Blockchain Bytes: The future of money and business beyond bank disagreements
6 min read
14 March 2018
In his latest Blockchain Bytes column, Barry James looks at why Bank of England governor Mark Carney made headlines last week with his speech on the future of money – headlines which made very different reading from his published speech.
Both the media and the bank concluded that “the time has come to hold the crypto-asset ecosystem to the same standards as the rest of the financial system,” on the one hand signalling that cryptocoins, ICOs and the Blockchain technology that makes them possible can no longer be dismissed. On the other, it hoped to convince us that “their prospects of replacing fiat money are tenuous at best” – replacing, yes.
Since then the chair of the European Banking Authority (EBA), Andrea Enria, has warned that “excessive” regulation is a bad idea as it risks “constraining financial innovation” and advocates a “proportionate” and “less intense” approach.
Regardless this now makes it clear, from both the heads of the Bank of England and the EBA, that what they term crypto-assets are part of their future – if central banks are indeed needed in a future with online money – as well as ours.
Back 20 years – to some very odd looks – I was quietly proclaiming that this internet thing was not just for geeks. That it would not just go mainstream but would be the mainstream. Now it is.
Apps and cryptos
Much less than 20 years from now, I predict that we will all be using cryptocurrencies and will own various crypto-assets, in much the same way we all have various apps for different purposes. It will be as common as email or SMS is now – and there will be as much, if not more, choice.
Dot.Coin and Dot.Com
Like 20 year ago those who take the trouble to understand this revolution, putting a toe in the waters from it’s early days and evolving a strategy for their business, will do best. And avoid the risk of becoming the next Kodak.
The Bank of England and its monopoly on money
After Carney’s speech one might think that it will be five or ten years before what he called “exciting” Blockchain technology has much impact – before money goes online and countries have a digital currency issued by their Central Bank. Don’t let this fool you. The speech was more remarkable for what it left out than what it said.
It was also more than a little misleading. Not just the usual references to the “dark web” to raise all the usual specious spectres, but statements about cryptocurrencies that only apply to the Ford Model T of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin. Meanwhile, there has been massive innovation in the nine years since and even more massive investments – exceeding all VCs – going in the last year or so.
For example, Carney pointed out that “VISA can process up to 65,000 transactions per second globally against just seven per second for Bitcoin” – neglecting to mention that there are now a number of cyrptocurrencies that can do far better than VISA at a lower cost. As Jonny Fry, CEO of #TeamBlockchain has pointed out: “Hashgraph can process over 300,000 transactions per second. Telegram is looking to do 1m transactions per second! Currently it handles 70bn messages a day and just announced an ICO to raise over $1.2bn!”
This undermines Carney’s conclusion that cryptocurrencies as a whole have no future as money, unless a central bank is involved. We’ve become used to treating pronouncements from central banks as law – but no more. (The regulators and central banks cannot even agree their direction of travel, so competition is unavoidable).
The Bank of England might be fighting for its life, or at least its future, but this rhetoric dressed as something authoritative is misleading for us all and it’s a very important time for the future of the UK and it’s businesses – especially post-Brexit!
Dot.com in now where we live. The bubble came and went. Dot.Coin is upon u for good or ill. Will there be a bubble? Probably. It’s in the nature of investors to create them. But there’s a world of difference between the oft-quoted tulip bubble which did nothing to change the world for the better, and the Dot.Com bubble which certainly changed the world, and especially the world of business, forever.
Hang on tight it could be a bumpy ride and watch out for the next edition of #BlockchainBytes!
The #BlockchainBytescolumn is in association with ICOrad.io. It is a weekly series written and hosted by author Barry E James to build public, especially SME’s, understanding of the possibilities, opportunities and business threats created by a fast moving revolution that’s shaping our future.
Barry James delves into the various opportunities the Blockchain has made available to SMEs, as well as how businesses will be affected by its surge.