On Sept. 9, I facilitated a Twitter discussion focused on the potential of Bitcoin and crypto currencies in emerging markets. Some highlights from the discussion include the following:
To start we looked at the conditions in emerging markets
- Cash is still dominate and typical represents 80% of transactions.
- There are large unbanked or underbanked populations
- Those who can afford it the least, pay the most for banking services like remittances, bill pay. The cost is time, travel, and fees.
- Banks are much better at serving the elite then the mass market.
Many products and services that scale well in developed markets struggle in emerging markets for a number of reasons including cost models do not fit. Bottom line – traditional banking and payment solutions have not scaled to meet the needs of most people and many businesses in emerging markets.
Emerging markets are already engaging in Bitcoin. @carolrealini – 71% of XBT trades in last 30 days are Chinese trades #realinichat.
So the chat moved quickly to discuss the potential of Bitcoin in emerging markets. Most participants were Bitcoin enthusiast although David Birch pointed out his position @dgwbirch are you a BTC believer yet #realinichat <- no I am a blockchain believer.
@boylinto commented “Bitcoin is THE way to engage EMs and sidestep the high fixed cost of legacy banking. coinde.sk/1w84c2m @carolrealini”. So the conversation launched into how Bitcoin could impact and grow in emerging markets – interestingly it was less about if and more about how and when.
One participate Anita Kulp @qnefertiti was working in Cameroun on social security benefits to independent workers, which represent over 50% of the country’s informal workers. These payments will be distributed via the Caisse National de Prevoyance Sociale (CNPS). The expansion of this program will help a considerable number of citizens achieve financial inclusion. @qnefertiti We were going to look at WU because of their infrastructure but I know using BTC is a better option.
The group concluded with a discussion of how the Bitcoin community can support financial inclusion goals in emerging markets. Pavel Bains commented @pavelbains “Don’t look at is as an “us” vs “them” stance. It’s a “we” for the betterment of all.”
Furthermore, I encourage everyone to review the podcast that David Birch recommended during the chat. You can listen in on a conversation between the staff at Consult Hyperion and Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO of BitPesa, wherein they discuss the process of entrepreneurship and the effect of crypto currencies on the international marketplace.
One last thing I want to mention is that “Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pyramid” is coming out this fall. In the book, Karl Mehta and myself discuss the many ways innovation can be leveraged to create a financially inclusive global economy. We talk about Bitcoin and other innovative projects around the world. We are very proud of the work we put into this project, and we hope the ideas and recommendations throughout its pages can truly change the world.
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