MOST NOD-AND-PRE­TEND-YOU-UN­DER­STAND QUES­TION OF THE MONTH

“cen­tral banks want to con­trol crypto cur­ren­cies, but how can they reg­u­late when cryp­tos are a de­cen­tralised pro­to­col based on mu­tual au­to­mated con­sen­sus be­tween two clients?”

Esquire (Malaysia) - - THIS WAY IN - Words by Joseph Oon

—Eric Alexan­dre, founder of the Jet­coin In­sti­tute

CCon­stantly liv­ing in fear of thieves crack­ing the code of your mul­ti­com­bi­na­tion safe isn’t worth the sleep­less nights, and the re­cent 1MDB scan­dal has taught us that no money is un­trace­able, be it stashed in the Cay­man Is­lands or underground vaults in Geneva. Un­less you’re a busi­ness­man from China, who prefers to strap ban­knotes to your body, it’s time to ditch pa­per notes and me­tal coins in favour of more ad­vanced pay­ment meth­ods like the rest of the world.

Take Hong Kong, which is fa­mous for its om­nipresent smart pay­ment sys­tem, Oc­to­pus. This su­per-con­ve­nient card is so in­dis­pen­si­ble that 99 per­cent of Hong Kongers own one, as it al­lows pay­ments for pub­lic trans­port, park­ing, meals in restau­rants, re­tail and gro­cery shop­ping, and even gives its holder ac­cess to res­i­den­tial and of­fice build­ings.

Swe­den, on the other hand, is pre­dicted to be­come a cash-free so­ci­ety by 2030. Four out of five Swedes make their pur­chases via elec­tronic pay­ment: fruit and veg­etable street ven­dors, and even Sit­u­a­tion Stock­holm, a street news­pa­per sold by home­less peo­ple in the cap­i­tal city, ac­cept elec­tronic pay­ments and cards. Hav­ing said that, the fu­ture of money doesn’t mean the death of tra­di­tional cur­ren­cies, but rather, their evo­lu­tion into a more ef­fi­cient, cost-sav­ing form within a dig­i­tal space.

Crypto cur­ren­cies are com­ple­men­tary to the tra­di­tional bank­ing sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to Eric Alexan­dre, cre­ator of Jet­coin In­sti­tute and a reg­u­lar speaker at In­side Bit­coin con­fer­ences around the world. “Cryp­tos en­able data trans­ac­tions to be trans­ferred at the speed of light at a frac­tion of the cost, which will en­cour­age mass adop­tion. In fact, banks have al­ready adopted dig­i­tal tech in their on­line trans­ac­tions, al­beit a to­tally cen­tralised sys­tem,” he ex­plains. “Due to cryp­tos’ de­cen­tralised na­ture, en­trepreneurs will be able to in­vent new so­lu­tions and share them with the world in full trans­parency, where ev­ery trans­ac­tion is writ­ten, and hence, trace­able though en­crypted.”

Be­sides that, cryp­tos can be con­verted to any tra­di­tional cur­rency as long as an ex­change or pay­ment pro­ces­sor is will­ing to do the trans­ac­tion; thus, when im­bal­ances in the fi­nan­cial sys­tem oc­cur, cryp­tos will act as a coun­ter­bal­ance to keep the sys­tem healthy. Banks will also re­turn to their orig­i­nal func­tions, where they keep the keys to our dig­i­tal wal­lets safe, with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of spec­u­lat­ing what’s in­side with­out us know­ing, Alexan­dre adds.

How­ever, the age of al­ter­na­tive cur­ren­cies will take awhile to land; so as of now, em­brace the even­tu­al­ity of a world dom­i­nated by mo­bile pay­ments. Var­i­ous brands, com­pa­nies and banks are hop­ping on the band­wagon of mo­bile pay­ments, such as Mcdon­ald’s, Sub­way, Nike, Bank of Amer­ica and even ho­tel con­glom­er­ate Mar­riott. Ap­ple Pay now works in 700,000 lo­ca­tions in the US and has plans to launch in Europe and China soon.

Gone are the days of wait­ing in line for change, as it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore the waves of ex­pan­sion hit our shores too. Buckle up and brace your­selves to be fast-for­warded to a world where all our fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions are com­pleted in swipes and taps in the blink of an eye.

You’re prob­a­bly at a cross­roads: to in­vest in for­eign cur­ren­cies, ex­change your bank notes for vir­tual wealth, or get that lat­est Galaxy S6 equipped with NFC? We’re aware of the cau­tious spend­ing na­ture of Malaysians, so here are some fore­sights to help twist your im­pend­ing fi­nan­cial fate around. 2020 Malaysia is still plagued with five-cent coins, and it’s com­mon to see peo­ple lug­ging around piggy banks. 2050 Cryp­tos be­come less volatile, and sud­denly ev­ery­one is a daredevil risk-taker. 2100 The global mar­ket crashes be­cause it’s too sat­u­rated with tra­di­tional cur­ren­cies, cryp­tos and gold. 2169 Ba­bies are born with ge­net­i­cally engineered clocks in their fore­arms. Watch In Time star­ring Justin Tim­ber­lake for a glimpse of our fu­ture.

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