Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are set to revolutionize how people pay for goods and services and move money around the world, according to Nicolas Carey, co-founder and President of Blockchain, one of the world’s leading digital wallet and software providers.
Speaking on the second day of the World Government Summit, being held in Dubai, Carey described cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, as digital currencies that are exchanged over the internet and primarily used outside existing banking and governmental institutions.
"There is a great deal of talk about financial inclusion, but there are 2.5 billion people on Earth who do not have access to a bank account," Carey said. "Even in the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, 20.1 per cent of households are under banked and 33 per cent of millennials do not expect to have a bank account in the next five years. If you combine all these people together, with everyone who has access to the internet over smartphones, you can see the potential for cryptocurrencies.
"Digital is part of everyone’s DNA. Digital money is a natural extension to the digital world. It offers frictionless and borderless transactions that are more open and more equal."
More than $1 billion has been invested in Bitcoin technology, which Carey described as the largest distributive computing project in the world. Bitcoin, he said, is also a transaction network that offers an alternative currency, a trusted ledger that can track transactions and chain of title and settlement with a high degree of certainty, all key requirements of a trusted currency.
In 2010 the first Bitcoin transaction took place when 10,000 Bitcoins were used to buy two pizzas. At today’s exchange rate, Carey said, the two pizzas would be worth $5 million, making them the world’s most expensive pizzas.
According to Carey, cryptocurrencies will open up a new world of possibilities that impact people’s everyday lives. He gave as examples refrigerators fitted with a Bitcoin wallet that can order and pay for groceries; people in countries with collapsing currencies using a cryptocurrency to protect the value of their money, or as a hedge against corruption. He also envisaged cryptocurrencies being used by people at risk of missing a flight, or being late for a meeting, paying their autonomous, driverless car with digital money to negotiate with other driverless cars around it to get out of the way.
Other future developments could include using cryptocurrency platforms being used for ID management, asset tracking, supply chain monitoring, payment rails and smart contracts.