Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
Cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology seem to be slowly but surely gaining acceptance in many sectors seeking speed, low fees, and a connection with the digital generation. Thanks to their decentralized nature, cryptos give power to the individual, ensure access for everyone (including the unbanked), and grant users control over their digital future. For most adopters, these are the major draw.
But that is not to say that the journey has been smooth and sailed. Digital currencies have had their fair share of challenges and failures since bitcoin launched in 2009. More so, their volatility, exposure to manipulation, and use in illegal trade (drugs, illegal pornography, hacks, and thefts, etc.) still constitute a problem. Despite them, however, many still believe cryptos have a bright future in the banking sector.
An Evolving System
The evolution of cryptocurrencies has the potential to be revolutionary. Digital currencies are seen in many quarters as having all the ingredients necessary to challenge some more legacy business models in banking.
Powered by the blockchain technology, cryptocurrency transactions are registered in a verified ledger system, which enables individuals and financial organizations to transfer funds in a secure and traceable way. As a result, their application in banking will help build trust in the financial services arena.
While most of the commentary regarding the future of cryptocurrency has emphasized the threat to established bank models and how they’ll remove the need for intermediaries, new cryptos are being developed to serve as regular money within traditional financial institutions.
These new “currencies” do not behave like speculative bubbles or securities. Instead, what developers are trying to achieve is make these tokens function as a medium of exchange in much the same way as fiat currency.
A good example of such currencies is the SOV, the Marshall Islands’ very own cryptocurrency, which will be distributed as legal tender alongside the U.S Dollar. A report on Reuters said the SOV will be issued to the mass public via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).
Russian Releasing Cryptoruble
In a related development, Russia is also pondering the release of Cryptorubble, a state-controlled digital currency to serve as an intermediary instrument that will facilitate the exchange of goods and services.
In the Middle East, the Central Banks of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are already taking steps to develop a cross-border cryptocurrency exchange to facilitate the buying and selling of items between the two countries.
Asset-Backed Tokens to Become Mainstream
Meanwhile, it is believed that banks could use digital currencies to buy, sell, and trade goods by backing tokens with real assets in the future. Asset-backed tokens offer benefits such as the securitization of assets, liquidity, ownership rights, lowered volatility of crypto assets, among others.
The LendingCoin (TLC), a real-estate backed cryptocurrency token, is a good example of such tokens. Investments in TLC “…are backed by the refinancing of commercial property with proven value,” according to the Lending Coin website.
Asides refinancing the real estate, the Lending Coin will branch out to other sectors of the real estate market like residential properties, which could potentially disrupt traditional mortgage payments and home refinancing.
Outside of real estate, asset-backed tokens will have applications in industries such as art, gaming, and will help ensure self-sovereignty by giving individuals complete control of their information.