Andreas Antonopoulos recently spoke about cash and Bitcoin at an event in France. Speaking at the Merkle Conference 2016, he explained that the days of cash is now counted and it is soon going to be extinct. Cash has been one of the most successful peer-to-peer payment options for thousands of years. The same can’t be said about electronic fiat payments as it is more of a “person-to-corporation-to-corporation and then person” transaction. The corporations being banks, payment processors etc.
Antonopoulos explained the problems faced by small businesses when they receive electronic payments from their customers. Unlike peer-to-peer cash transaction, the electronic payments are subject to realization, which may happen in one day or a week or sometimes a month. In the case of a fraud or other defaults, the business owner may never see the money. Not to mention the transaction fees of anywhere between 0.5% to 2% of the transaction value depending upon the mode of electronic payment.
As the use of cash reduces, people are now at the mercy of banks and payment processing companies. The licensing regime and interference of corporations, governments, and other entities have reduced everyone into a consumer by making it hard for people to take up the role of a producer, thus destroying the communities by disrupting trade within groups of people.
Cash and Bitcoin are push transactions, where the one who is paying does it voluntarily. Comparing it with pull transactions like cards and electronic payments, the individual doesn’t have complete control over his money but the banks, corporations, and governments do. Cash and Bitcoin again are bearer instruments, where the value is assigned to the instrument itself. Cash doesn’t represent the issuance of debt, but transmission of value and it is instantaneous.
Antonopoulos hits back against the backlash currently faced by cash, which is now considered to be the favored mode of transaction for criminals. Referring to Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper on Bitcoin, Andreas points out that Bitcoin is “electronic cash” and not an electronic bank account, a digital credit card or a digital payment network. The digital currency has all the qualities of cash and ideal for peer-to-peer transactions without the interference of third parties.
He reiterates that Bitcoin can be used for everything that cash has been used for until now. In addition, it can also be sent to anyone anywhere which was not possible until now with cash, making everyone the citizens of the world.
The technology that enables people to re-engage with the concept of using money as a form of payment between people and not corporations. With Bitcoin, users don’t have to worry about accounts being closed or their money being loaned out to some war criminal or used to fund those who bomb other countries.
Andreas Antonopoulos ends his speech by relating the core principles behind Bitcoin to the national motto of France – “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”.
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