Some of the world’s biggest emerging markets will skip traditional banking payment systems completely, according to Michael Wallis-Brown chief commercial officer at Guvera, and founder and chief executive officer of Tapp Tribe.
Wallis-Brown was speaking on a panel at the Inside Bitcoins conference in Melbourne, formally on the topic of Moving Bitcoin Forward: Bringing Trust, Legitimacy and Transparency to the Market.
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He says it’s important not just to look at bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from the Australian and American perspective, where there is already a lot of banking and payment systems in place, but also in a global context.
“Where was the first share trading on mobile banking in the world? Indonesia,’’ he says, “which has only got a GDP per capita of about $5000 per year.”
He stresses the future of currency and payments is not necessarily in bitcoin, but the protocol that it is built on.
“Half the world’s population sits in Southeast Asia, India, China – these guys are going to skip traditional banking completely,” he says.
“There’s major, major players, not just [Apple], but there’s other big ones that we’re actually working with coming out in China that can bring alternative payments into the world. Banking systems, finance systems, it’s all going to be on mobile and it’s going to accelerate the protocol, in my humble opinion, to the mainstream.”
There’s considerable incentive for a big player to develop a closed economy, bitcoin without the transparency, and Wallis-Brown points to Apple as an example.
“I don’t even have to talk about how much they spend on the app store,” he says.
“But most of that’s done on credit cards – 600 million credit cards.
“Where are the consumers of the future going to come from for the app store? They’re coming out of the big markets.
“There’s only 10 million credit cards in Indonesia. So they are going to be doing virtual currency transactions. It’s happening there today, but the protocol in whatever form it will take, will be threaded through that.
“All the other bits and pieces around developing legislation, developing technology and security, stacks will be built around it.
“It will evolve just like the internet.”
Among those appearing on the panel was Will Dayble, founder of Squareweave. He says the technology that bitcoin is based on has the potential to drastically alter the world.
Dayble says the base technology upon which bitcoin is built enables the fluid transference of ownership.
“The things that can emerge from that kind of understanding is that we can have things like digital transference of property in its broader sense.
“And that in and of itself, at the top of the stack, is incredibly interesting and has nothing to do with money – only to do with transferring ownership.
“And that’s really exciting particularly in emerging markets.
“To think of bitcoin in what it is in comparison to Commonwealth Bank or NAB or something is looking seconds ahead, not years ahead.”