Have you ever had your debit card unexpectedly declined? Perhaps you’ve just moved address and forgot to tell them. They know, because you’re now often withdrawing or spending in a new neighborhood, and are no longer doing so in the old one.
So they cancel your card, don’t tell you, and you are left in an awkward position. Perhaps you were just about to pay for lunch or just about to complete your weekly shopping.
You can of course just go to a branch and withdraw old style, but maybe you’re busy, maybe you’re even late for an important meeting. Perhaps you just about managed to squeeze in two minutes and are now about to miss the train.
Would it not be nice if they said: we do accept some cryptos, you do not happen to have any bitcoin… cash or ethereum do you?
Bitcoin Cash? Eth? Yes, yes, go go go. There, a quick QR code scan and your day saved from ruin. You’re now perhaps happier than before. Welcome to the 21st century.
The above is just one instance where fiat fails and a back-up option can be very valuable. A back-up that hasn’t existed before, but now is here.
Another one is perhaps organizing your current account and your savings/investments in such a way that you assume a certain payment, perhaps important payment, can be made by credit card.
You have no reason to doubt anything will go wrong, but you have not used the credit card for some time. When you enter the expiry date, you just realize its actually expired.
In many situations that doesn’t matter, a new one will eventually arrive, but in some situations that can lead to a chain of events which can take weeks or months to entangle solely due to that unexpectedly expired card.
Such situations might be rare, but you add up these rare events and the potential consequences of being in one and you start realizing that just as we have a back-up for our data and many other things, we should have a backup for our money.
And as such back-up would be valuable to customers, businesses would want to offer it. Which is why when crypto payments were viable in 2013-14, they started accepting it in droves.
Because if it is valuable for rare situations, in can be valuable for less rare situations too. Perhaps you forgot the wallet, but do have the phone. Perhaps you have only a certain amount in your fiat account, but have found a bargain that costs a bit more.
Maybe a direct debit has taken more than expected from your account, or worse. Something that might certainly ruin your day, but at least you’ll have a full stomach.
Then, there are more systemic matters. What if the fiat currency collapses, like in Venezuela. It won’t happen here, we hope, but it nearly did a few years ago, and inflation reached some 20% in the west a few years before that.
If the infrastructure is there in good times, there is a back-up in bad times. But even in good times, these rare situations can add up very quickly.
People in rural areas might have internet and a local shop, but not a bank branch or ATM within walking distance. People almost everywhere have text messaging facilities.
Then there are people who simply don’t like banks. They charge too much in overdrafts, some now charge for just having an account, and they charge too much for each payment, some 2%.
The cost conscious, the thrifty, will try alternatives if they save them money. The well off, or the go-getters, might want to look cool and in with the times. The students will want to pay with this digital thing.
There are, of course, matters to address. Volatility is one, scalability is another although Bitcoin Cash now has plenty of it, ethereum will too soon, as may bitcoin. Then there are the outright criminals who might not exist with reversible money.
But Rome was not built in one day. Nor will the world’s first alternative money since the 1500s. There are ways to smart contract code transactions that would deal with these new criminals. There are ways to address volatility, while scalability has now pretty much been solved conceptually.
It is therefore time for the spendl gang to take charge because there’s a new money in town, the people’s money.