Just like every other evolution, the financial industry has evolved throughout; starting from a barter system to cash to digital form. The paper currency took 113999 months to develop, and in less than 719 months, we have achieved a quantum leap forward in its evolution, attaining practically invisible payments.
The payments industry has always been disrupted, from gold coins to digital wallets. However, to reach the current state where we have a diverse variety of payment choices, the industry has faced a few cycles of disruptions and evolution, as well as customer adaptability.
Every evolution brings in both pros & cons to society as a whole. Therefore, digital forms of money are no exception. Similar to any other digital product or service, digital currencies too, have inherited powerful and unique advantages such as:
- Economical & efficient transactions: Digital money, on the other hand, never assumes physical form. It is always stored on a computer network and shared digitally, which makes it cheaper and more efficient.
- Assist financial inclusion:As in developing countries, many individuals are underserved or unable to use traditional financial institutions, digital money allows them to conduct financial transactions swiftly, inexpensively, and without a lot of documentation.
- Strengthen PSPs competitive landscape:New means of processing, distributing, and using payments and financial services have emerged as a result of digital currency, posing a challenge to payment service providers.
- Make cross-border remittances services easily accessible:The cheaper costs of receiving, keeping, and sending digital money make it simpler for individuals and businesses to replace their home currency with a more stable currency, particularly in nations where inflation and exchange rates are high.
But, at the same place, a) Scalability, b) Cybersecurity issues, c) Lack of intrinsic worth, and d) Regulations outweigh potential benefits.
Disruption of the Payment Systems
The financial services industry is undergoing a major transition, which has been expedited by the COVID-19 epidemic. Digital payments are at the epicenter of this transition, considering the central role digitalization plays in the financial life of an increasing number of people throughout the world.
The payment industry is transforming societies into cashless; it also contributes to the growth of digital economies and drives innovation, all while serving as a reliable backbone for our economy.
Since the pandemic outbreak, there is an acceleration of digital currency in investment. It can be proven by the following graph, surveyed upon 5k+ US citizens, between 4-6 August 2021, in which 45% are investors.
Cryptocurrency has been heralded as having the ability to bring in a new age of global financial inclusivity and streamlined financial services infrastructure.
To yet, however, its prominence has stemmed from its capacity as a store of value rather than a medium of trade. This chasm is gradually closing, with both monetary authorities and commercial entities issuing stable cryptocurrencies as viable mainstream payment options.
The Landscape of Cryptocurrency
The core concept of a digital currency, i.e. to replace paper currency has been around for more than a quarter-century. The first move was in 1989 as DigiCash and in 1996 as e-gold. The introduction of Cryptocurrency in the 2009 industry saw this paradigm shift considerably in two ways:
- Cybersecurity: Hacking of the cryptos trading platform sparked factual concerns about cryptos' security and decreased liquidity had a long-term influence on the exchange rate and in turn the investment.
- Major Events worldwide: Events such as BREXIT, US elections, etc, triggered a surge for cryptos. MACRO economic factors of China’s economy were also the major reason behind the surge in cryptos demand. Because of China's slow growth of GDP, residents of China started exploring offshore investment opportunities, which alerted the Chinese government, and as a result, they imposed restrictions on the flow. Due to this, the Chinese found alternative ways to offshore and crypto was one such lucrative alternative.
- The verdict by Influencers:Remarks by many market leaders also influenced the Crypto exchange rate.
- Government Regulations:Increasing regulations by the government of many countries (like the Government of South Korea & China forced many investors to withdraw from crypto investment) affected the exchange rate.
Fig: Market Cap of Cryptocurrency from Apr 2013-Jan 2022 (Source: coinmarketcap.com)
E-commerce vs Cryptocurrency
Mainly, cryptocurrencies came into the role due to eCommerce. They both go hand-in-hand because they both are centered on technology. It is reasonable to believe that cryptocurrencies and eCommerce will complement each other well – indeed, in certain circumstances, they already do. Cryptocurrencies, notably Bitcoin, have already made inroads into online businesses, providing an innovative, sustainable, and simplified digital answer to many of the industry's current roadblocks. Cryptos, with their capacity to satisfy customer demands for instant and reliability while boosting market share for merchants, might be immensely advantageous to the eCommerce business if used properly. As more businesses see the benefits of cryptos, consumer interest has increased, and it may not be long until we see cryptocurrency used commercially as normal.
Adoption of Cryptocurrency by Fintech
Cryptocurrency has the potential to open up new Fintech marketplaces in the future. Though we have observed the role of Fintech in Cryptocurrency’s adoption, there is considerable work to be done before crypto is as available and functional as conventional money when it comes to making purchases and leveraging transactions. With the advent of fascinating developing fintech, we're already getting a glimpse into a more dynamic future. As per many market leaders and research, adoption rates of Cryptocurrency & internet growth are going side-by-side. This suggests that the realization of crypto's real possibilities might help drive uptake even higher.
Despite the growth and potential, the use of digital currencies usage for day to day life will take substantial time; when we will get to see the general society buy groceries with cryptos, and the rise of Hybrid Payment services provides us a glimpse of the future when we would want to buy the cryptocurrency and retain it for more practical & general purposes. As more people and organizations turn to blockchain technology to accelerate their financial activities, it makes sense for fintech like us to help drive mainstream acceptance by facilitating the usage of cryptocurrency in a democratic manner and in accordance with existing regulatory rules. Although the gap between crypto and government-issued currency is still wide, reporting firms may be able to lay the groundwork. These asset-backed tokens can assist to alleviate any apprehensions that customers, investors, and companies have about trading with cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency may play a role in ushering in a whole new global financial ecosystem based on seamless, transnational, and fully decentralized payment systems, bringing with it new methods for us to transact with each other.