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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Monday, October 19, 2020
 

Trust is the Currency of the Participation Age

Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
6:05 am


Trust:
"assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of
someone or something."

Currency:
"a medium of exchange."

Last Sunday, Sun announced
a project called the Open Media Commons
initiative aimed at creating an open-source, royalty-free digital-rights management
standard. I was intrigued that the header to the Open Media Commons web page
featured the words, "Trust is the currency of the participation
age.
"

This coincides with a prevalent theme in current Identity Management thought
that trusted Identity Relationships enable interaction
between subjects represented by Digital Identities. In a recent
blog
I proposed, "Identity technologies will transform computing into
the next paradigm, the Participation
Age
, because trusted Identity Relationships between all types of online
participants will become ubiquitous and highly available."

Considering trust to be currency, or a medium of exchange, captures this concept
nicely. Each day, we use standard currency as a medium of exchange representing
our ability to pay and the government’s ability to stand behind the currency. Such currency is both ubiquitous and highly available.
In each financial transaction, we not only express faith or trust a dollar bill
or credit card as a representation of wealth, but we place trust in the government
that issued the money or the credit card company that issued that card. This
is a good example of a

trusted third party
validating or standing behind a transaction.
In the Participation Age, a higher level of on line interpersonal interaction
will be enabled by the digital embodiment of such trust.

So, each time you conduct a transaction on line, think not only of the money
you spend, but think of the trust that acts as a medium of exchange – Currency
of the Participation Age.

p.s. Isn’t it ironic that the designs for US currency and coin include the
words "In God We Trust?"

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One Response to “Trust is the Currency of the Participation Age”

    I like the idea of trust as the currency of participation age, but there are other, possibly complementary ideas in economics and transaction cost economics which focus on the aspects of “Trust” that foster exchange.

    I’ve written a bit about it here.

    Oliver Williamson has a nice paper on it entitled “Calculativeness, Trust, and Economic Organization,” also published in his The Mechanisms of Governance. In it, he argues regarding the relationship of the concept of “trust” to the concept of “credible commitments,” about which he has written in another paper entitled “Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange.”

    The titles of these papers give some idea of the arguments Williamson advances in these papers.

    Comment by M. Mortazavi on September 1, 2005 at 4:14 pm

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