Fast Money, Faster Disruption – Bitcoin ATMs and Other Solutions to Bank the Unbanked
So much disruptive technology, so little time to adapt – for those who do adapt, there is great potential for growth. Commerce, including functions traditionally served by banks, is moving at the speed of the internet. It is social, it is decentralized, and it is instantaneous (or as near to instantaneous as it can be.)
Investor and internet visionary David Walsh Bronxville compare this fintech disruption to what happened in Wall Street in the 1990s, when electronic trading first appeared. Large organizations and traders already holding coveted positions on the trading floor were slow to adapt, while new companies that leveraged this new trading paradigm experienced incredible growth.
The Bitcoin ATM, which lets customers buy Bitcoin with dollars (and sometimes exchange Bitcoin for cash,) is seeing accelerating growth. The number of new Bitcoin ATM installations grew over 85% in 2020, after a 50% rise in 2019. As BTC price growth continues to outpace the market, cryptocurrencies, in general, are becoming more widely adopted. There is amazing growth potential for those who know how to leverage this opportunity.
Online banks, which serve customers entirely over the internet and do not have physical branch locations, have seen incredible growth. By keeping costs low, they offer customers lower fees and higher interest rates than those typically offered to entry-level customers. The largest of these, Chime, is now among the top ten banks in the United States when listed by the number of customers who consider it their primary bank. Yet in a recent study, only 20 percent of bank executives considered online banks to be a threat to their position in the market.
Some online banks allow instant payments between customers at the same bank, rivaling the function of stand-alone payment apps like Cash App, Venmo, or Zelle and further decentralizing payments in the social economy. Similar to the 1990s adoption of online trading, it is agile, small companies and their customers who adapt first, while larger companies may not yet even see what is coming.