Yesterday, The European Central Bank released a statement named, “Bitcoin not the answer to a cashless society.” They expressed that next week 20 policymakers would sit down and take a look at Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies as they recognize that non-cash payments have doubled, as of late. The European central bank labeled bitcoin and cryptocurrency a “mirage” but see it as an early sign of potential change.
Now the latest buzz around central banks is; should they consider issuing their own digital coin, in response? This is the current debate among the community. They have tried experimenting with Bitcoin as a means of electronic payment for wholesale foreign payments and beyond, but it has not shown any strong conclusive benefits over current practices. However, it has showcased the flaw in the current system. The statement reads:
“Despite its many faults, bitcoin has put the spotlight on an old failing of our current system: cross-border retail payments. Such payments not only permit shoppers to easily buy goods online from overseas, but also allow foreign workers to send money home, supporting financial inclusion and development. However, these payment channels are generally much slower, less transparent and way more expensive than domestic ones.”
While Bitcoin may not be the answer, could another project(s) and coin(s) solve their dilemma?
In Steps Ripple, Litecoin, and Stellar
Ripple is the clear choice when it comes to cross-border payments for larger financial institutions and banks. Many banks around the world are currently testing Ripple’s technology and implementing it in their current systems. In November, the team announced its partnership with American Express (NYSE:AXP) and in January, they sealed a deal with MoneyGram International (NASDAQ:MGI). The project is well head of PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) but is still miles behind VISA (NYSE:V).
Ripple could be a digital token solution for institutional cross-border payments. Thoughts?
The digital token, Litecoin (LTC), could be the cash-less domestic solution. LitePay, Litecoin’s merchant system, was released last month and it’s been rumored that Starbucks and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will be accepting LTC this year. While it may just be rumors, it shows that merchants accepting cryptocurrency are a thing of the near future. LitePay is a top contender due to the fact that transactions done through the application are completely free. Bitcoin has proved to be too expensive and its transaction verification time is far too slow for retail use. If large corporations adopt LitePay, it could catapult the cryptocurrency to become the top digital token on the market.
We can’t forget Ripple’s sibling currently Stellar (XLM) though. Stellar’s platform is extremely similar to that of Ripple, as they were founded by the same person but Stellar’s target audience is far broader. It’s aimed at individuals in various parts of the world, that seek to send money abroad instantly, without the standard high fees. Could this potentially be adopted for domestic transactions? Not likely. Stellar’s team seek to target underdeveloped parts of the world that are underbanked and give them a cheaper alternative to send currency to friends and family abroad.
What do you think? Any coins I missed that you feel should be added to the mix? Comment in the box below!
Featured Image: Moula