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The Roaring Twenties: Digital Assets, Escaping the Dominant Logic of the 20th Century and Entering a 21st Century Mindset

Tim Grant — 28 January 2021
I remember saying at the end of 2019 that I was excited to be entering into the roaring twenties. And that I could see a world of promise and significant advances during the coming decade that has the opportunity to positively impact the way we do things for decades to come.

Well, COVID kind of took the edge off that one. However, coming into 2021 I hold firm on my assertion from one year ago. Transformation is upon us.

Our motto at SIX Digital Exchange is “Grand Ambition. Big Impact. Small Steps.” Our Grand Ambition and strategic intent is to build a global liquidity network for institutional digital assets - true next generation digital market infrastructure. If we get this right, the Big Impact that we can generate is to materially affect how corporations, governments and individuals engage with institutional capital markets, to democratize access to new financial products and services and to redefine how capital and liquidity are formed. We also know that in order to achieve our Grand Ambition and Big Impact we need to deliver value to the industry in Small Steps rather than try to boil the ocean.

So far, so good. After 2020 I am delighted to confirm that we are well on track towards our ambitious goals. Having been in the institutional blockchain/DLT and digital asset space now for over 5 years, I would rate the industry as a whole reasonably highly for driving towards change. Technology maturity, regulation, investment, commitment, commercial models, standards and stated strategic intent have all progressed to the point where all the pieces of the puzzle are coming into focus. This bodes exceptionally well for a decade that really should be roaring.

There is one critical ingredient that, in my opinion, needs to be addressed in order for us to have a chance of creating the evolutionary outcomes that we are starting to have clearer line of sight towards. And that ingredient is mindset. In crude terms what I am talking about here is “getting out of our own way.” The major impediment to progress is being in the right frame of mind as an industry to allow progress to happen. The dominant logic that came from the latter part of the 20th century was driven by the social, political, economic, regulatory and, crucially, technology choices that we collectively made and that were available at the time. As we get close to entering the second quarter of the 21st century, many of these 20th century dominant views are no longer relevant, no longer fit for purpose and often simply fly in the face of progress.

Every one of us must understand what it means to move into a 21st century mindset and leave our 20th century mental models where they belong, as relics of the past. This is our greatest challenge and if we can conquer it then it will lead to truly roaring twenties and the achievement of our Grand Ambitions.

I am looking forward to engaging with all of you in 2021 as we shift up a gear and drive transformation together.

Tim Grant
Head of SIX Digital Exchange

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