Breaking bread together has deep rooted spiritual foundations for strengthening fellowship and in easing tensions among people of different persuasions. So it is propitious that a seasoned Swiss diplomat with exquisite tastes and a vast reservoir of knowledge and experience wrote a book “Beyond Muesli and Fondue,” which describes Swiss contributions to culinary history. The book begins with a quotation attributed to Lord Palmerstone: “dining is the life and soul of diplomacy.” This sets the stage for discussion very aptly, just as any diplomatic engagement requires. The author explains that in the “diplomatic world, official dinners are important for two different reasons. They provide a framework for the exchange of information and opinions, for communications, for negotiations, but also for personal contacts.” Organized in seventeen chapters this book makes a delightful reading. The readers will get a lesson in history and information about not only historical incidents but also the recipes and how many people are served. “Vatel and the Sun King’s Delights of the Table,” is a chapter with both drama and delightful recipes. “After the fish delivery for the great banquet for Louis XIV did not arrive on time, Vatel threw himself on his sword,” wrote Ambassador Dahinden while providing the historical background about Vatel and the six recipes mentioned in this chapter. “Omelette Aux Asperges” - Asparagus Omelette was apparently a favorite of Louis XIV; the palace of Versailles had many plots occupied by hot-beds for growing asparagus. “Dunand: Napoleon’s Chef and Poulet Marengo,” is another interesting chapter with history but not the drama of a chef throwing himself on his sword to avoid shame and embarrassment. One learns about the origin of Poulet Marengo - associated with the Battle of Marengo in 1800 - and the creativity of Dunand.  Legend has it that Poulet Marengo became Napoleon’s favorite dish that was prepared for him after every battle. In addition to Poulet Marengo, there are a few more interesting recipes with Swiss origins in this chapter. “Delmonico’s and Haute Cuisine in the New World,” provides a good historical perspective of the travels and business ventures of Giovanni Del-Monico hailing from the small Ticinese village of Mairengo. The readers will get an understanding of the successful Delmonico’s restaurants perhaps by the work ethic which inspired the motto: “Quality is more important than the price.” The Delmonico Cook Book published in 1880 which was followed by “The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It, and How to Serve It” - both mentioned in this chapter provide valuable insight behind the Delmonico legend and of course The Delmonico Steak served today. In a short chapter “César Ritz: King of Hoteliers and Hotelier to Kings,” the author efficiently describes the story of Ritz who set standards for the luxury hotel business and how the name is so attractive even today. Like the previous chapters, recipes for mouth watering dishes are found in exquisite detail. “Henry Haller: The White House Chef” is one of the most interesting chapters describing the historical background of the famous chef—who served many U.S. Presidents—from Altdorf, Switzerland and received his initial culinary training at the Park Hotel in Davos. The recipes for the favorite dishes of different U.S. Presidents and/or their spouses make this chapter a fun reading. “The Savory Swiss Soups and Their Stories,” starts with the statement that “soup was the first nourishment cavemen took from the cooking pot.” In describing the soup “Potage a La Guillaume Tell,” the author sets the stage beautifully to introduce the readers to different soups, their recipes and history. For example, the “Kappeler Milchsuppe” has its origins from the First Kappel War between the Protestants and the Catholics in the Old Swiss Confederation. “In search of a Swiss National Cuisine,” is an interesting chapter which provides the analysis as well as explanation of why foodies can’t identify a specific Swiss cuisine despite enormous contributions to culinary history. Because each chapter presents interesting historical perspective and dishes or drinks with Swiss origins, it hard to ignore the Swiss contributions to culinary history and just as hard to pick a favorite because every chapter is outstanding in its own right. The book provides a culinary journey from the Renaissance to the modern times. It gives so many opportunities to discover remarkable chefs and the recipes associated with them. The list of recipes, neatly organized by categories such as soup, desserts and cocktails and drinks, is tucked at the end of the book. For those who want try out any of the recipes, this list contains the page number to turn to. This book is a splendid idea for an ice-breaking diplomatic discussion in any setting. It should also be a good item for the book shelves of diplomats who work hard to solve sometimes intractable issues.

But it’s difficult to think about value when we have no buoy for understanding it outside our traditional lenses: for example, our time, our job, and what others tell us they are worth in cash. This, largely, is the world’s paradigm for value so far. But understanding what value really means changes everything—and will be at the center of the decentralized revolution in global coordination that will unfold over the next decade. So, where do we begin?

Let’s start with gold.

Gold is an inherent value. When backing a market, gold allows us to grow a balanced economy well into the trillions. But why does it allow for massive stable markets to form around it? It is gold's permanence that creates stability. We understand that gold will always have value, because it is inherent in all of us, not just in one part of the world, but everywhere, not just today, but tomorrow and for the long haul.

In the 1930s when the gold standard was removed, we learned that the U.S. dollar didn’t need gold to back its economy to flourish. We learned that it was just a symbol for U.S. citizens to decentralize their coordination around the United States economy.

It turns out, common agreement is a philosophy for building shared economy.

And so it seems inherent value is a marker for us to begin exploring what the future could look like—a future beyond gold and the existing realm of credit. And so what else has inherent value? Is education as valuable as gold? What about healthcare? What about a vote that can’t be tampered with? What about an ID that can’t be stolen or erased? What about access to nutrition or clean water? You will find value everywhere you look.

It turns out, we’ve already done the legwork necessary to uncover the most elemental inherent values: The Sustainable Development Goals are commitments grown out of the drive to bring to life basic tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the closest possible social contract we have to a global, common agreement.

We’ve already agreed, as a global community, to ensure inclusive and equitable access to quality education. We’ve already agreed to empower all women and girls, to ensure pure and clean water access for all, to promote health at all stages of life, and to end hunger.

We’ve already agreed.

Our agreements are grounded in deep value centers that are globally shared, but undervalued and unfulfilled. The reason for this is our inability to quantify intangible value. All of these rich, inherent values are still nebulous and fragmented in implementation—largely existing as ideals and blueprints for deep, globally shared common agreement. That is, we all agree education, health, and equality have value, but we lack common units for understanding who and who is not contributing value—leaving us to fumble in our own, uncoordinated siloes as we chase the phantoms of impact. In essence, we lack common currencies for our common agreements.

Now we find ourselves at the nexus of the real paradigm of Blockchain, allowing us to fuse economics with inherent value by proving the participation of some great human effort, then quantifying the impact of that effort in unforgeable and decentralized ledgers. It allows us to build economic models for tomorrow, that create wholly new markets and economies for and around each of the richest of human endeavors.

In late 2017 at the height of the Bitcoin bubble, without individual coordination, planning, or the help of institutions, almost $1 trillion was infused into blockchain markets. This is remarkable, and the revolution has only just begun. When you realize that Blockchain is in a similar stage of development as the internet pre-AOL, you will see a glimpse of the global transformation to come.

Only twice in the information age have we had such a paradigm shift in global infrastructure reform—the computer and the internet. While the computer taught us how to store and process data, the Internet built off that ability and furthered the conversation by teaching us how to transfer that information. Blockchain takes another massive step forward—it builds off the internet, adding to the story of information storage and transfer—but, it teaches us a new, priceless and not yet understood skill: how to transfer value.

This third wave kicked off with a rough start—as happens with the birth of new technologies and their corresponding liberties. Blockchain has, thus far, been totally unregulated. Many, doubtless, have taken advantage. A young child, stretching their arms for the first couple times might knock over a cookie jar or two. Eventually, however, they learn to use their faculties—for evil or for good. As such, while it’s wise to be skeptical at this phase in blockchain’s evolution, it’s important not to be blind to its remarkable implications in a post-regulated world, so that we may wield its faculties like a surgeon’s scalpel—not for evil or snake-oil sales, but for the creation of more good, for the flourishing of commonwealth.

But what of the volatility in blockchain markets? People agree Bitcoin has value, but they don’t understand why they are in agreement, and so cryptomarkets fluctuate violently.  Stable blockchain economies will require new symbolic gold standards that clearly articulate why someone would agree to support each market, to anchor common agreement with stability. The more globally shared these new value standards, the better.

Is education more valuable than gold? What about healthcare or nutrition or clean water?

We set out in 2018 to prove a hypothesis—we believe that if you back a cryptocurrency economy with a globally agreed upon inherent value like education, you can solve for volatility and stabilize a mature long lasting cryptomarket that awards everyone who adds value to that market in a decentralized way without the friction of individual partnerships.

What if education was a new gold standard?

And what if this new Learning Economy had protocols to award everyone who is helping to steward the growth of global education?

Education is a mountain. Everyone takes a different path to the top. Blockchain allows us to measure all of those unique learning pathways, online and in classrooms, into immutable blockchain Learning Ledgers.

By quantifying the true value of education, a whole economy can be built around it to pay students to learn, educators to create substantive courses, and stewards to help the Learning Economy grow. It was designed to provide a decentralized way for everyone adding value to global education to coordinate around the commonwealth without the friction of individual partnerships. Imagine the same for healthcare, nutrition, and our environment?

Imagine a world where we can pay refugees to learn languages as they find themselves in foreign lands, a world where we can pay those laid off by the tide of automation to retrain themselves for the new economy, a world where we can pay the next generation to prepare themselves for the unsolved problems of tomorrow.

Imagine new commonwealth economies that alleviate the global burdens of poverty, disease, hunger, inequality, ignorance, toxic water, and joblessness. Commonwealths that orbit inherent values, upheld by immutable blockchain protocols that reward anyone in the ecosystem stewarding the economy—whether that means feeding the hungry, providing aid for the global poor, delivering mosquito nets in malaria-ridden areas, or developing transformative technologies that can provide a Harvard-class education to anyone in the world willing to learn.

These worlds are not out of reach—we are only now opening our eyes to the horizons of blockchain, decentralized coordination, and new gold standards. Even though coordination is the last of the seventeen sustainable development goals, when solved, its tide will lift for the rest—a much-needed rocket fuel for global prosperity.

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.”  —George Washington
C. Naseer Ahmad
C. Naseer Ahmad is a contributor to Diplomatic Courier.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.