This Professor Is Tokenizing Love. Is He Nuts?


  • Olinga Taeed is satisfied that non-financial worth is the foreign money of the longer term.
  • He developed a metric to measure sentiment.
  • It was publicized by the Vatican and used to tell procurement selections worldwide.
  • Now, he is launching Seratio financial institution, which can settle for deposits of happiness, hope, and love, alongside extra conventional property.

Dubai’s annual Future Blockchain Summit is a grand affair; sheiks mingle with celebrities, entrepreneurs, and authorities ministers; the buffet is to die for, and there are selection morsels on the main-stage roster too. 

Eric Wall, chief funding officer at crypto hedge fund Arcane Property, tweeted a colourful report about final December’s occasion—which went forward regardless of the pandemic. 

“Panelist says blockchain can be massive in psychological well being care. Now begins speaking about how they’ve efficiently tokenized love. Am I tripping,” tweeted Wall.

Former US presidential candidate Brock Pierce on stage at Future Blockchain Summit, 2018. Picture: Adriana Hamacher

Intrigued about how anybody may probably quantify love—not to mention transact with it on a blockchainDecrypt tracked down the panelist: Olinga Taeed, Visiting Professor in Blockchain on the UK’s Birmingham College. 

Taeed’s story took in all the pieces from a “God Metric” utilized by governments worldwide to measure feelings, to a financial institution the place love, hope, and happiness will be deposited alongside fiat, commodities, and different monetary property. So how on Earth does that work?

A phrase on quantifying love

Numerous research have tried to measure emotion over time—together with one carried out by your correspondent.

The scientific neighborhood doesn’t even acknowledge love as an “emotion,” however, as a substitute, calls it a “drive,” like intercourse and attachment. Taeed refers to it as a “sentiment,” like happiness, however such emotions are multi-faced, troublesome to measure, changeable, and subjective—and people are simply a few of the boundaries that make sturdy classification onerous.

However with speedy developments within the discipline of pure language processing—which analyses textual knowledge to find out whether or not a given textual content is optimistic, adverse, or impartial—business progress has been astounding. 

Sentiment evaluation has turn out to be one of many fastest-growing analysis areas in pc science. 

It’s now employed by everybody from Amazon to Fb to monetize knowledge for advertising and marketing (and allegedly for extra nefarious functions, within the case of British political consulting agency Cambridge Analytica).

Olinga Taeed is a blockchain advisor to China’s Ministry of Commerce. Picture: Olinga Taeed.

“We use precisely the identical factor as Google and Fb to have a look at our sentiments and the way we really feel,” Taeed mentioned on a name from Wales, the place he’s staying along with his daughter Tigris. “When you can digitize the metrics round these non-financial worth objects like love and happiness and hope, then you may truly transact it via a blockchain,” he mentioned.  

The foreign money of non-financial worth

Taeed is not your run-of-the-mill educational. He was born in Laos, in 1960, in the course of the Vietnam conflict. His mother and father had been Persian, and deeply dedicated to altruism; his father was a Purple Cross physician, and his mom arrange orphanages.

Taeed was intent on a distinct profession path. After finishing an engineering diploma, and PhD in Methods Concept at Leeds College within the UK, he first made his identify in CCTV, and bought his firm Molynx to Siemens in 1996.

However there was one key issue lacking from his life, “I didn’t worth happiness,” he mentioned, and his angle, he firmly believes, led to his daughter’s breakdown. 

“In 2008, I retired, due to my daughter. Regardless of me having seven automobiles, and 9 homes on the time, she had two breakdowns,” he mentioned. 

He bought eight of his 12 firms after which arrange a not for revenue basis referred to as the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance (CCEG) to measure non-financial worth. 

“I understood monetary worth,” he mentioned. “It’s straightforward to grasp monetary worth. However what’s the foreign money of non-financial worth?”

It was a well timed query to ask. Within the wake of the 2008 monetary disaster, governments around the globe had been belt-tightening and trying to offload the funding of many neighborhood initiatives to the general public sector. In 2011, Taeed was appointed as an impression funding advisor on “Large Society”—the British Prime Minister David Cameron’s since-discredited challenge to empower native communities.

David Cameron was the Prime Minister who kicked off Brexit by calling a referendum. Picture: Shutterstock

Related methods had been being enacted all through the world, and, in 2012, UK procurement coverage was overhauled to make delivering social worth necessary. Now not was it sufficient for a challenge to be the most affordable; the developer of a railway line, for example, needed to display that his challenge would profit native communities, or had ecological benefits.

Banking was an space with a very acute picture drawback after the financial crash, and Taeed was requested to develop a non-financial metric to measure a financial institution’s social worth—the love, happiness and hope it impressed, utilizing sentiment evaluation. 

The God Metric

Initially, Taeed balked on the activity. “I mentioned, even a nutty professor like me is aware of that is not possible,’ he recalled. 

The UK authorities’s officers had been insistent, and Taeed finally got here up with what they needed. He used the one quantity metric for monetary worth, the price-earnings (PE) ratio, and tailored that to give you what he referred to as the “S/E” or social earnings ratio, with S/E and PE collectively equalling whole worth. He mentioned his knowledge system was a part of the analytics used to justify the social worth of 5 UK banks.

However with curiosity in Large Society waning, nobody was fascinated by automating his system, so he paid to do it himself. Then, in 2014—whereas he was taking care of his daughter and dealing as an emergency foster carer—he bought a name from the Vatican; his Holiness was fascinated by Taeed’s S/E ratio.

He was invited to talk in entrance of the Pope on the third Worldwide Convention on Human Dignity, and the Vatican press workplace referred to his S/E instrument because the “The God Metric.”

That was when the metric took off. Governments from India, Indonesia, Mauritius, and elsewhere adopted it as a method of figuring out non-financial worth for procurement—measuring love and happiness utilizing sentiment evaluation. But it surely was not lengthy earlier than Taeed was disillusioned along with his success. 

Tokenizing Love

“Folks had been utilizing the strategies merely as a way to be compliant to win contracts,” he mentioned, as a substitute of what it was supposed for, as a transformative profit for society.

His CCEG cofounder, Barbara Mellish, a former senior director at Barclays Financial institution, and the non-profit UK Funds Council—which helps innovation in banking infrastructure—was the one who urged the subsequent stage of the inspiration’s plan. 

“She mentioned ‘To vary the world, you have to turn out to be transactional like a financial institution. It isn’t sufficient to measure, you should be capable of transact as nicely,’” mentioned Taeed. 

It is a financial institution the place you may deposit cash and diamonds and land and oil, however you can even deposit happiness, hope and love.

To additional clarify the idea, he turned to non-public expertise: “The story of my billion divorces has been that I felt I cherished the particular person, and they didn’t obtain love. They didn’t really feel cherished. So I had measured love in my coronary heart however I had didn’t transact it. I had didn’t make them really feel. And if it isn’t acquired then it’s not love,” he mentioned. “Folks do not very often perceive that cash and values are literally associated.”

When, in 2016, Taeed and Mellish got here throughout blockchain—an immutable, distributed ledger that can be utilized to transact non-financial property—it appeared to swimsuit their goal all the way down to the bottom. And, after 5 years in growth, final yr at Dubai’s Future Blockchain Summit, Taeed introduced the launch, later in 2021, of the Seratio DLT Open Financial institution, a “radical new instrument” which was developed below steerage from the UK’s Monetary Conduct Authority.

It was the UK’s first such ICO, and “makes use of blockchain to carry each monetary and non-financial property, and to make one contingent on the opposite.”

Primarily, mentioned Taeed, “it’s a financial institution the place you may deposit cash and diamonds and land and oil, however you can even deposit happiness, hope, and love.”

A brand new paradigm for society?

Dubai has lengthy had plans to tokenize happiness. It even has a Ministry of Happiness and, extra just lately, a Ministry of Tolerance. In Saudi Arabia, Neom, a futuristic $500 billion metropolis, is being constructed within the desert.

These rich Center Japanese international locations are determined to be seen as greater than oil producers, mentioned Taeed. “They wish to create a brand new paradigm for society so that individuals will look [up to] the Center East.” Additionally they wish to reward their youth, “to place them on a distinct path,” he defined. 

A rustic’s drive to advertise its personal ideology is not unique to the Center East, mentioned Taeed, who can also be a blockchain advisor to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

The Seratio financial institution makes use of the S/E ratio to allow international locations and organizations to codify their ideologies, he defined. Within the UAE, for instance, they’ll observe impression investing by deciding to not reward oil-based companies, and as a substitute favor ecologically energetic, sustainable ones by giving them extra aggressive rates of interest.

Olinga Taeed believes love and hope have worth, simply as cash and diamonds do. Picture: Olinga Taeed.

It was by no means going to be lengthy earlier than somebody tried to tokenize love, and Taeed places ahead a convincing argument that the foreign money of the longer term won’t be cash. As a substitute, sentiment knowledge, worth units, or ideology—which has turn out to be the brand new paradigm—would be the most valued property by 2030, he firmly believes. 

However what concerning the bankers? What was most stunning was that he mentioned 100% of them agreed. 

By no means thoughts Bitcoin; love is all you want.

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