Bitcoin Association Founding President Jimmy Nguyen took the virtual stage at The Future of FinTech Digital Conference on August 20, where he—along with other speakers—discussed “the future of payments”.
The panel—featuring Nguyen, Vendorcom Chairman Paul Rodgers, TempoCap investment partner Pierre Suhrcke, and PagoFX head of product Ishan Vaid—focused on how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the move from cash to contactless payments, and how consumers are demanding new ways to pay for goods and services now that the pandemic has forced the world to change.
Here are a few key takeaways from the panel.
The Future of Payments
The first question asked to the panelists was “What is going to be the longest-lasting impact on payments due to the pandemic?”
“I think it will be accelerating the move to a cashless society,” said Nguyen, “[it will] accelerate the adoption of digital currency.”
Although each panelist had a slightly different answer, the overarching theme of their answers were in alignment; the pandemic is moving the world away from cash and into digital money.
Vaid made a good point in saying that the pandemic is “changing customer behavior, changing how they shop, and changing how they live.” All of these lifestyle changes are forcing the world to come up with solutions that cater to the new lifestyles that many people around the world have been forced to live due to the pandemic.
In that regard, Nguyen explained how we already see enterprises shifting their operations to align with this new way of life.
“This is a good opportunity for businesses to leapfrog into something better or new. For instance, we are seeing the world of land casinos transition into cashless casino systems. BitBoss is a company that helps casinos accomplish this. BitBoss allows casino customers to use a mobile wallet/card payment instead of cash to fund the games that they play. It uses tokens built on Bitcoin SV so that the experience within a casino becomes mobile and can run atop a device, it launched, or at least was accelerated, by COVID 19 and the concerns about physical cash gave BitBoss a great market opportunity to excel.”
Is Bitcoin regulatory friendly?
Many audience members were interested in Jimmy’s proposed Bitcoin solutions. One audience member asked, “How does blockchain comply with GDPR?”
To which Jimmy replied, “Not all data has to be on the blockchain; you can store data somewhere else and the hash can be written to the blockchain. The data can also be encrypted, as long as the mechanism exists to decrypt the data, then that should be ok under GDPR. Storing data on a blockchain can be done in a safe way through encryption and obfuscation and there are methods and technicalities you can use to make sure it complies with GDPR.”
Central bank digital currencies
When the panelists were asked to reveal their thoughts on a central bank digital currency, the panelists all agreed that a CBDC is an area that must be explored and that some countries, like China, will be launching their CBDC’s soon. According to Suhrcke, when it comes to a central bank digital currency “the first country is going to come, and others will follow.”
Where will we be in five years?
To close the panel, each panelist told the audience what they believed would be the biggest development in payments in five years.
Rodgers answered first, saying, “We will see things settling down, we won’t see people throwing things at the market and hoping that they stick. We’re going to see real innovation that actually brings solutions, I think regulators will also lighten up a bit, it’s not always about command and control, sometimes it’s about empathy and informing themselves about what actually goes on in the real world.”
Suhrcke said, “Digital central bank money will come, [and] I agree with Jimmy, blockchain will come. It will take a bit long but it will come.”
Vaid commented, “The future will be invisible payments” similar to the Amazon Go store, where you can pay for your items without ever having to come in contact with a cashier.
For Nguyen, the future is “all in one.” He said, “I think the future is all in one functions, like how the smartphone did it all (email, web-browsing, messaging), I think digital wallets will turn into more than digital cash payment systems. [They will encompass] things like identity management and will roll many functions into one functioning digital wallet; giving individuals the ability to do things like order food on Uber Eats and maybe even acting as their passport one day at airports.”
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