucci in 1999. Information could be published using, for example, LiveJournal and Blogger in 1999. Web 2.0 led to the availability of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook (later Meta) as social media and video streaming sites developed. This allowed users to add content, with customers effectively building website and platform businesses. Major successes included the launch of the search engine Google to link other sites in terms of usage through its PageRank algorithm. Google was created in 1996 at Stanford University by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, with the domain registered in September 1997 and the company incorporated in September 1998. Wikipedia was created in 2001. iTunes originated in 2001 with the first iPod. Facebook was originally developed by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 and renamed Meta in October 2021. YouTube was opened on February 14, 2005, and was purchased by Google in 2006.

3. Web 3.0 Execution

Berners-Lee has referred to Web 3.0 as the “semantic” or read-write-execute web. The semantic web refers to the use of common data formats and exchange protocols to allow data transfer. Berners-Lee has separately referred to this as “Linked Data,” with the objective being to allow for the use of the web to be extended to permit the direct transfer and accessibility of data between computers. This commonly uses the Resource Description Framework (RDF) data model to exchange data content between computers in a common accessible form. Berners-Lee would later build new forms of Personal Online Data (PODs) to protect personal information through his INRUP proposal, which also assists in protecting the decentralised nature of the Internet.

4. Web 4.0 Machine Net

The fourth stage may be referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) or “Internet of Objects” (IoO). The purpose is to connect devices, homes, commercial buildings, industrial plants, and other objects through the Internet. The IoT began with the development of Coca-Cola’s can status programmes, with a Coke dispenser machine at Carnegie Mellon University in 1982. The IoT would operate through wireless sensor networks, embedded systems, and micro systems technology (MST). This constitutes a form of ubiquitous or pervasive computer, with programmes running applications in all aspects of the real world on a continuous basis. Fifty billion devices were predicted to have become connected through the IoT by 2020. The IoT was predicted to affect almost all aspects of daily life, including education, business, transport, energy, the home, and the earth.

5. Web 5.0 Immersive

There is no formal Web 5.0, although this may be understood to predict a much more sensory, symbiotic, reactive, intelligent, and almost emotional web. This would represent an extension of Web 3.0 and 4.0, with the objective being to create a more dynamic, almost living web. Symbiosis refers to the condition where separate species or organisms can live together in a beneficial balance, which may later include human machine interface and general and super AI systems. The term “immersive web” is used to refer to deeper levels of user experience and engagement, such as through the use of 3D technology. Web 5.0 would take this further in creating almost parallel realities and hybrid consciousness beyond the singularity, with computers outperforming human intelligence across all areas of comparison. The web could become a form of sixth sense. This is estimated to arise around 2030 and may also be referred to as the emotional or spiritual web.

The emergence of the Metaverse is the most recent phenomenon. The Metaverse is a proposed network of separate virtual worlds or simulations that would be connected and transferable across the Internet. The Metaverse was first referenced in the science fiction book Snow Crash by the American writer Neal Stephenson. This would consist of separate online gaming and social media, as well as new business environments, and possible 3D physical regimes through the use of wearable devices such as headsets and haptic devices. This could either operate on a virtual basis only or connect augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which would produce a new mixed reality (MR), hybrid reality (HR) with new virtual economies (VEs), or the creation of virtual worlds (VWs). These can be referred to collectively as Extended Reality (XR) under this paper. Meta (Facebook) developed a VR world named Facebook Horizon in 2012 (subsequently renamed Horizon Worlds). Property can already be purchased on the Metaverse through multiple platforms. Banks and other financial institutions are exploring options such as opening virtual “lounges” on the Metaverse for clients. Substantially revised or new legal, regulatory, and ethical frameworks will have to be produced to protect all relevant rights and interests and to ensure the Metaverse’s safe and stable operation.

V. Contemporary History and Society

The changes that have occurred in modern technology and living can also be considered in terms of the evolving nature of society. Social and community organisations and relations have changed substantially due to a number of factors, especially technology. The following five separate types or phases of society can be distinguished in the post-war period: Consumer or Consumption Society (S1.0); Information, Knowledge, and Digital Society (S2.0); Risk Society (S3.0); Social, Sharing, and Caring Society (S4.0); and the most recent Popular and Protest Society (S5.0).

All these new social models may be referred to as forms of post-modern or post-industrial societies. The post-modern society rejects modernism and the nineteenth and twentieth century examination of industrialisation and urbanization, as well as underlying assumptions, including ideas of inherent social progress and social evolution. The post-industrial society can be understood in terms of culture rather than production. This can also be referred to as the Programme Society, with society becoming the object of change and manageable or programmable. Education, information, consumption, and other social determinants all become industrialised within it. Programming can be separately understood as referring to types of social engineering with social technology, although social technology is used more generally in this text to refer to any technology that can assist in carrying out social functions.

A. Consumer or Consumption Society

The period after World War II has been characterised by the growth of consumption and a new Consumer Society. A Consumer Society can be understood to refer to people purchasing surplus goods in excess of their basic needs or necessities. This originally dated from the introduction of metal coinage in Lydia around 700 BC and with the growth of private property and the first “shopping malls,” following the breakdown of earlier great civilizations and the emergence of small city-states. Periods of subsequent excess consumption occurred during Greek and Roman times and later in the mercantile and colonial periods beginning in the 1600s.

B. Information, Knowledge, and Digital Society

The Information Society is a system of social organisation in which information becomes a key political, economic, and cultural determinant. Attention shifts from the production of goods and services to the collection, analysis, and management of information and data. Nevertheless, significant difficulties arise in defining such interconnected terms like information, data, knowledge, ideas, and records or archives, with a series of structured dependent definitions developed for the purposes of this text. This facilitates the adoption of a more consistent and integrated approach to understanding the meaning and importance of the new Information, Data, and Knowledge Societies currently under construction. This includes the Digital Society and Internet Society, which facilitates the creation and transmission of information through digital and online systems.

The Knowledge Society refers to the use and application of information for social benefit. Information is used as a resource to generate new social value or wealth. Without this, information can arguably become non-knowledge. Knowledge is understanding and creates a new form of human capital that is a public good. The Knowledge Society supports the development of a Knowledge Economy, both of which are based on cultural diversity, educational equality, universal access to information, and freedom of expression. The Information and Knowledge societies can be understood to have been products or extensions of the Digital Revolution.

A World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was held in Geneva in 2003, with a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action being adopted and a second phase being agreed upon in Tunis in November 2005. The United Nations General Assembly endorsed the holding of the WSIS in December 2001 to examine the nature of the new Information Society and relevant opportunities and challenges. This was supported by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, as well as by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Geneva Declaration contained a roadmap to create an Information Society open to all based on shared knowledge, with a plan of action to ensure that fifty percent of the world’s population was online by 2015. A separate Working Group on Internet Governance was established to examine governance issues, with a further shaping document being produced by non-governmental organisations and civil society representatives. The Tunis Commitment and Tunis Agenda for the Information Society was agreed upon at the follow-up meeting in November 2005, with the establishment of a separate Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

The WSIS Geneva Declaration and Tunis Commitment effectively combine information and knowledge, with knowledge being subsumed within information and the Knowledge Society forming part of the new Information Society under construction.

C. Risk Society

The idea of a Risk Society is concerned with the various types of risks and exposures that arise in modern communities and the need to manage these over time. This reflects concerns with the growth in modernity and potential damage arising through continuing social change and adjustment. The creation of a Risk Society becomes necessary in response to the new challenges created in a post-modern world. This reflects an increased awareness of social and physical threat and exposure. These concerns and dissatisfactions will be taken up by subsequent popular and protest movements, which have been given further voice through the development of modern social media channels. This further reflects the increased adoption of increasingly sophisticated forms of risk identification, measurement and management within financial institutions, and financial markets. A new, more extensive, complete, and comprehensive examination of endogenous (internal), exogenous (external), and potentially fatal (existential) risk can be constructed for the purposes of this paper.

D. Social, Sharing, and Caring Society

The term Social Society can be used to refer to the growth in the use of social media platforms and technologies to create new forms of interactive communication and virtual networks or communities. This represents an extension of the Digital Society and Internet Society. This was facilitated by advances in laptop computers and mobile telephones, tablets, and other forms of telecommunication. A significant number of highly popular social media websites and platforms have since been developed. This has, in turn, facilitated the development of many new forms of social Internet exchanges, including weblogs (blogs), video blogs (vlogs), personalised one-to-many web pages, user edited wikis, Internet for a, and other many-to-many social network services.

Immediate communication and closer social contact have also led to the development of what may be referred to as the Sharing Society or Caring Society, with people motivated to undertake increased levels of social and community contribution and support. This overlaps with the idea of a Sharing Economy based on peer-to-peer exchanges and e-commerce. The Sharing Economy may also be referred to as a Collaborative or Consumption Economy. This has separately been called the “Uber Economy” or “Uberisation.” This forms part of the separate “Gig Economy,” which has emerged based on business models operating through algorithms built on Internet websites principally involving separate independent contracting rather than more traditional employee relations.

E. Popular and Protest Society

Reference may be made most recently to the emergence of a new Popular Society, or a number of new Popular Societies, as well as new universal media-driven Protest Societies. These can be considered to have their origins in earlier populism and more popular political movements, with populism simply referring to calls for governance by the people rather than by a recognised elite. The strength of these collective groups and communities has further been enhanced by the power of continuous, direct, and immediate communication and social media. Recent examples include, for example, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and Occupy London.

The emergence of new popular protest movements can partially explain such social and political phenomena as the results of the United Kingdom referendum to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016 (Brexit) and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States on December 16, 2016 (Trumpsit or Trumpism). The focus on emotional, rather than strictly factual or rational, arguments and positions in the debates leading up to these elections have separately been referred to as the emergence of a form of “post-truth” politics.

These popular swings may presage similar movements in other elections elsewhere in the coming years. The idea of “post-truth” news reporting may be extended to include “post-fact,” “post-source,” “post-verification,” and “post-control” media use. These can be considered to form part of the information risk in a post-modern media-driven society. Information risk, in turn, constitutes a specific type of operational risk that firms and governments must manage, which is related to technology risk.

VI. Common History and Common Heritage

The recent growth in financial technology has created new challenges in terms of historical study and understanding that must be closely considered with the continued development of money and finance. Earlier forms of political, military, and constitutional history have been replaced by more receptive forms of individual, community, or social history. Money, finance, and financial technology can be considered to constitute specific forms of social technology or, more accurately, separate sub-fields within history more generally that support wider social and market functions, perspectives, and objectives. Significant new interests in these areas may also be considered to create new forms of common heritage or concerns to humanity under public international law. Finance and technology may separately impact the wider intergovernmental and international relations theory and require new study and examination, especially in terms of the specific potential impacts and effects of economic functionalism or neo-functionalism and possibly private financial, market, or social functionalism and technological functionalism on state relations, with a new collective state geo-functionalism emerging. All of this is considered in further detail below.

A. Social and Financial History

History and historiography are distinct, with historiography examining historical methodology. Traditional methods stress the objective examination of primary sources, focusing principally on individuals and key political events. History provides insight into past occurrences, changes, and trends, while historiography uses different methodologies and approaches that focus on specific areas such as political or economic history.

Historical studies have traditionally focused on political, military, or constitutional events. This has shifted more recently to examining social effects as part of social history and new social history. This applies within a larger individualisation or socialisation of many social and political activities, as well as academic disciplines. Social history became important during the 1960s and 1970s, with a shift towards focusing on individuals and social conditions rather than political and military events. This is now referred to as “new social history,” with a focus on quantitative techniques and examination of social structures and processes within society as a whole. This reflected earlier schools, such as the Annales in France and the history of society movement (Gesellschaftsgeschichte) in Germany. Social history bridges other forms of history. Social history has been supplemented more recently by the development of cultural history, which focuses on the prevailing culture and collective traditions of a particular period.

A number of different approaches or theories can be identified within historical study, in addition to underlying methodologies. Major debates have, for example, arisen over time as to whether historical writing should be historicist or reductionist, empiricist and objective or subjective and selective, determinist or freewill, fixed or revisionist, teleological and idealistic or reconstructive. While historians generally attempt to be objective and unbiased, it has to be accepted that an element of selection may always be involved. Strict historicism and its attachment of understanding and explanation to particular historical conditions also approaches relativism and the rejection of objective or universal knowledge or truth. Historicism has also been criticised for its determinism, with past events directing future outcomes, and lack of personal choice and influence.

The historical approach adopted in this paper is essentially objective, focused rather than strictly selective, partly constructivist, partly revisionist, teleological and non-idealist, as well as non-determinist and supporting free will and choice. The review of the history of money and technology conducted has been objective and directed. Social technologies, money, and finance can be used in a teleological manner to explain trends, movements, and outcomes. These are generally, nevertheless, non-idealist in the sense of not being used to carry out any specific design or social engineering outcome. As technical tools, they are most usually used in a neutral manner in western and non-centralised economic models. Fiscal policy and specifically taxation can be used separately for redistributive purposes, with money and finance generally applied in a neutral and functional-only manner.

The market approach followed is essentially non-determinist and allows for free will and free choice. This rejects the determinism of historicism and historical determinism. Agents have nominal free choice and the ability to take decisions acting in their own interests. Free will is to some extent conditioned by modern behaviour theories and the limitations it recognises, for example, in terms of heuristics and biases. People can act according to intellectual shortcuts and within limited experience or knowledge frames or boxes. They may also be influenced by herding and collective decision taking. Agents may also not act with perfect information and rationality and often rely on instinct and intuition to a significant extent, which may then be rationalised and justified independently. Freedom of choice and action is, nevertheless, still available contrary to the dictates of strict determinism and fixed outcomes.

The approach is revisionist to the extent that the importance of money, banking, and finance in social evolution can be subject to reassessment and re-examination. This can be considered in terms of creating a “Structural Theory” of money, banking, and finance with exchange, which examines society in terms of the order created by money and markets. This can be considered to form part of social history or, more specifically, separate fields within financial history, with technology history forming a separate field. This reflects the focus on structure and order within the France Annales and German Gesellschaftsgeschichte, as noted. Social order and operations are to a significant extent based on money and finance and the private markets and exchange that they permit. Money and markets support the exchange of individual labour in return for wages, which allows for the purchase of necessities and consumption, as well as the wider specialisation of labour and mass production that supports economic growth and advancement.

A more specific social or financial claim theory of money can also be developed over time within this Structural Theory. This theory defines money as any item of value denominated in the form of an official reference asset issued and recognised by the government or state and capable of supporting or discharging one or more of the core functions of money or its use applications. This can be referred to as creating a Consolidated or Reconciliation Theory, with a number of general or specific theories of money being developed. These include separate economics, legal, social, sociology, psychological, international private law (IPL), payment, public international law (PIL), and asset theories. The massive amount of literature published on the history of money can also be considered in terms of a series of great historical debates, with these involving various theories or sub-theories of money over time. These great debates can be summarised in terms of money form, money nature, money creation, money value, and money function.

The underlying principal component within this is possibly not then money as such but the financial claim and right or entitlement to a transfer of monetary value. This dates from Roman times with the term obligatio used to refer to both the right to receive payment and the obligation to make payment. The digital financial claim has become more significant recently with the electrification and then digitalisation of money forms. A number of distinct types of claims can be distinguished, including immediate (or confirmed), conditional (or quantifiable), convertible (into or from a foreign currency), contingent (subject to a specific event arising), and possibly complex or composite (being included in larger transactions, such as through embedded payments and derivative contracts). The financial claim may arise by way of voluntary or consensual contract, operation of law and tort or restitution, criminal liability, or administrative charge, including taxation. The financial claim then forms the basis for many express or implied relations across society through its actual use and contingent availability and continuing expectation and reliance. This is also relevant across a wide number of fields of law, with financial law being orthogonal in light of the breadth of its common relevance and application.

An emphasis on the important role of money and finance in history forms part of the Structural Theory of money and finance. All of this further confirms the importance of money, banking, and finance as significant social technologies throughout history.

B. Social Technology

Social technology can be understood to refer to any specific type of social solution or tool. This would include the discovery of fire (and later forms of steam and combustion power and electrical, nuclear, and alternative energy), the wheel (for transport, carriage, and delivery purposes), tools (including weaponry), and language, writing, and counting. Money and finance can be considered as significant social technologies that have supported exchange and production throughout human history. Money and markets carry out six specific functions in terms of valuation, savings and deposit, lending and credit, payment, investment, and risk of loss management without which society and the government could not function.

The study of social technology can refer to the use of important technologies to secure specific social objectives or the collective impact of the use of such technologies on society. This may be understood in terms of delivering particular social aims or the use of social organisation and administration to carry out this intent. Social technology can then be used to understand and manage social order in society over time.

Social technology could also be used more specifically to secure a form of controlled social engineering, such as that adopted in centrally planned economies. This could be directed at correcting specific identifiable social problems, such as poverty or financial exclusion, in addition to more general forms of economic or government planning. A distinction can also be drawn between collective social engineering within a democratic environment and other more idealistic or utopian forms of social engineering.

Money, finance, and FinTech constitute significant social technologies in their own terms. Money can be considered to have been one of the most important original social technologies in discharging the core functions of valuation and exchange throughout history. Money and finance were not specifically adopted to achieve any particular planned social aim, although they clearly support and imply open free-market conditions. These can be summarised in terms of private markets, private property, limited regulation, and the rule of law with the division of labour, specialised production, and the invisible hand of the market, which dates back to Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations in 1776. This formed the basis of neoliberalism, which was subsequently adopted by such writers as Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and is considered further below.

FinTech more specifically consists of a collection of new technologies that could bring substantial advantage while adjusting social relations. This applies particularly with the decentralization of lending and credit relations and the disintermediation of many traditional financial functions. This may consist of new forms of social software and social hardware that could bring substantial social growth and advantage. Specific benefits may arise in terms of digitalisation, decentralisation, disintermediation, privatisation, and disruption and dislocation markets, as well as the mobilisation, personalisation, monetisation, socialisation, and democratisation of many aspects of banking and financial services. These generate significant consequential advantages in terms of cost, speed, reliability, possible validity, and quality of service. RegTech will also improve the identification, measurement, and management of financial and other risks within markets. FinTech and RegTech then allow for the traditional functions of savings, lending, payment, investment, and risk management to be carried out in a number of new, more efficient ways, particularly through digital platforms and programmes and distributed ledger technology with decentralisation. Other forms of advanced new technology include computing and quantum computing, digital connections and telecommunications (including cybersecurity), cloud computing and cloud networks, decentralisation (with blockchain and graph technology), the Internet and WWW, BioTech, NanoTech, applied robotics and cybernetics with machine reading, machine learning, AI, and machine sentience.

All of this represents a significant extension of more traditional technologies or tools with many innovative and transformative new features and functions. This also creates important new forms of commercial, financial, political, community, and social knowledge, assets, or interests, which have to be managed effectively.

C. Common Heritage

Examining common and global social knowledge, assets, and interests raises the issue of how these might be protected over time. This can specifically be considered in terms of the common heritage of humanity (CHH) or common concerns of humankind (CCH), as well as more general erga omnes obligations under public international law.

CHH is concerned with the protection of areas of common property or interest under public international law. This corresponds with the principle of res communis, or collective property, under Roman law as opposed to res nullius, or property belonging to no one or no society or community. CHH may be tangible or intangible and refer to natural or cultural matters. CHH was first alluded to in the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea in 1958 and later in the Declaration of Principles Governing the Seabed and Ocean Floor in 1970 and Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS) in 1982. Additionally, CHH has been considered in the United Nations’ space treaties. The need to protect CHH was highlighted by the Maltese Ambassador Arvid Pardo (1914–1999) in a speech to the United Nations in 1967.

The common heritage principle effectively disapplies traditional property ideas, such as “first in time, first in right,” to areas such as the Artic, Antarctica, seabed, and space. The disapplication of traditional property ideas allows for the recognition of common entitlements rather than exclusive sovereign rights, shared property entitlements, and restricted property rights. Five conditions are generally applied to determine whether the matter is subject to CHH. Difficult issues still arise in managing collective entitlements of countries and in balancing public and private interests, especially where private corporate management or investment may be necessary. These difficulties may require the development of, for example, modified leasehold arrangements to manage exploration, exploitation, and distribution.

While use of CHH has generally been limited to the areas of seabed and space exploration application, CHH’s application could arguably be extended to apply to physical items, such as archaeological sites and historic monuments; cultural phenomena, such as literature, language, and customer practices; and natural systems, such as biosphere reserves, deserts, and islands. CHH may also be extended to apply to the human genome, and possibly the planet, as a form of global commons. While nations have generally been reluctant to extend CHH beyond the seabed and outer space, wider issues have been considered by other global civil society interest groups, with further attention being attached to ideas of global ecological citizenship and justice and common ethical conditions. This could arguably be extended further in the future to provide a legal basis for further common and collective action.

D. Common Concern

The related idea that arises under public international law is the principle of protecting the common concerns of humankind or humanity (CCH). CCH may be understood in terms of either collective state interests or common interests beyond the scope of concern of any particular state. CCH is concerned with managing global concerns of humanity as a whole. CCH considers broader non-state-specific issues that CHH does not. For example, CCH has been used in relation to wider global environmental issues and in environmental treaty applications such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992), and Paris Agreement (2015). CCH is considered less precise and established than CHH. While this may not import specific obligations or direct rules or duties on states, it may still narrow state action.

CCH can also be considered with wider erga omnes obligations that are owed by states to the international community as a whole. Obligations erga omnes were provided for under the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts with Commentaries (2001). For example, the articles refer to obligations due to “the international community as a whole.” These obligations include the prevention of genocide, slavery, and racial discrimination, as well as the principle of self-determination.

Erga omnes may also operate with the general public international law obligation that states cannot cause injury to another state through the use of their territory. This can be considered with the related principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR) applied in the climate area, such as under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). CCH’s obligations may extend to consulting and cooperating on matters threatening international peace and stability, imposing international obligations and commitments, and requiring states to take necessary countermeasures to deal with unjustified benefits (free riding) and uncooperative (evasive) states, subject to proportionality. A principal common concern can certainly be considered to apply to climate-related discussions.

Existing state obligations under public international law and the doctrines of CHH and CCH could be expanded further to create a wider framework of recognised common duties and interests. This could be extended, for example, to include certain “Common Objectives of Humanity,” “Common Assets (or Technology) of Humanity,” and “Common Undertakings of Humanity.” These could be collectively referred to as “Common Interests of Humanity” (CIH). An alternative formulation could include, for example, “Mutual Objectives of Civilisation” (MOC), “Mutual Assets of Civilisation” (MAC), or “Mutual Interests of Civilisation” (MIC). These provisions could then be set out in a form of a “Mutual Undertakings of the Species Treaty” (MUST) or “Mutual Obligations of the Species Treaty” (MOST).

E. Common Function

New technological approaches can also be incorporated into the wider intergovernmental and international relations theory. The focus on either the state or the individual is reflected in the two primary sets of ideas examined under the international relations theory, with realism and liberalism and their more modern derivations. Realism focuses on state identity and security, with the balance of power between countries. Liberalism highlights the individual and ideas of freedom, liberty, and equality. Liberal economic theory was based on the principles of free markets and free trade with limited government intervention and control. Neoliberalism stresses the importance of non-governmental bodies and intergovernmental organisations while accepting the central role of states in international relations. Neorealism focuses on state structural and principally survival factors rather than individual state personalities.

Other more recent areas of study and theories include functionalism; constructivism, including the English School or International Society Theory; institutionalism; and other critical theories, such as earlier Marxist, feminist, post-colonial, and ecological writings. The development of money and finance can be understood principally against a neoliberal international theory background, although these could be expanded further through the use of functional theories. Functional theories could be extended to include, in addition to “economic functionalism,” specific new forms of “market functionalism” and “financial functionalism” and possibly new “technological functionalism,” as well as “social functionalism” and more general “geo-functionalism.”

The creation of the European Union, which was based on applied neo-functionalism or economic functionalism, represents one of the most significant achievements in international relations and public international law following World War II. This approach to state integration was adopted by the “founding fathers” within Europe, such as the distinguished French businessman Jean Monnet (1888-1979) and the French statesman Robert Schuman (1886–1963), who designed the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) under the Treaty of Paris in 1952. Neo-functionalism operates by bringing countries together to secure a specific objective of common interest to establish immediate contact and cooperation and enhance confidence that would allow the pursuit of deeper and wider integration policies subsequently. Neo-functionalism is based, inter alia, on increased economic interconnection, extension (spillover) effects, organisational and capacity building, as well as increased interdependence and technocratic centralisation.

The European Union was specifically constructed on the basis of a number of staged integration initiatives, beginning with a highly modest first initial contact step, with this incorporating an inherent contingent institutional and legal capacity to expand. The original ECSC was set up under the Treaty of Paris in 1952, which led to the subsequent agreement on the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC) and European Nuclear Energy Community (EURATOM) under the two Treaties of Rome in 1958. The European Union was created later under the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. The Maastricht Treaty was based on a single “European Community”, which replaced the earlier ECSC, EEC and EURATOM, with two separate pillars adopted in the areas of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). The European Community essentially operates on the basis of applied free movement in the four core areas of persons, goods, services, and capital. The underlying policy principle is accordingly functionalism, or more specifically economic functionalism or neo-functionalism, with successful cooperation in such early limited areas of coal and steel activity leading to cooperation on the creation of a wider single market in goods, services, and energy across Europe and then the European Union, with the possible ultimate political integration of all participating Member States to follow.

The promotion of FinTech, RegTech, and TechTech could be considered to constitute a form of “new functionalism” or “new neo-functionalism” that relies on private markets rather than state action and support. This might be referred to as “market functionalism” or “neo-market functionalism,” which assists markets in coming together through trading goods, services, and technology, thereby providing wider social exchange and engagement. FinTech and RegTech could also create a more specific form of digital “financial functionalism,” with TechTech resulting in “technological functionalism” or “techno functionalism.” The power of the Internet and social media platforms and the emerging Metaverse may also generate a form of “social functionalism” that brings individuals and communities together across the world and creates a new MultiNet or MultiVerses through new integrated platforms.

International support and engagement can also be promoted through a further re-applied form of European neo-functionalism, which may be referred to “geo-functionalism” for purposes of this paper. This could also be described as constituting a new form of “global functionalism,” “globalism,” or “globism.” This could be used to promote long-term, extended cooperation and coordination of action between nation states built on earlier established areas of existing or new contact and confidence. This would support other, more specific theories of private “financial functionalism,” “market functionalism,” and “technological functionalism” with “social functionalism.” All these theories could assist private and public entities and markets in coming together with governments and states, as well as communities and individuals in pursuing common objectives and goals. Such theories could, for example, assist in responding to continuing collective global challenges, including biological pandemics and climate correction, as well as protecting recognised common heritage, culture, and other assets and interests. This is considered in further detail below.

VII. Financial Technology Comments and Conclusions

This paper has attempted to construct a number of overlapping historical maps and understand the growth and evolution of money, finance, and financial technology. This has been set against an outline of the full scope of documented history and cosmological and human pre-history. Five specific revolutionary periods have been identified and the evolution of money and technology examined against this background. Five core periods of money development have been identified, with the movement from early commodity to coin, paper, bank accounts, central bank reserve accounts, and new electronic and digital forms of money. A parallel five-part division of financial technology and technology history has been constructed, which allows for future change and growth. The formation and expansion of the Internet and WWW have been considered against these core technological events, which include continuing advances in computing and data processing. The evolution of society in the period following World War II has been outlined in terms of five key periods of societal development. A new structural theory of banking and finance has been constructed, with a financial or monetary claim theory of money developed within this.

The paper has also attempted to draw provisional observations on the possible identification and protection of certain core common global entitlements and interests and the ability of societies to protect, preserve, or otherwise manage these over time. This includes the common heritage of humanity (CHH) or common concerns of humankind (CCH), as well as more general erga omnes obligations under public international law. These might be collectively referred to as consisting of the common interests of humanity (CIH) or mutual interests of civilisation (MIC). This may also include other core objectives, assets, and undertakings. This may then provide a basis for establishing organised systems of common commitment and common activity to respond to these challenges over time, supported by new forms of private market, financial, technological, and social functionalism and state geo-functionalism.

The following more specific provisional comments and conclusions may be drawn about the nature and importance of law, regulation, and ethics in modern markets and society. The possible future development of FinTech, RegTech, and TechTech can be examined, with the creation of new wider global control frameworks that prevent future common global crises and losses and preserve global collective knowledge, assets, and interests. A number of further recommendations on future growth, development, and evolution will follow.

A. Law and Technology

FinTech, RegTech, and TechTech are expected to bring substantial change and advancement. This will also necessarily generate disruption and fragmentation to the structure and operation of banking and financial markets, the delivery of banking and financial services, commercial and business law, and other areas of social and political engagement at the national and international levels.

Law has historically been either oral or paper-based and has been applied in both the physical and mechanical worlds throughout history. Messaging, communications, and record-keeping have been transformed by new analogue electrical signaling, processing, and storage systems. More significant advances have been made in the digital era using binary coding and messaging and increasingly miniaturised microprocessors in computing and telecommunications devices. These have been applied on a centralised, and then decentralized, basis through the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) to limit the dangers of a single point of attack (SPA) and single point of failure (SPF). The most significant recent advances have been in the development of new robotic, cybernetic, and artificial intelligence systems, as well as biotechnology (BioTech), nanotechnology (NanoTech), and online virtual worlds. All of this will be further impacted with the development of new forms of energy and alternative energy production, such as fusion and potentially cold fusion, and of photonic, neuromorphic, biological, and quantum computing. The implications that such massive technological advances and transformations will have on legal creation, content, expression, use, and application, however, remain unclear.

New technology (NewTech) includes a number of significant components, each of which is transformative in and of itself. These include the use of binary and hexadecimal code (including Unicode) to create new digital assets, digital personal identification and signature systems, cryptographic access controls (including dual public private key elliptic curve cryptography), decentralised applications (DAPPs), application programme interfaces (APIs), automation and smart contracts, big data analytics, decentralisation and distributed ledger technology (DLT) (including blockchain and graph technology with directed acyclic graphs (DAGs)), decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), reform of the Internet and WWW (with Net 3.0 and Web 3.0), and creation of new digital worlds (including the Metaverse).

NewTech will require a complete revision of traditional philosophy and legal theories, ideas, approaches, and content. This applies to the nature of rights, information, data, digital information, digital data, persons, legal agents, things, property, contracts, obligations, money, finances, remedies, and actions. Specific difficulties also arise in identifying relevant governing laws and forum selection, as well as emerging digital international private law (DIPL) and digital public international law (DPIL). Further issues arise in determining the proper relationship between law and code, applying limits to the extent that code replaces law, and determining the scope of legal rights.

All of this will apply to all forms of NewTech and other emerging forms of future technology (FutureTech). The use of NewTech and FutureTech has substantially changed the manner in which people may engage and interact. People may act directly themselves or indirectly through agents, such as machine extensions, including through the IoT, digital avatars, and separate legal or artificial moral agents (AMA). AI may or may not involve the creation of new types of full or qualified legal persons over time. Natural and legal persons can communicate on a direct and immediate basis across the world through the Internet in a continuous and costless manner. Communications may be for personal or social purposes without the intent to have legal effect or for purposes of contracting to purchase goods or services for either online consumption or physical delivery, use, and application. All forms of personal, social, business, commercial, and political engagement are being transferred to online systems and networks. These systems and networks will be extended again to include new interconnected virtual spaces or worlds through the Metaverse, which will create a combined or mixed physical and digital MultiNet or MultiVerse reality with multiple overlapping spheres of contact and engagement and a new supporting financial system, or ValueNet.

In law, the Internet and Metaverse may simply represent increasingly complex or sophisticated collections of composite or aggregate sets of online relations. In designing new sets of applicable legal provisions, any form of intentional or controlled action on these new applications should have equivalent consequences in law, especially with regard to enforceability and contractual, tortious, and restitutionary liability. Equivalent conduct and effects should be subject to the same solutions and consequences by way of a natural extension of existing remedy systems insofar as possible. This would apply to all forms of digital control, conflict, contravention, correction, and compensation. All types of offline and online loss, injury, and damage should be prevented or recompensed when relevant. Fundamentally difficult issues, nevertheless, still remain, specifically with regard to the application and limits of the existing laws of persons, property, contract, tort, restitution, and DIPL and DPIL in this area.

The inherent limits of hard law must also be understood, with the costs, difficulties, and delays that necessarily arise in changing primary law through judicial precedent or statutory revision at the domestic level and through international treaty or convention at the cross-border level. Law must often be supported through detailed secondary regulations. Additionally, developing appropriate higher-level ethical principles and codes of conduct in innovative and dynamic new markets, including areas of fast-changing technological advance, is necessary. Accordingly, a new relationship must be constructed among law, regulation, ethics, and technology over time.

New challenges necessarily bring new opportunities, including the ability to review and revise traditional aspects of law, regulation, and ethics. All relevant aspects of law and other applicable standards can be reconsidered to ensure that they meet legitimate objectives and operate effectively, efficiently, and as originally intended. Additionally, laws and standards may be reconsidered to reflect new aims and expectations in changing social and geo-political times and conditions. Reconsidering laws and regulations also provides the opportunity to clarify existing rights and entitlements in the digital area and to identify the new rights and protections that will accompany the construction of digital societies and digital economies. It is also possible to identify “essential” actions, remedies, and protections that cannot be removed through code, as well as “absolute” rights and entitlements that exist in addition to fundamental or universal rights and interests. New composite bodies of digital financial, digital commercial, and technology law, as well as “Digital, Essential, and Absolute Rights” (DEAR) can be constructed, to ensure that all relevant interests are reflected and protected in the digital era. All of this could also be reset in the form of a single integrated set of legal, regulatory, and ethical provisions to be referred to as “Universal National and International Law” (UniLaw) or “Computer Objectives and Designed Ethics Law” (CodeLaw), which could be computer coded (such as through ChatGPT) and then incorporated into artificial and machine intelligence systems to create a form of embedded ethical conduct to limit inappropriate conduct and human injury and damage.

B. Social Technology and Complex Systems

Money, banking, and finance can be considered to constitute significant social technologies. Technology and social technologies are essential in maintaining social organisation and function and securing social objectives over time. Modern markets and societies may specifically be examined in further detail in terms of complex adaptive systems (CASs) due to the inherent interconnectedness and dependence that arises with multiple overlapping levels of markets and systems and the emergent effects thereof. Further issues can be considered to arise in connection with this, which may be referred to as “Complex Adaptive Technologies” (CATs), “Complex Adaptive Risks” (CARs), and “Complex Adaptive Data” (CAD), with the need for new “Complex Adaptive Legal and Legislative” (CALL) responses. This may be considered to require the development of correspondingly sophisticated multi-layered or “Multi-Agency Solutions” (MASs) and multi-layered or “Multiple Adaptive Governance” (MAG).

One of the inherent difficulties that, nevertheless, arises with regard to a hard law is its inability to match the speed and depth of technological innovation and advancement. Accordingly, a new relationship must be constructed between “Law, Ethics, and Technology” (LET). Law identifies and determines core rights, regulations produce more detailed standards, and ethics establishes a more complete set of values, thereby creating a framework that can be applied on a continuous basis. This new relationship could be developed on the basis of a “Technology Adaptive Regulation, Goals, and Ethics Template” (TARGET). A new legal, regulatory, and ethical framework can be constructed to manage all aspects of innovation, which could be set out in an integrated re-expression named the “Consolidated Official Restatement of Rules, Ethical Conduct, and Technology” (CORRECT) or “Consolidated Adaptive Protocol, Integrated Technology, and Law” (CAPITAL) programme. All of this would still be based on the “Rule of Law and Ethics” (ROLE), which would apply to “Regulatory (or Recognised) Undertakings of Law and Ethics” (RULEs).

Computer code will inevitably become of increasing importance over time, with many sets of legal terms, conditions, and agreements being converted into code, particularly through the increased use of automation and self-executing smart contracts. It is, nevertheless, arguable that code can never replace law outright, as it is impossible to replace or limit access to certain “essential” rights, such as fundamental human rights and core private, public, and international protections and entitlements. These may be summarised in terms of “Essential Legal Interests and Target Entitlements” (ELITE). These could more specifically be described as including “Fundamental Individual Rights and Entitlements” (FIRE), private “Property, Restitution, Obligations, Tort, Evidence, Courts, and Tribunal Settlement” (PROTECTS), “Public Administrative (or Judicial) Review and Legal Legislative Entitlement for Loss” (PARALLEL), “Public Order Law and International Conduct Enforcement” (POLICE), and “Public International Law and Legal Application (or Allocation) Rules” (PILLAR) measures. Nation states could also be made subject to separate “State Obligations and Values” (SOVs) or “Common Obligations for Nation States’ Order and Laws” (CONSOLS) under public international law, which would consolidate key erga omnes obligations. The purpose of this reconciliation or consolidation would be to create an easily accessible and understandable set of references to promote comprehension and knowledge.

These initiatives must also be supported through the construction of an appropriate set of ethical principles that can apply on a continuous basis to overcome the limitations of hard law, including in terms of possible lack of coverage, inflexibility, disagreement, and delays in revision and reform. This can operate with a series of underlying “Enhanced Targeted Higher Integrity Conduct Standards” (ETHICS) or “Ethical Conduct Higher Official Standards” (ECHOS). This could also include both individual “Managed Official Regulatory and Legal Standards” (MORALS) and collective “Special Official Collective and Individual Advanced Living Standards” (SOCIALS). This could also be considered in terms of “Fundamental Rights, Ethics, and Entitlements” (FREE) and “Fundamental Individual Rights and Entitlements” (FIRE), as noted, with collective “Socially Agreed Fundamental Ethics” (SAFE) or “Social Advanced Values and Ethics” (SAVE). This could be given effect to through a more specific set of “Rights, Ethics and Standards Protection, Enforcement, and Capture Tools” (RESPECT). This could also be based on a particular “Special Enhanced Regulation and Integrated Ethics Standards” (SERIES) or “Objectives for Regulatory Assisted Conduct, Law, and Ethics” (ORACLE) agenda.

It is accordingly possible to develop a complete and coherent restatement of relevant legal rights within and across countries. A new relationship can be created among LET and between law and code. Code and law can be brought together to complement and reinforce each other and to protect all relevant essential rights and entitlements. This can then be used to manage all forms of emergent complex markets and networks and other complex adaptive systems across societies and countries going forward.

C. Common Technology

Markets and societal evolution and advancement are specifically driven by continuous changes in innovation and technology. This may take any number of different forms across many areas of activity and sectors and across separate fields of physical and social science. Despite this, it is still possible to create a new architecture or taxonomy to order and organise all types of technology into a single, complete, and coherent whole. This could be applied to “Modern Advanced Technology” (MAT) or “Advanced New Technology” (ANT).

Various distinct types of modern technology can be identified. Physical technologies can, for example, be summarised in terms of power, propulsion, production, processing, premises (building), and preservation (carbon management). A more detailed taxonomy or architecture of technology can then be constructed, incorporating these as six physical technologies or “Special (or Secure) Physical Operational and Regulatory Technical Standards” (SPORTS), “Physical Advanced (Action or Adaptive) Technologies” (PATs), or “Physical Use Technologies” (PUTs). Two sets of digital technologies can also be included, with a further series of additional global technologies.

Digital technologies can be divided into separate “Access, Process, and Telecommunications” technologies (APTs), “Access, Process, and Programming” technologies (APPs) or “Infrastructure” technologies (INFRAs), and “Application, Robotic, and Cybernetic” technologies (ARCS) or “Applied, Platform, and Existence” technologies (APES). Much of this involves specific applications of data technology (DataTech or “Digital Advanced Technology Attributes” (DATAs)). This could also more specifically comprise “Technology, Ethics, and Conduct High Level Standards” (TECHS) or “Telecommunications, Energy, Computing, Cloud Hubs, and Data Systems” (TeCHS), as well as “Telecommunications, Energy, Computing, Cloud Hubs, NanoTech and BioTech, Internet, Cybersecurity, AI, Ledgers, and Data Systems” (TECHNICALS). This could also involve “Computing, Cloud Operations, Data Management Programming, Ledgers, Energy, Telecommunications, and Other Emergent Systems” (COMPLETE). Artificial intelligence models can separately be considered in terms of “Restricted (narrow) AI Neural (or network) Systems” (RAINS), “General AI Neural Systems” (GAINS), and “Super AI Neural Technology Systems” (SAINTS), as well as “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Sentience” (AIMS), and with separate “Human Interface Programme Systems” (HIPS or Neuralinks).

A set of further global technologies can be added to this as part of a parallel “Social, Market, Atmospheric (Climatic), Regulatory, Technology, and Security” (SMARTS) model. These can specifically respond to continuing global challenges and threats in the form of “Collective (social), Habitation (natural disasters), Atmospheric (climatic), Regulatory, Technology, and Safety” (CHARTS) contingent events. New solutions can then be considered in terms of an adaptive “Social, Trade, Atmospheric (Climatic), Regulatory, Technology, and Safety” (STARTS) agenda or “Social, Control, Amospheric (Climatic), Regulatory, Technology, and Safety” (SCARTS) programme.

This creates a parallel series of overlapping events templates or models (polymodels). All of this together would consist of a new four-part, six-component technology model and taxonomy within which all forms of new advance and innovation can be inserted and included.

D. Common Threats

Future developments will also necessarily create associated risks and exposures that must be properly identified within all new technologies, advanced innovative systems, and processes. These can be understood in terms of internal (endogenous), external (exogenous), and potentially fatal (existential) risk factors. Internal and endogenous threats would include more traditional forms of general financial, legal, and operational risks, as well as conduct-related risks and wider management or environmental risks. Operational risks may include technology, information, and data risks, as well as knowledge and archive risks. Technology risks include technology operational risks, technology impact risks, information processing risks, information content risks, and record risks. Separate exposures may also arise with regard to cybersecurity risk, which must be controlled.

Other external contingent threats or exposures can be considered in terms of the overlapping events templates and polymodels referred to, with key global challenges (SMARTS), major threats (CHARTS), new solutions (STARTS), and adaptive response programmes (SCARTS).

Markets and societies have had to face significant new threats and exposures in past decades. This has created a new period of significant global instability. While many of these may be directly or indirectly connected, others may aggravate underlying exposures or create new forms of potential major damage and loss going forward. Countries have specifically had to deal with the instability generated by the Global Financial Crisis beginning in 2007–2008 and then the massive social disruption and loss produced by the Coronavirus crisis, which originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Countries and communities have had to contend with the future potential losses that will arise through atmospheric and climate deterioration and impact. Further threats and exposures may arise through continued technological advance, such as in relation to BioTech, NanoTech, robotics, cybernetics, and AI. Countries have also had to contend with the separate disruption created in international energy and commodity markets following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 23, 2022, and possible incursion into Taiwan by the China Communist Party (CCP). Further geopolitical risk is expected to follow.

Societies will have to be able to manage all forms of future exogenous threats and exposures going forward. All of this can be identified and assessed under the SMARTS and CHARTS polymodel constructed, with possible responses outlined under the parallel STARTS and SCARTS templates. This could include the construction of a new regulatory agenda, new architecture, and a new crisis response package of measures following the Global Financial Crisis. This may also be built into a new global treaty order and market model, common interests of humanity or civilisation agenda, consolidated fundamental rights programme, and geo-functional support regime. Each of these is considered in further detail below.

E. New Regulatory Agenda

Global financial markets were ravaged by the massive amounts of instability created by the Global Financial Crisis that began in 2007 and was exacerbated in 2008. This originated with an increase in interbank lending rates in the summer of 2007, which had begun to recover by the beginning of the summer of 2008. The vulnerability of banking and financial markets was then significantly exacerbated by the events in the United States over the summer and fall of 2008. This included the need to openly support two government-sponsored entities, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA or Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC or Freddie Mac), and the largest insurance company in the world, American International General (AIG), by investing over $3.5 trillion in money market mutual funds. This followed the earlier managed purchase of the fifth largest security firm on Wall Street, Bear Stearns, by JP Morgan Chase in March 2008, with the use of a $30 billion facility provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The specific trigger for the Global Financial Crisis was the closure of Lehman Brothers in New York in mid-September 2008, after Bank of America and Barclays failed to acquire it.

The crisis had arisen through a combination of factors, including massive levels of credit and debt expansion, the creation of complex structured finance products such as collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) with credit default swaps (CDSs), and the mispricing of financial products and mismanagement of risks by credit rating agencies (CRAs) and other financial institutions, which was further aggravated by failures and defects in regulatory and supervisory cover. Specific official limitations or flaws had arisen with regard to the scope and content of financial regulation, the sufficiency and effectiveness of financial supervisory systems, the absence of extended firm resolution mechanisms (with too many “too big to fail” (TBTF) institutions having been allowed to grow), the lack of effective non-bank support (LLR arrangements), and an overall failure in wider market or systems-wide (macroprudential) oversight. A series of measures was subsequently adopted across the world to strengthen financial regulation, supervision, resolution, support, and oversight as part of an extended package of crisis response requirements and the construction of a new regulatory agenda.

Further concerns have since arisen with regard to the possible vulnerability of new FinTech and other markets driven by data and technology. Recent market instability has arisen, for example, with the crises and collapses at Celsius, 3AC, Terra Luna, FTX, FTT, Alameda, Genesis, and other platforms, as well as Silicon Valley Bank more recently. Appropriate measures will again have to be adopted to deal with each of these additional areas of concern. Domestic systems will have to be substantially improved and enhanced in terms of the quality of financial regulation, supervision, resolution, market support, and overall systems and macroprudential oversight, much like they did following the Global Financial Crisis.

A number of more specific processes, tools, or devices can be adopted to strengthen each of these new technology areas, which re-apply earlier lessons. This could, for example, include regulatory adjustment in terms of revising existing control frameworks, including with regard to capital, liquidity and leverage adequacy, and governance and control systems. “Technology Enhanced Supervisory” (TES) systems could be developed, including using specialist “Technical Supervisory Colleges” (TSCs) or “Technical Management Groups” (TMGs) in place of “Crisis Management Groups” (TMGs). Resolution could be strengthened through the design of new “Technology Recovery Programmes” (TRPs) and special “Technology Resolution Regimes” (TRRs), with firm-specific “Technology Cooperation Agreements” (TOAGs). New “Technology of Last Resort” (TLR) systems could be constructed to allow for advanced technology transfer or support in the event of significant difficulty within a particular financial institution. Wider overall technology-sensitive market oversight has to be created, such as through the development of new “MacroTech” oversight regimes or the extension of existing macroprudential systems, as appropriate.

Each of these simply reflects and corresponds with the reforms brought into effect after the Global Financial Crisis to create a New Agenda, or New Regulatory Agenda, and the construction of a parallel New Technology Agenda.

F. New Architecture

Markets and societies have had to contain and respond to financial threats while further challenges have arisen, especially with the massive growth in data accumulation and the associated threats of cyberattacks, as well as other advances in new technology product and service provision. Total global data volumes increased from two zettabytes in 2010 to thirty-three zettabytes in 2018 and are expected to reach 181 zettabytes by 2025. All of this data, however, is vulnerable to cyberattacks. A number of recent incidents of incursion demonstrate the sensitivity and substantial damage and losses that can be suffered in new data-based global biomes.

In particular, continuing technological advances have resulted in the production of new mass domestic or global coverage “super” websites (or SuperApps) and possible new global “supercoins” (or other SuperTech). Alibaba’s Alipay and TenCent’s WeChat demonstrate the potential scope, depth, and breadth of possible SuperApp development, with over one billion account users each. Meta (formerly Facebook) announced the launch of the first possible global supercoin with Libra (later Diem) in June 2019, which could have been made available to over three billion account holders through Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, including through the digital wallet Calibra (later Novi). This, nevertheless, received strong regulatory resistance, with the original project being abandoned and the technology being sold by Meta to Silvergate Bank in California for $200 million in January 2022.

The future emergence of other SuperApps, SuperCoins, or other forms of SuperTech raise significant regulatory challenges that must be managed. The specific difficulty that arises is that these new products or services have to be considered from a number of public policy and regulatory perspectives for the first time, including, for example, monetary policy, monetary stability, possible capital mobility and cross-border payments, data regulation, consumer protection, taxation, competition law, market integrity, and financial crime, as well as financial regulation. New forms of multi-policy, or polymodal, oversight have to be constructed to draw all these together into a single control framework and revised institutional structure.

A new type of Global Technology (GlobalTech) or Proto-Global Technology (ProtoTech) regulatory system can be constructed in response to these challenges. This could build on new regulatory approaches available through RegTech and extend other prudential principles reformulated following the Global Financial Crisis beginning in 2008-2009. Regulatory approaches could specifically be made to be more adaptive, collaborative, iterative, resilient, and emergent. New forms of macroprudential oversight were constructed after the Global Financial Crisis, in addition to earlier sector- or market-specific microprudential supervision. This could be extended again through the development of a series of new forms of supervision consisting of “para-prudential” (inter-agency), “meso-prudential” (or “co-prudential” and market embedded), “peri-prudential” (technology-driven), “poly-prudential” or “polymodal” (multiple policy), and “exo-prudential” (exogenous risk) oversight and control, all of which could be drawn together under a wider, or “ultra-prudential,” implementation programme.

More specific new regulatory tools could also be developed within this. This may, for example, be secured in practice through the use of new forms of overlapping “control boxes” or “control zones” (in financial and other areas), online virtual “compendia of standards” and supporting online “standards directories” (of national implementation measures), integrated “protocols and codes” (incorporating computer algorithms), wider “policy plena” (or inter-agency and cross-border fora), and overall “Proto-Policy” or “Ultra-Policy” integration, coordination, and reconciliation. Altogether, this would lead to the creation of an embryonic form of total global market, infrastructure, and utility control while retaining the existing system of state-based national sovereignty and legal and territorial exclusivity.

With this, countries can construct a new form of multi-layered and multi-functional hardened skeletal (or exo-skeletal) control framework to bring all cross-sector, cross-policy, and cross-border agencies together within a single integrated network system. Complex adaptive systems and problems require increasingly complex adaptive solutions. These solutions could involve the development of overlapping multi-agency and multi-permission control boxes and control zones. These developments could then create a series of layered permissions, including in relation, inter alia, to trade and tax concessions within a new polymodal model. This new model would operate through overlapping trade and regulatory oversight “meshes” or “membranes” with parallel trade and services, regulatory architecture, and permission regimes. Such a system could reflect new, complex, and multi-field business models, along with mixed physical, online, and virtual market operations. This system would apply to financial and trade markets in physical and online environments and would be capable of continuing review and revision as necessary.

All of this would be subject to overlapping adaptive and emergent regulatory and supervisory oversight regimes or meshes, as previously noted. These could, for example, be exhibited or displayed through the use of overlapping “digital globe” representations of the various entitlements provided for each firm or group. These could also be made available to the public online to allow market counterparties and customers to confirm the various separate market, policy, and country licenses or permissions held by individual institutions. Emergent regulatory regimes could be further supported by new forms of digital law reform that would work within this integrated and extended polymodal and polyfunctional regulatory regime constructed. Regulation could also be strengthened through the application of new forms of para-, meso-, peri-, poly-, exo-, and ultra-prudential regulation, as noted. This extended and enhanced architecture could be implemented through the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which operates at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland. The FSB already maintains a mixed agency and cross-border membership that could be extended to incorporate all of the other bodies and activities referred to. This would also represent a natural extension of the work that the FSB is already carrying out, especially in FinTech, Coronavirus, and other threat areas. All of this could be further expanded to create a wider polymodal and polyfunctional control regime over time.

With the need to respond to new forms of Exogenous Technology (ExoTech), Crisis Technology (CrisisTech), and Smart Technology (SmartTech), a number of factors have impacted markets, including the growth in FinTech, Data Technology (DataTech), RegTech, new forms of Super Technology (SuperTech), and Super Applications (SuperApps). The construction of a new, more adaptive, and emergent control system can respond to all of this.

G. New Crisis Response

While many regulatory systems were strengthened following the Global Financial Crisis, countries are still susceptible to larger exogenous threats, including continuing viral pandemics, natural disasters (including earthquakes and tsunamis), climatic impacts (including floods and droughts), infrastructure collapse, (including cyber threats), technological risk, and warfare. The outbreak of the Coronavirus crisis beginning in Wuhan, China in December 2019 stretched national and international public health and control systems to their limits. A whole series of new public health, utility, and financial market responses were constructed essentially on an ad hoc, fragmented, dislocated, and uncoordinated basis. With all of this, the pandemic spread across countries and the loss and damage unfolded. Following the devastating impacts of the crisis, it is necessary to identify the contingent measures required to manage and contain similar future events. Specifically, this can be achieved through designing a series of initial social or market “lock-down” measures and subsequent “lock-out” recovery responses.

A new set of short- and long-term contingent solutions must be constructed to protect the resilience of national and international markets and systems, economies, and societies going forward. These solutions could be incorporated into a series of dedicated “Contingent Response for Immediate Safety and Integrated Security” (CRISIS) or “Continuing Response for Imminent Safety, Efficiency, and Stability” (CRISES) programme measures. Various devices could be adopted for this purpose, such as CrisisTech, which may be extended to include responses to other forms of endogenous and exogenous risk (ExoTech) threats, including military engagement. A further set of “Exogenous and Existential International Stability and Technology Standards” (EXISTS) could be constructed to respond to core global threats of CHARTS or SMARTS conditions, referred to above.

These requirements could specifically be set out in a series of new protocols implemented under a “Protocol Assisted (or Adaptive) Stability and Security” (PASS) framework. Protocols are used under public international law and may refer to either non-enforceable draft measures or legally binding formal undertakings, depending upon the circumstances and use. The objective of these new protocols would be to combine law, regulation, and ethical principles within a single statement or set of measures that could also incorporate guidance or other general aspirational provisions and appropriate computer code conditions, where relevant. The use of such protocols would create a larger “Public Regulatory Oversight Technology-Based Official Control and Order Law” (PROTOCOL) regime. This overarching regime could include a series of more specific “Special Technology Order Protocols” (STOPs). A series of initial draft Protocols could be prepared for circulation and comment.

These measures could form part of the separate “Consolidated Official Restatement of Rules and Ethical Conduct and Technology” (CORRECT) or “Consolidated Adaptive Protocol and Integrated Technology and Law” (CAPITAL) programme previously referred to and “Consolidated Official Managed Programme for Law, Ethics, and Technology Enforcement” (COMPLETE) agenda. Together, these measures would ensure the “Conduct of Official National Technology With Enhanced Regulation, Oversight, and Law” (CONTROL).

H. New Order

It must be accepted that it is currently impossible and undesirable to attempt construction of any new form of global government or global regulatory agency system to respond to these threats and challenges. The feasibility of such a framework must be considered against a background of increased de-globalization, fragmentation, and dislocation of markets that are experiencing significant continuing monetary and geo-political instability. Countries have become more concerned with protecting their territorial sovereignty and territoriality and are, therefore, more reluctant to surrender sensitive areas of sovereign control.

It is arguably still possible to strengthen existing institutions, relations, and networks to maximise their potential capacity and value and to create a new form of global, or proto-global, control framework. This would, in particular, include the development of new forms of enhanced para-, peri-, meso-, poly-, exo-, and ultra-prudential and integrated polymodal oversight models with new adaptive, collaborative, iterative, resilient, and emergent regulatory and supervisory approaches. This could strengthen and harden existing networks, capacities, and relations within a new extended and more complete international institutional architecture and control regime. More detailed and specific measures could then be set out in Protocols, including for crisis management purposes.

All these separate initiatives could then be given effect under an overlapping “Global Investment, Finance, and Trade” (GIFT) Treaty, which would supplement the existing 1944 Bretton Woods Treaty arrangements in the era following World War II. A further “Global Individual Freedom and Technology Standards” (GIFTS or GiFTS) Treaty could be constructed either separately or within the GIFT Treaty framework. All of this would create a form of “Bretton Woods III” and “Fifth Industrial Revolution” (FIR) or “Fifth Industrial Revolution Event (or Era)” (FIRE) based on new technology and sustainable production and development.

This could also incorporate a “Global Integrated Finance and Technology” (GiFT or GIFT2) Treaty, as this would combine technology with the original trade, investment (development), and finance objectives of Bretton Woods. This could alternatively consist of a dedicated “Global Integrated Law and Technology” (GILT) Treaty with a parallel “Global Reciprocal Economic Area Treaty” (GREAT) framework, which could create a “Global Electronic Market” (GEM), “Digital Advanced (or Adaptive) Market” (DAM), or “Global Economic Trade” (GET) international trading regime. International trade was provided for under the 1994 Bretton Woods Treaty with the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (now the World Bank Group).

With this, international financial and monetary provisions could set out a separate title, or sub-treaty, on “Financial Investment Regulation Stability and Technology” (FIRST), which would generally correspond with the work of IMF. Developing economies could be supported through a new form of treaty called an “Emerging Markets Economic Regulatory Growth Economy” (EMERGE) Treaty. This EMERGE Treaty would reflect the work of the World Bank Group. Other initiatives may include the adoption of appropriate “Sustainable Assistance, Finance, and Engagement” (SAFE) or “Sustainable Assistance, Value, and Ethics” (SAVE) measures to support emerging and developing economies. This may also incorporate a more specific “Financial Assistance and Cooperation Treaty” (FACT) or “Partnership Assistance and Cooperation Treaty” (PACT). This could use separate “Rights, Ethics, and Standards Protection, Enforcement, and Capture Tools” (RESPECT), as noted.

The GIFT Treaty could provide a consolidated set of connected or interdependent definitions and supporting rights and duties. These can be considered in terms of compliance, or pre-compliance, with certain key original conditions, principles, and objectives potentially referred to as common “Conditions Objectives, Rules, and Ethics” (CORE). These could, for example, be made of a set of interconnected “Conditions for Advanced Standards and Ethics” (CASE), “Core Application Principles and Ethics” (CAPE), and “Common Objectives for Regulation and Entitlement or Ethics” (CORES or CoRES). The objective of each of these would be to create a CORE framework of conditions, objectives, rules of principles, and high-level measures that would apply in all technology and other ethical situations.

The GIFT Treaty would set out essential technology and continuing digital, data, and other more substantive protection rights. These could be referred to more generally as “Technology Ethics and Conduct High-Level Standards” (TECHS), which would incorporate a set of “Digital Integrated General Interest (or Internet) Standards” (DIGIS). This could form part of a separate “Consolidated Official Restatement of Rules and Ethical Conduct and Technology” (CORRECT), as referred to. All of this could be provided for in the GIFT Treaty or a dedicated “Global Integrated Law and Technology” (GILT) Treaty.

A series of other more specific technological standards or principles could then be applied within TECHS in relation to each of the technology fields identified. These could include “Access, Process, and Telecommunications” technologies (APTs), “Access, Process, and Programming” technologies (APPs) or “Infrastructure” technologies (INFRAs), and “Application, Robotic, and Cybernetic” technologies (ARCS) or “Applied, Platform, and Existence” technologies (APES), as noted. This would also apply to “AI and Robotics” (AIR).

APTs, APPs, or INFRAs would principally consist of the “Digital Integrated General Interest (or Internet) Standards” (DIGIS), as noted. These could be referred be to as “Digital Individual and (or Integrated) Systems Conduct” (DISC) standards or “Advanced Digital Data Standards” (ADDS). This could comprise other more specific provisions and common measures, such as a set of “Digital Access Rights and Entitlements” (DARE) to ensure proper digital systems access, capability, and participation for all parties. Data protections could be provided under a series of “Digital Advanced Technology Attributes” (DATAs), which would correspond with the key entitlements made available under new sets of personal data preservation laws and regulations currently being adopted across the world. This specifically includes, for example, the Data Protection Act 2018 in the United Kingdom and retained European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provisions. Other provisions could comprise digital services and markets (DRAMA), cybersecurity (SECURE), and continuity management (COPE) provisions. All of this would ensure that digital markets and operational and infrastructure systems work effectively at all times.

ARCS or APES could more specifically consist of a set of “Robotics and AI Design Standards” (RAIDS) with twelve “Design Integrity Principles” (DIPS) and twelve prohibitions consisting of “Regulated (or Robotic) Official Behaviour Ordinance” standards (ROBOs). Other key requirements could be adopted in other areas, such as “Remote, Applications, and Platforms” (RAPs) or “Special Technology Robotics, Applications, and Platforms” (STRAPS), as well as “Robotic (or Remote) Internet of Things Systems” (RIOTS). This could also cover “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Sentience” (AIMS), “Synthetic Consciousness and Advanced Robotic Technology” (SCART), and “Human Interface Programmes” (HIPs). The objective would be to construct a complete, consistent, and coherent programme of higher standard measures that would apply in all cases and across all countries.

This could also be considered in terms of more specific “Telecommunications, Energy, Computing, Cloud Hubs, and Data Systems” (TeCHS) and “Telecommunications, Energy, Computing, Cloud Hubs, NanoTech and BioTech, Internet, Cybersecurity, AI, Ledgers, and Data Systems” (TECHNICALS), as noted. This can be given effect through a more specific set of “Rights, Ethics, and Standards Protection, Enforcement, and Capture Tools” (RESPECT), which could be based on particular “Objectives for Regulatory Assisted Conduct, Law, and Ethics” (ORACLE) or “Special Enhanced Regulation and Integrated Ethics Standards” (SERIES). This could operate through a new “Digital Ethics, Law, and Technology Agenda” (DELTA). This could ensure “Global Universal Ethical Standards for Technology” (GUEST) or “Global Universal Ethics, Standards, and Support” (GUESS).

Technology regulation or control systems could be considered in terms of “Special Technology Advanced Regulation” (STAR) or “Special Technology Advanced Regulation System” (STARS). This could be operated through a series of “Advanced Technology Order Management” (ATOM) mechanisms or “Advanced Technology Official Management, Inspection, and Control” (ATOMIC) tools.

All these would be based on the “Rule of Law and Ethics” (ROLE), which would apply “Regulatory (or Recognised) Understanding of Law and Ethics” (RULEs), as noted. The purpose would be to clarify and highlight core obligations, as well as improve accessibility and understandability or comprehension while simultaneously supporting their meaningful protection and implementation.

This would consequently protect “Fundamental Individual Rights and Entitlements” (FIRE), as well as “Fundamental Rights, Ethics, and Entitlements” (FREE). This would also incorporate “Global Objectives and Aspirations in Living Standards” (GOALS) and “Human Advanced Values and Ethics” (HAVE). This would set out “Core Objectives for the Development and Evolution” (CODE) of humanity or “Global Individual Values and Ethics” (GIVE). This would protect the “Formalised Understandings for Technology Use, Regulation, and Ethics” (FUTURE), as well as “Future Undertakings, Standards, and Ethics” (FUSE) or “Future Understandings for Ethics and Law” (FUEL).

This would further preserve “Long-Term Investment in Future Evolution” (LIFE) and protect “Latent Individual Fulfilment and Existence” (LIFE) while promoting “Latent Individual Values and Ethics” (LIVE). The overall objective would be to secure a “Humane Understanding of Mankind and Nature” (HUMAN) and to promote “Happiness, Opportunity, Peace, and Equality” (HOPE) within humanity. All of this could be secured within the GIFT framework constructed.

I. New Market

The GIFT Treaty structure could specifically incorporate a further new digital global marketplace initiative under a “Global Reciprocal Economic Area Trade” (GREAT) Treaty. This would create a form “New Economic Order” (NEO) framework. This could provide for the establishment of a “Global Single Market” (GSM) for all types of agreed products, services, and technology. This could be referred to as a “Global Economic Trade” (GET) Treaty, which would create a “Global Economic Market” (GEM). This could incorporate a “Digital Adaptive Market” (DAM) or “World Order Network” (WON). The system could operate on a Hub, Spoke, and Cluster basis. Existing Free Trade Areas (FTAs) and Regional Free Trade Areas (RTAs) could be drawn together into a network of trading Hubs. Specific countries may include internal FTAs, such as within the United States or United Kingdom. A new set of market and trading rules (referred to further below) would act as Spokes to hold the system together. Trade and service Clusters would be created by creating full non-barrier market access areas or zones across extended Hubs on an increasingly global basis. All of this would create wider goods and services trade “Nets,” which could be extended to include workers, establishments (companies), and capital over time.

The system would incorporate and supplement, rather than replace, the existing World Trade Organisation (WTO) or European Union frameworks and attempt to realise its maximum possible potential at the international level. This would specifically seek to combine the most effective trade principles applied by the WTO while also incorporating the most valuable European Union rules and tools, where relevant and beneficial. The new global marketplace could then be based on the principles of: (a) “Market Access” (MA) or a “Minimum Access Market” (MAM); (b) “No Discrimination” (ND) (including on the basis of WTO vertical “National Treatment” (NT) and horizontal “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN)); (c) “Mutual Recognition” (MR) (on the basis of “Lawful Production” (LP) and lawful “First Placement” (FM)); (d) “Minimum Harmonisation” (MH) with progressive “Full Harmonisation” (FH) (or “Full Convergence” (FC)); (e) “Home Country Control” (HCC) (or, alternatively, “Shared Country Control” (SCC) or “Central Agency Control” (CAC)); (f) a more extensive “General Good” (GG) derogation; and (g) a new continuing “Market Equivalence” (ME) test to ensure that all conditions and levels of intended MA work effectively in practice. These conditions and criteria would restate, reconcile, and consolidate the most important general trade principles established under WTO and European Union law.

This could be supported by the establishment of a parallel set of more detailed core Market and Trade provisions or principles and monetary and development regime. The objective would be to create a system of “Free International Trade” (FIT) or “Free International Tariffs, Trade, and Equivalence Regime” (FITTER). This would operate on the basis of a “Free Advanced Structured Trade and Economy Regime” (FASTER) or regulation. Developing economies could, as noted, be supported through an “Emerging Markets Economic Regulatory Growth Economy” (EMERGE) Treaty and complementary “Financial Investment Regulation Stability and Technology” (FIRST) Treaty with the further PACT, FACT, SAVE, SAFE, and RESPECT initiatives noted above.

The overall effect would be to build a progressive and increasingly integrated single “Global Trading System” (GTS) and “Global Single Market” (GSM), as noted. This would form a core element within the GIFT Treaty framework, be applied as part of a wider recognition of common global interests (or Common Heritage of Humanity (CHH)), and be supported by the political will, commitment, and engagement made available through mutual self-interest and new market functionalism, technological functionalism, and geo-functionalism.

J. New Opportunity

A further initiative could be pursued that would attempt to identify all relevant digital, essential, and absolute rights and entitlements under public international law and national law. This could be summarised in terms of “Digital, Essential, and Absolute Rights” (DEAR), as noted.

A series of new digital rights and obligations have to be recognised or created to ensure that peoples and companies can realise the maximum possible benefit of the new Digital Societies and Digital Economies currently under construction across the world. Certain areas of entitlement are referred to in existing writings, such as in relation to Internet, digital or data, and energy rights. These could be referred to as “attributed rights,” although these tend to be undeveloped, fragmented, uneven, inconsistent, and incomplete. A new set of digital rights could be developed, which would include a set of specific “Digital Access Rights and Entitlements” (DARE) or “Digital Integrated General Internet Standards” (DIGIS) to ensure proper digital systems access, capability, and participation for everyone over time. This would also comprise the data protection provisions, or “Digital Advanced Technology Attributes” (DATAs), referred to.

A more complete catalogue, or clear and comprehensive set, of new digital rights and entitlements could also be constructed based on confirmed new definitions of legal persons, information, data, property, and obligations, with an enhanced corresponding set of remedies and protections to be provided. This could be based on the conduct of a more substantial process of “Digital Law Review” and “Digital Law Reform” (DLR) referred to above to ensure that new Digital Societies and Digital Economies can realise their full potential and value.

This can also be considered with the other “essential” rights referred to above, including fundamental human rights and core private, public, and international protections and entitlements. These can be restated as “Essential Legal Interests and Target Entitlements” (ELITE), which are concerned with key legal remedies, actions, and protections that cannot be removed or denied through the use of computer code and smart contracts. These would, in effect, create a minimum core legal protection framework that would apply in all circumstances and at all times. A list of inalienable and irremovable rights could be agreed upon.

It is also possible to consider developing a further set of “Core Absolute Rights and Entitlements” (CARE or CARES). These could also be referred to as “Absolute Rights of Common Humanity” (ARCHs), “Absolute Rights of Common Humanity and Ethics” (ARCHES), or “Absolute Core Rights, Ethics, and Standards” (ACRES). These would reflect, but also restate and consolidate, existing international treaties, conventions, and declarations, such as the Declaration of Fundamental Human Rights of 1948 and European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 or similar core provisions. The purpose would be to reduce existing sets of entitlements and protections to a series of key minimum measures that would be set out in a manner that is easy to access, understand, and comprehend, especially for non-expert and non-legally trained parties. One of the principal difficulties that arises at this time is that a substantial number of rights and entitlements exist that people are wholly unaware of at the international and national levels. These include, as noted, human rights, now consisting of around nine dedicated United Nations treaties and conventions, including, inter alia, the United Nations Charter of 1945 and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as well as the separate European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) with the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights of 2012, and further domestic legislation such as the United Kingdom Human Rights Act 1998. The traditional doctrine is that everyone is assumed to know the law that applies and, consequently, to know their own rights, although this is patently incorrect, inapplicable, and inexplicable in complex modern societies and legal systems. It is, on the contrary, arguable that governments have a duty to advise their citizens of their core rights and entitlements, at least in a summary form. This may be even more relevant and necessary in increasingly complex modern times, especially with the digital interdependence created through modern technology systems.

Such a summary of core or absolute entitlements could be set out in a series of standardised size summary listings. This could re-apply the key original CORE conditions, principles, or objectives pre-compliance measures identified. These provisions could, for example, include two separate sets of individual or human and social or collective core entitlements. This could also include financial ethics, climate protections, and more specific technology, robotics, cybernetics, and AI provisions already referred to. This could be extended further to create a more complete absolute rights regime including, for example, international monetary and development provisions and Market and Trade measures referred to. These rights could be extended to natural persons and other legal entities, to the extent relevant, to create a single consolidated set of minimum reference protections that could be cross-referred to original source measures, with other guidance and support provided as necessary.

This rights restatement could be incorporated within the GIFT or GIFTS Treaty or set out in a new convention or declaration. Interests and entitlements would be identified and restated in a consolidated form, which would create a “Consolidated Official Restatement of Rules, Ethical Conduct, and Technology” (CORRECT), as previously noted. More detailed standards could be set out in the “Consolidated Adaptive Protocol and Integrated Technology and Law” (CAPITAL) programme referred to. The purpose would be to establish a set of essential global minimum measures or core “Global Objectives and Absolute Living Standards” (GOALS or GLOBALS). Relevant protections could be developed further, for example, in a series of Protocols that would list the key protections and then cross-refer these to the original sources of the rights and explain which provisions would apply with regard to any particular set of peoples or communities.

All of this would reflect the “Rule of Law and Ethics” (ROLE), which would apply “Regulatory (or Recognised) Undertakings of Law and Ethics” (RULEs). This could be supported by a further set of “Enhanced Targeted Higher Integrity Conduct Standards” (ETHICS), “Fundamental Rights, Ethics, and Entitlements” (FREE), or “Ethical Conduct Higher Official Standards” (ECHOS). These would specifically include individual “Managed Official Regulatory and Legal Standards” (MORALS) and collective “Special Official Collective and Individual Advanced Living Standards” (SOCIALS).

This may also be considered in terms of social or collective “Socially Agreed Fundamental Ethics” (SAFE) or “Social Advanced Values and Ethics” (SAVE) and individual or personal “Fundamental Individual Rights and Ethics” (FIRE), as proposed. The recognised Fundamental Rights, referred to above, could then consist of a combination of both social or collective (SOCIALS, SAFE, or SAVE) and individual or personal (MORALS or FIRE) rights. All of this would incorporate FREE or “Human Advanced Values and Ethics” (HAVE).

K. New Challenge

All these initiatives could be further incorporated into a wider public international law regime. A new integrated response and support environment can be constructed on the basis of public international law with the protection of CHH or CCH, as well as general erga omnes duties. This could be applied to create a wider integrated framework of recognised duties and interests under public international law.

With this, a number of specific areas of common heritage can be identified and common concerns agreed. Common heritage could include life and social organisation (including the human DNA and genome), earth biosystems, environmental and biological systems, market and trading systems, common areas of technology, and collective peace and security. This corresponds with the SMARTS agenda referred to in this paper. Points of common concern could then include biological infections and pandemics, earth systems management, atmospheric protection, market stability and ethical conduct, common technological threats, and the conduct of war, including revised “Laws of War” (LOWs), “Lethal Autonomous Weapons” (LAWs), “Lethal Autonomous Biological” weapons (LABs), and “Lethal Autonomous Nanoweapons” (LANs or LANDs). This would correspond with the CHARTS agenda referred to in this paper.

Consideration can also be given to identifying certain areas of common technology interests or common assets or knowledge that can be placed beyond national, state, or private corporate exploitation. Areas of proprietary investment and reward, including property and relevant intellectual property interests, should be recognised, although wider areas of new technology could be saved for common benefit and advantage. This could be placed beyond narrow areas of intellectual property protection, which would otherwise prevent collective investment and development and shared benefit. This may, for example, include fusion or energy technology, quantum (Qbit) computing, further electromagnetic wave exploitation, the Internet and DLT more generally, wider BioTech and NanoTech areas, and narrow, general, and super AI. An appropriate framework of agreed scope of state and private exploitation could be agreed upon, with reserved areas of common property and interest as necessary. The effect of this would be to create a form of open and shared global “technology commons” or “information commons.” These could be classified and protected as “Common Assets (Technology or Knowledge) of Humanity” (CAH) or “Mutual Assets of Civilisation” (MAC). These could also, for example, be classified under the TECHS, TeCHS, or TECHNICALS designations referred to above.

The SMARTS global challenges previously mentioned could accordingly be reconsidered and incorporated into public international law as items of CHH. The CHARTS list of contingent events could be included as CCH. This could then be extended to protect significant areas of technology, including CAH. Separate reference could be made to “Common Objectives of Humanity” (COH) or “Common Undertakings of Humanity” (CUH), which could include elements within the STARTS solution framework. These could be collectively referred to as “Common Interests of Humanity” (CIH), as noted. These could also be restated as “Mutual Assets of Civilisation” (MAC), “Mutual Objectives (or Obligations) of Civilisation” (MOC), or “Mutual Interests of Civilisation” (MIC), in addition to CHH and CCH.

These provisions could be set out in a form of a “Mutual Undertakings of the Species Treaty” (MUST) or “Mutual Obligations of the Species Treaty” (MOST), as noted within the larger framework of measures constructed. This could be further supported by a redrafting of core erga omnes obligations to create a supporting compliance framework, which nations would have to respect and adhere to at all times. This could be built into a single integrated set of “State Obligations and Values” (SOVs) or “Common Obligations for Nation States Order and Laws” (CONSOLS).

L. New Commitment and New Future

The world has entered an increasingly dangerous phase of geo-political dislocation, fragmentation, and division aggravated by geo-political instability and actual or threatened military conflict. All the proposals referred to could be supported through the adoption of a new approach and policy of common global interest, mutual self-respect, and reciprocal self-interest. This could be given effect through a re-applied form of European neo-functionalism, to be referred to as private market, financial, or technological functionalism, and supporting state geo-functionalism. This would build on existing levels of contact and relation between people through the power of social media or social functionalism. This could promote long-term extended cooperation and coordination of action based on mutual self-advantage and common collective benefit and advance. This could also be referred to as creating a new form of global functionalism, globalism, or globism. This would combine corporate, private, and individual, as well as public and state, interests to pursue common challenges and secure collective benefits on a shared and inclusive basis.

A new emergent proto-global control framework can then be constructed without the need to attempt to establish any new global bodies or detailed and comprehensive treaties or conventions, other than the outline GIFT Treaty framework. The new model would be based on a more incremental, but still progressive and substantial, integration of existing mandate, authority, and network systems. A stronger and more deeply integrated and embedded network of relations can be constructed around the existing relations and connection systems already in place following earlier agreement and success. This could create a new architecture or matrix within and on top of the existing financial and diplomatic connections currently in operation. This could be set up under the looser structural arrangement established under the GIFT Treaty, with more detailed provisions and measures being set out in the separate titles, including in the protocol framework brought into effect under this treaty.

This new regime could then be expanded again to recognise certain core rights and entitlements under public international law and domestic laws. These can be summarised as referring to the “Core Absolute Rights and Entitlements” (CARES) or “Absolute Rights and Common Humanity” (ARCHs), “Absolute Rights of Common Humanity and Ethics” (ARCHES), or “Absolute Core Rights, Ethics, and Standards” (ACRES) referred to. This can be extended again to protect the “Common Interests of Humanity” (CIH) or “Mutual Interests of Civilisation” (MIC). All of this could be adopted as part of, or in parallel with, the GIFT or GIFTS Treaty framework. The objective would be to clarify and expand existing common agreed obligations imposed on states under public international law and to develop related mechanisms of state responsibility to be promoted through common, mutual, and reciprocal self-interest at the same time. This would clarify and protect all relevant rights, interests, and entitlements.

All of this could, as noted, preserve “Long-Term Investment in Future Evolution” (LIFE) and protect “Latent Individual Fulfillment and Existence” (LIFE) while promoting “Latent Individual Values and Ethics” (LIVE). The overall intent would be to secure a “Higher Understanding of Mankind and Nature” (HUMAN) and promote “Happiness, Opportunity, Peace, and Equality” (HOPE) within humanity.

VIII. FinTech Closing Comment

We are at the beginning of a new time and a new era. This represents a new phase and a new period in modern history and advance. Peoples and societies have had to respond to and manage a series of increasingly powerful new challenges and threats in recent years, with more projected to follow. The world and the planet have entered a new era of significant global instability and social and political fragmentation and dislocation. This can be understood in terms of a series of separate internal (endogenous), external (exogenous), and potentially fatal (existential) risk conditions or events, as referred to in this paper. These include potentially damaging viral or biological pandemics (including new uncontrollable variants or strains), natural disasters (including earthquakes, tsunamis, and possibly adverse solar or magnetic activity resulting in significant habitation damage), climatic impacts (including floods and droughts), market or infrastructure collapse (including through cyber threats and Internet closure), technological risk (including recursive variant AI, robotics, and cybernetics), and warfare (including nuclear destruction).

Technology will bring substantial commercial and social advance and advantage and can assist in identifying, managing, and containing all relevant risks and exposures. A new taxonomy or architecture for technology has been constructed in this paper, which allows all forms of new and existing technology to be properly classified, structured, and ordered for development, monitoring, and management purposes. This must necessarily be supported through the construction of a series of parallel substantial and effective law and regulatory and ethical reform programmes that can effectively identify and protect all relevant digital, essential, and absolute rights, interests, and entitlements.

FinTech, RegTech, and TechTech have evolved as substantial new sets of technological tools and devices within the Consumer or Consumption; Information, Knowledge, and Digital; Risk; Social, Sharing, and Caring; Popular and Protest; and now Virtual Societies that have emerged in recent times and continue to evolve and develop. Substantial additional advances are inevitable, which will only further accelerate these processes of relentless and inevitable change and reform. It can only be hoped that these continue to realise continuing substantial incremental benefit in an open, participatory, progressive, and inclusive, but managed and controlled, manner. Technology can open up massive new opportunities and hopefully new solutions.

Money, finance, and FinTech must continue to be developed as significant social and technological mechanisms, with FinTech, RegTech, and TechTech creating ever more sophisticated physical and online environments, especially with the emergence of the MetaVerse, Multinet, and ValueNet, within which almost everything will be capable of being digitised and then re-valued or monetised and managed and exchanged as necessary. Massive further change and advance will necessarily follow. All forms of new exposures must be managed and new benefits and advantages realised. This only has to be subject to effective oversight and control as necessary to correct inevitable and unavoidable market and behavioural error and failure. Civilization has undergone massive change and evolution throughout history and will continue to do so. The future is only ahead.