Skip to content

Hello, I'm Anthony Butler.  

This is my site where I frequently write about the impact of emerging technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, on societies and economies.  

I am currently a Senior Advisor to a G20 Central Bank responsible for applied research and experiments with emerging technologies in the financial sector.  Prior to this, I was Chief Technology Officer for IBM in the Middle East and Africa and was appointed as an IBM Distinguished Engineer mostly for my work in blockchain and cloud technologies.

I live in and am focused on supporting the development of one of the most exciting and future-oriented places in the world –  the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  

If you're interested in reading my thoughts as they get published, feel free to subscribe below.

Recent Posts

Members Public

IP considerations in consulting/services agreements

As a result of Vision 2030, there is a tremendous amount of innovation occurring across every dimension of Saudi Arabia: from the digital transformation of government, the development of the gigaprojects (such as NEOM), or the vast efforts of the Public Investment Fund to accelerate the growth of the non-oil

Members Public

Designing a privacy preserving rCBDC

There has been a lot of global debate about privacy in the context of retail CBDCs, particularly in the context of them being a replacement for cash. The perception is that the introduction of a retail CBDC would enable broad surveillance powers for the government as well as the ability

Members Public

Decentralized Liquidity Savings Mechanisms with Privacy-Preserving Cryptography

In the context of the wCBDC discussion, there is a lot of focus on the standard lifecycle of the CBDC from issuance through to redemption but not as much consideration of the possible liquidity implications. One of the most powerful concepts in financial markets is the concept of the Liquidity

Members Public

Money is a General Purpose Technology

There are certain technologies that are characterised as General Purpose Technologies (GPTs).  These are technologies, like electricity or the computer, that have a very large economic impact: often at a national or global level.  They are characterised by their broad usefulness and applicability to different sectors and applications; they are,

Members Public

ChatGPT is the ‘Netscape moment’ for artificial intelligence’

Originally published in Arab News. It is impossible for anyone to have missed the excitement generated by ChatGPT. Countless articles on the subject have been written, including many by ChatGPT. While underlying technologies, such as deep learning, are not new, ChatGPT’s rich conversational interface has captured the popular imagination

Members Public

Living and working in the metaverse

Originally published in Arab News. In the 1930s, Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase wrote a seminal essay on the nature of the firm, explaining the reason for the emergence and growth of companies. He argued that firms are what they are because of transaction costs.  It is not cost-effective to

Members Public

Intellectual Property and the Metaverse

Amidst all the excitement about the metaverse, it's always interesting to think about what else needs to evolve; what are the second-order effects that we need to consider.  There are, broadly, an interesting set of legal issues and questions that arise from the metaverse.  I have written, for example, about

Members Public

A “Turing Test” for Virtual Worlds

I recently read Reality+:Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy by New York University's Professor David Chalmers.  It's one of the more interesting and intellectually challenging books written on what is today being characterised broadly as the "metaverse": with Chalmers using the emergence of virtual worlds as a mechanism

Members Public

Interview with MEA Finance on applications of AI in financial advisory services

Originally published at At the beginning of 2022, several new Robo Advisory platforms were launched in GCC, can we expect to see many more coming online in the near future? The first robo-advisors appeared in 2010 and the market has grown rapidly in

Members Public

Emerging metaverse security and privacy threats

The metaverse has captured everyone's imagination – including mine – particularly as we start think through the economic and social possibilities that it can unlock.  As with most things though, there are also risks and threats; and, as companies and governments think through the great potential, they should also consider potential risks.