The Future of Digital Money
There’s a lot of interest in the future of digital currencies on the internet thanks to ecommerce websites ruling the web and our wallet. Considering that there have been so many industries around the world that have been completely transformed by the introduction of online technologies, banking is still very much stuck in its ways of decades or even hundreds of years ago. That’s all set to change in the next few years as currency itself is shifting to being created, exchanged and stored entirely digitally.
Connecting banks online
Banking institutions around the world have been notoriously slow to adapt to the internet. While every modern bank now has a website, online banking facilities and even dedicated applications to make transferring money easier, they’re still wrapped up in the standard conventions of the 5-day work week and business hours. Indeed there’s even ATMs in Japan that close after 5pm.
Even digital-first transaction services like PayPal, which powers most ecommerce websites on the internet, are still hampered by the traditions and practices of traditional banking. You deposit money into PayPal from a connected bank account, and withdrawing money from PayPal to an offline bank account can still take days, because that’s just how things work. Users of PayPal are bound to the laws and regulations of the country the user lives in, which flies in the face of the global internet.
A new type of money
There are new services that are either on the horizon or being used already that could change the way we give and receive money on the internet.
Facebook is trialling its online payments platform, Libra. Not content with gobbling up Instagram, WhatsApp and a myriad of other social media sites, the company is expanding in new directions such as virtual reality, dating and money. Libra is aimed to be a universal currency that people can buy and sell real world items on Facebook Marketplace with, or give to friends and family through Facebook messenger, or buy virtual items through Oculus.
Libra is planned for an official rollout in 2020, barring any intervention by banking and governmental regulators. European Union finance advisement group as declared Libra to be “a bad idea – for its users, for the stability of our financial system, and last but not least for our democracy.”
But, but…what about BitCoin?
Of course, there’s the famous BitCoin and other blockchain-derived technologies that are in the headlines. While there’s no denying that a virtually anonymous new currency that can be traded instantly has immense benefit, it comes with a real world cost.
It’s estimated that, due to how much computing power is required to update the blockchain which keeps accurate records of every transaction ever, even a single BitCoin transaction uses as much energy as an average household does in twenty days. When you think about the number of BitCoin transactions that occur every minute, this equates to a staggering toll on the environment.
One of the biggest drivers of the need for a digital economy is to make it easy for online content creators to get paid. We’ve seen the devaluing of online advertising have a dramatic effect on any revenue website creators make, and there’s a need to find new income streams for people who make the internet the constantly informative and entertaining place it is today.
This is where Coin could be a solution. The proposal is this: people would pledge $5 a month to the platform, and this money would be allocated to website creators based on how many seconds users spend on their sites. It’s a form of microtransaction that would remove the advertising companies as middlemen and potentially allow online writers, musicians, artists and journalists to recoup the costs of their work.
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