Wells Fargo Securities Analyst, Mike Mayo, recently said we are about to see “the biggest reduction in U.S. bank headcount in history.” In fact, some estimates have predicted the consumer banking industry is set to shed over 200,000 jobs over the next decade.
This is the perfect illustration of the way the banking industry is being disrupted and forced to change by new digital technologies like blockchain. No longer is brick and mortar necessary–everything has gone digital.
Just like the internet changed how people buy things, cryptocurrency is now completely shifting the way we manage and control our money. Of course, most people think of Bitcoin almost exclusively when they hear the word “cryptocurrency”, but the transformational shift will occur when people are truly treating cryptocurrency as a digital dollar they can use to buy, spend and transfer funds.
While it is true that Bitcoin is the world’s most well-known cryptocurrency, its creation and use kickstarted an “Age of Self Custody” that has allowed people all over the world, irrespective of their color or creed, to take back control of their financial well being in a way that has never been possible before.
People Want Options
At its core, capitalism can be broken down into a simple concept of, “I give you something of value in return for something else of value.”
Whether someone is using the US Dollar, the Euro, Bitcoin, or some other digital asset, human beings can access and maintain control over their and their family’s financial well-being without reliance on 3rd party intermediaries who will charge extra fees – sometimes predatorily – just for someone to have access to their own money.
Cryptocurrencies make the system work the way that people think it does now, even if that conclusion is misguided. These digital assets enable people around the world to connect with global marketplaces that interact in real-time every second of every day of every year. In the future, because of these revolutionary advances, human beings will no longer be completely reliant on the services of banks to get paid or to buy goods and services for their families. In fact, banks around the world are going to have to compete on a global scale to fight for the business of every single customer, causing a permanent impact on how these institutions operate, defining the relationships that people have with them moving forward.
We hear the phrase, “the future of banking” quite a bit in our industry, but it’s not just an expression for us. At Unbanked, this ethos means customers have access to the FDIC-insured bank accounts, business accounts, debit cards, and investments that they enjoy today, but those services embrace the now, laying in custodied cryptocurrency investments. Down the line, this would mean anyone interested has access to decentralized wallets and can choose to be the custodian of their own assets if they don’t want a bank to provide those services. Giving customers this kind of flexibility means we create a holistic baking experience that empowers them to connect self-custodied assets to traditional financial services and products in a way that works best for them and their life.
Better, Cheaper, Faster
Most people don’t know that the world’s most traded cryptocurrency is the US Dollar. After all, cryptocurrencies are hardly monolithic. Oxford defines the word “cryptocurrency” as, a digital currency in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralized system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority.
While there are many different types of digital assets built on top of various decentralized systems using diverse forms of cryptography, to say that you own or work with cryptocurrency (or blockchain, which is the decentralized protocol that cryptocurrencies are built on top of) is akin to saying you own a method of transportation. In practical terms: no rational person would consider a bike or plane to be the same as a truck or car and, yet, they’re all methods of transportation.
When it comes to the interactions most people have with cryptocurrency, many are not aware it’s just “money as software” that allows for a better, cheaper, faster experience–even if the customer fails to understand the true technological differences. But the truth is, it’s more secure and works better than the banking system in most cases.
Crypto is About Solving Real World Problems
It’s a hard and fast truth that cryptocurrencies solve many of the day-to-day issues that traditional systems built on top of 50-year-old technology do not.
My father-in-law is an immigrant who fled the Iranian government a few years after the revolution. Despite being very well-to-do in his country, he had to sell everything on the black market for 30 cents on the dollar and used that money to bring his family to the United States. Despite having three Master’s Degrees in Engineering, the only job he was able to get was the Head of Janitorial Services at a hotel. If he had cryptocurrency, he would not have lost everything just to move to a country that offered him and his family better opportunities
But these examples aren’t just limited to one part of the world: The mother of a very close friend of mine, born in Zimbabwe, had saved all her life and kept her US dollars safely in the hands of a bank in the country. One day, the government decided to take those dollars away and exchange them for a national currency without her approval or consent. This situation was completely out of her control and she lost everything when hyperinflation in the country became rampant. This scenario could never happen to a person who self custodies their own digital funds.
Of course, these situations may seem extreme, or they may not, but the fact is, whether you are sending funds to a friend down the street or someone internationally, remittances through cryptocurrency rails are simply better, cheaper, faster for consumers simply by forcing competition in the marketplace.
The popularity of digital assets has forced the banking industry into the beginning stages of an incredibly significant shift and they simply cannot go back to “normal”. Whether we’re talking about borrowing and lending, or just having better solutions for remittances and payments, Unbanked intends to use the modern technology rails created by blockchain to facilitate innovative solutions for our customers that save money and scale in a way that benefits people.
We believe that every person has the fundamental human right to financial access and control; that’s why I’m so excited today to introduce our new brand to the world and empower everyone to “get Unbanked”. Thank you for taking this journey with us. We can’t wait for everyone to see where we go from here.