Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com
Usually this time of year, we start to read price predictions about Bitcoin going to a million bucks a coin. I’ve never been a big fan of price predictions. Some get them right, and most get them wrong. Price predictions are about short term gains, that are usually very fickle.
But a week ago, I read an interesting prediction in the news. Deutsche Bank made a very bold statement. The German bank published a research report called Imagine 2030. In this report the bank says that cryptocurrencies are currently just additions to the current money payment system. However, in the next decade they could be replacements.
Deutsche Bank predicts that the number of cryptocurrency users will grow 4x in the next ten years, reaching 200 million. This growth is almost same as that of Internet in its first 20 years.
The parallels between the Internet and crypto are stunning. Until Mosaic, the Internet was publicly funded and primarily used an academic setting. But enlightened policymakers decided to legalize commercial activity on the Internet. While, the Internet’s commercial use started with most people and businesses not knowing how to connect or use the Internet, the rails were put in place that would eventually change the future of everything.
The breakout years of simplified usage and huge user growth are not far away. The talent is abundant, the capital is here and the conditions like economic inclusion and freedom are ripe.
But, for all this to happen, there is one big uncertain x-factor. How will governments approach cryptocurrencies? For Deutsche Bank’s prediction to come true, we need enlightened policymakers that will legitimize cryptocurrencies. The report states: “First, they must become legitimate in the eyes of governments and regulators”. Very, true!
Crypto regulation could be just around the corner. As regulatory hurdles are surmounted, cryptocurrencies may become legitimate substitutes for fiat currency. Many governments will not sit by and lose control of the money supply without a vicious fight. Libra and other stablecoins may ultimately provide the road map to more widespread adoption, with stronger oversight by government regulators.
What’s even more remarkable about the report is a section that’s entitled “The end of fiat money?” That’s pretty wild, when you consider that this report comes from a huge global bank. What people in the cryptocurrency community have known for a while, banks are starting to realize now. But that’s good news!
The real victim of crypto may not be fiat, but plastic cards. For decades now, we’ve been slowly phasing out cash. Cash, credit and debit cards are slowly becoming obsolete and may continue on this course, as crypto acceptance increases. When you think about the evolution, we moved from paper money and coins to online transactions and debit/credit cards. The rise of mobile payments through WeChat Pay, AliPay and Paypal already makes plastic cards redundant. Blockchain offers plenty pf advantages over plastic cards, but the basic difference between the two, is that all payments and transfers are done with the user’s full consent. Deutsche Bank believes that plastic cards could die. As cryptocurrency adoption increases, it’s only logical to assume that credit cards will disappear. We simply won’t need them anymore.
Deutsche Bank is spot on with its prediction.
But, predictions are always tricky. Hindsight is 20/20. Right now, everyone wants to believe. We can taste the decentralized future. Things take time, but the countdown has begun. Cryptocurrencies have become more popular than you think. According to a survey, approximately 18% of students based in the US either own at least one digital currency or have owned one in the past.
Crypto can be both good and evil, like everything else in life. Many people fail to understand the real value of cryptocurrency, because they’re only focused on speculative trading, driven by price and volatility.
Crypto offers a unique solution that renders fiat currency obsolete. Cryptocurrency empowers people to be their own bank and payment method. The primary challenges are regulatory and technical. The deciding factor on whether crypto will replace cash is user-adoption. But, once fully booted and integrated in our lives, cryptocurrency will make the world will look completely different, in ways we can only begin to understand.
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