While the idea of payments seems fairly set in stone and unchanging, the past few decades have seen a major evolution of money, and it may be that we are on the cusp of another one.
It used to be that cash was king until digital payments in the form of debit and credit cards became popular. These have become so popular that countries like Sweden are trying to phase out fiat currency.
Still, while this evolution is on-going, and has become totally normalized, we also face the evolution of cryptocurrencies, and yet, these forms of blockchain payments are facing the same hardships that cards and digital payments faced when they first arrived on the scene.
the former Minister of Economy and Finance Giulio Tremonti, during the Code4Future conference, spoke about the future of digital payments and how the advent of cryptocurrencies could change the entire game.
“Banks may be caught off-guard by fintech activities. An alliance between traditional banks and new digital industries is essential. A structure that incorporates new techniques but maintains old values,” he said
One of the major factors to be discussed was trust, and how the banking system demands it without giving very much back – and this is being noted by users more and more.
“How can we recover this trust? The idea is to integrate the new with the old in order to write a different history than that of the banks. The idea of trust in central bodies has been present in our reality for a very long time. Just think of what is written on the notes of the Weimar Republic, as reported by Goethe: ‘trust me, believe in me,’” he added.
Another interesting point that the minister brought up, which showed the battle that is ranging between fintech innovation and a desire not to change too much, was Facebook’s Libra project.
“There will be a transition from old coins to new coins. I believe this to be the case, but I can’t tell you when. I think your children will see a world in which currency will be created differently,” he said in relation to Libra.
“In the near future, citizens will sell portions of their sovereignty to top players like Facebook. Because if it is an over-the-top system, we believe that by providing a portion of our identity, we are doing the right thing, because they offer something in return. And so what they have becomes true, and what you have becomes false,” Tremonti concluded.