Radical Markets: How Decentralized Systems Can Create a More Equitable and Inclusive Financial Marketplace For a Better Future

Blockchain: The Future of Connectivity

Brian Nibley


Co-author of the book Radical Markets, Glen Wyle is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New England.

“Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society” looks at the potential for blockchain to be used to create decentralized financial systems whereby economic participation can be more equally distributed.

Distributed ledger technology can play a crucial role in curing the financial ills that have been wrought by traditional market dynamics.

We asked Glen about the ideas expressed in Radical Markets and how he envisions the decentralized markets of tomorrow.

What inspired you to write this book - what was the motivation behind it?

Around 2016 we really started to pay attention, especially with Brexit, to the fact that the world is going into a spiral of populism ... giving people hope that was based on not giving more power to governments or centralized organizations but empowering individuals through markets to have more freedom ... that inspired us to put all this together into a coherent ideology.

In other words, the rise of radical movements throughout the world has been spurred on by economic inequality, necessitating a reconceptualization of markets.

There’s no reason to doubt this. Tons of evidence going back centuries proves that there is an inverse relationship between economic inequality and social cohesion.

As inequality rises, social cohesion diminishes.

Could blockchain be the answer?

How would you like to see this ideology adopted and used in the real world?

There are four different directions we think are important. The ideas need to continue to develop. We need works of art like video games, board games, movies, novels, all that sort of stuff, to help people imagine this. Number three – there are all sorts of entrepreneurs that are experimenting with these ideas that are trying to build on the blockchain to use them and bring them to life. Finally, we want hacktivist groups to begin to form around some of the ideas and to form a political movement and we want governments to start with some of the more modest policies and experiment with some of the more ambitious ones. We want to coordinate all these different spheres together so that they build on each other and help each other.

Imagine a decentralized marketplace governed by a decentralized authority. Sounds like blockchain paradise. 

What would you say is the number one problem with financial markets today and how is that going to be solved through decentralization?

“Our capital markets today are monopolized. There’s a small number of people that control most of the wealth…if we put everything on an open ledger and had people set a competitive price for it that they were taxed on (that’s one of the ideas in the book), that would facilitate the flow of assets to better use and undermine a lot of the concentrated financial power that controls those assets and that controls the process of financial exchange by making it transparent and open to everyone on equal terms.

It truly does sound like a radical idea that could set the stage for a new market paradigm.

As 19th-century French Author, Victor Hugo said, “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.”