i2c Inc. and PYMNTS.com collaborated on a recent report, The Cryptocurrency Payments Opportunity: Driving Crypto Adoption and Use Around the Globe, which examines how attitudes and perceptions of cryptocurrencies are changing worldwide. i2c’s president, Jim McCarthy, gives his take on a few questions around the crypto topic.
Be sure to download the report for even more insights about this exciting topic in the world of payments and fintech. The questions and answers below are referenced directly from the Executive Insight section of the report.
How are consumers’ and businesses’ perceptions of cryptocurrencies influencing developments in this space?
“Consumers’ and businesses’ perceptions of cryptocurrencies have evolved greatly over the last decade, from crypto-insider discussions to being something taken more seriously and tracked by financial companies and media to where we are today, which is actual discussions around dinner tables, businesses and boards.
Those discussions have a big influence on the development of the space, as businesses find themselves asking if they should accept it, mainstream businesses [are] asking if they should hold it on their balance sheets and major brands like PayPal, Square and Coinbase [are] making it easier for people to trade it and enjoy some of its underlying benefits beyond that of an asset.”
How is this important to cross-border payments? What are some of the benefits cryptocurrencies could provide to international firms looking to transact globally?
“That’s the big use case. If you ever needed to move money around the world, you learned quickly that it wasn‘t easy. And so, cryptocurrencies present several cross-border benefits to business – and, I‘d argue, consumers – with international interests [in terms of] money transmission.
Because it’s inherently a network-based asset, crypto moves more easily across borders in that you don‘t have to go through a myriad of correspondent banks to transfer value. It also removes a lot of the opaqueness that comes with moving money via traditional methods, where you‘re maybe less sure of when exactly it’s going to get there or often what it’s going to cost. Crypto changes that in big ways and will grow significantly as more people become comfortable with it as a means of money transmission and recognize its benefits.”
In what ways do you expect to see the cryptocurrency payments space change over the next few years, and what role do you expect central bank-backed currencies to play?
“From our vantage point, supporting millions of crypto-backed cards around the world over a single global platform, we‘re seeing tremendous innovation, growth and potential over the next few years.
However, that optimism is tempered by the view that, as crypto becomes more mainstream, it will bring with it more growing pains in the form of regulation, compliance and oversight from central banks [and] regulators. Central bank-backed currencies or monetary policies are just one example of how some of these entities will get involved.
All that added circumspection will likely bring with it some things that are not all good, but others that are probably not all bad either. A more level playing field in terms of protection for consumers and businesses and bringing people more efficiently into the formal digital economy are not bad things. But I think we can expect continued volatility until we can understand it all better.”