“I haven’t seen enough traction.”
One year after we resolved to set an annual debate, Moneygram’s Peter Ohser remains right, the bitcoin blockchain hasn’t disrupted global remittances.
Rather than take off through the power of the Internet, mobile and the price appreciation of a new currency, regulation, last-mile challenges and usability issues continue to keep the traditional powers that be in place.
As for the numbers that have been released (Digital Currency Group asserts that at least $40m in remittances is now going through four of its startups), Ohser isn’t exactly impressed given that it’s a $600bn market. At Money2020, he echoes many of his critiques from last year. A new, non-governmental currency, he suggests, is still an idea that’s a poor fit for cross-border commerce.
To Ohser, bitcoin and digital currencies remain a Napster, a technology that’s too-hot-to-touch and likely to remain so for regulated institutions that don’t want to deal with something that carries high risk and little upside for their operations.
“There’s definitely money being moved, but for our purpose, for the ability to work with global banks, you can’t touch bitcoin, you lose your global banking relationships,” Ohser said.
But, he sees this