Forget Banks: If Bitcoin Is Going To Change The World, Then This Is The Real Competition
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
A central conceit of Bitcoin evangelists is that the cryptocurrency could be most useful to “the global unbanked.”
These are the 575 million individuals in mostly emerging markets who lack access to basic financial services, even a bank account.
In principal, the advocates are correct. The time it takes to process a bitcoin transaction — about 10 minutes — is far faster than the three days it would take in the regular banking system. It’s also usually cheaper.
But a new survey from trade association GSM shows that even the most promising emerging-market electronic payments technology, mobile money, has only just begun to break out, meaning it could take years to unseat cash as the payment method of choice in the developing world.