(4 minutes reading time)
Picking up the glove I threw in front of myself in my previous post on Clinkle to describe “the contours of the ultimate payment method” I quickly realized that you have to consider various degrees of “ultimate”:
- The marketing type/hype of “ultimate”;
- Todays “best practice” solutions;
- The maximum achievable today under real world conditions and available knowledge;
- The maximum achievable in the middle term, say 3-5 years from now based on foreseen technological advances and adoption and penetration of the connected society;
- “Revolutionary”, as in disruptive innovation; new combinations, new technology and at this point in time unforeseen breakthroughs which would disrupts existing equilibrium/legacy;
- “Utopia” the conceptually ideal solution where payments are optimally facilitating the collaborative society.
To me payments are part of the societal fabric and 1:1 linked to the ability to live together creating prosperity for as much people as possible in a society based on specialization. I consider payments one of the main and most far reaching collaborability mechanisms available to us, and hence able to create and contribute to prosperity more then many other (technical) advancements. In my opinion, we as a society should strive to realize the best possible payment method(s) and try to come as close as humanly (and technologically) possible to the ideal payment method(s). (NB How this is to be done best is NOT the subject of this post.)
From earlier article at RPD: Money and Payments are Essential Part of Human Collaboration:
The effectiveness of a currency (or payments) has to do with being frictionless, with the lowest amount of transaction cost, with the widest inclusion and safety and being highly democratic. The more efficient our money (as expressed in currencies and in payments as there logistical facilitator) becomes the better it is for the efficiency and effectiveness of our means to collaborate. NB Currencies and payments can be judged against this measure.
How would an ideal payments method look like from a society point of view? Even though payment innovations are best served by private initiatives I am convinced that payments can not be regarded as just a “private service”. Of course people can and therefore will differ on the contours of the ultimate payment method; I am only suggesting my humble opinion here.
My first take on the “Utopia Wallet”:
- Available to all: for “haves” AND “have-nots”, the “banked” AND the “unbanked” to enable maximum “inclusion”;
- Usable by all: for young and old to get and keep everybody on board; usable by the non-literate, and the visually impaired.
- “Unified payments”: One solution to solve payments fragmentation. Utopia Wallet can do transactions with legacy payment schemes, Only one of the two parties involved – payer or payee – needs to have the Utopia Wallet. (i.e. hooking up to existing scheme’s, next to the default possibility to have Utopia Wallet to Utopia Wallet transactions.)
- Every wallet can act in payer mode and in payee mode (terminal function).
- Basic merchant terminal functionality so everybody could act as a merchant; Offering bills/receipt presentment, possibilities for integration with back office to exchange transaction information.
- “Bank in your pocket”: Utopia Wallet can serve as a full account securely holding the value(s) if wanted or needed (e.g. the “unbanked” if no banking infrastructure is available to the wallet owner)
- Single purse: in case of pre paid a single – shared – purse storing value to provide for various accounts at merchants and other service providers anywhere.
- Real Time (instant transactions between Payer and Payee)
- Global reach: all can reach all; Cross border use
- Online as well as off line use
- Democratic governance,
- Formal payment scheme.
- Country specific profiles to have Utopia Wallet fit into national regulations. (Even in Utopia you have to obey the nation state’s regulations to be allowed to function)
- Open source with standards body
- Direct P2P exchange without 3d party involvement. (i.e. Utopia Wallet to Utopia Wallet)
- Utopia Wallet to legacy schemes (e.g. Universal access to Pos terminals from various schemes)
- Legacy schemes to Utopia Wallet
- Every fiat currency: instant conversion for stored value as well as for transactions, store it in renminbi but pay in zloty for you borjst in Gdansk? Use your Utopia Wallet!
- Crypto currencies: Bitcoin and the like…
- Payer/Payee pseudonymous to hold the wallet when desired. Unique bitcoin like wallet adress: 1:1 alias with mobile phone number, email address or bankaccount (unique number at global level) possible
- Transaction anonymity between Payer and Payee when desired,
- Biometric authentication payer for transactions (e.g. voice sound, iris, fingerprint authentication, heartrhythm)
- No use of transaction information other then for the transaction it self.
- No hardware dependency (as in no smartphone ownership necessity, circumventing the use of a secure element on a chip)
- Possibilities to connect to back end (to connect to legacy banks, card companies etc)
- P2P free: no transaction cost between payer and payee,
- No transaction value dependent tariffs.
- Multiple wallet providers; (not under the control of a few commercial companies)
- Wallet account portability;
- While P2P transactions are free providers of services can tariff services (Storing, exchange, integration etc). e.g. If payee decides to not store value in wallet and immediately passes it on to “storer” then payee tariffed (or rewarded) by “storer”.
Integration with legacy:
- Ability to link to multiple financial card and or bank accounts, (e.g. via Payment account access Services)
- Ability to instantly transfer value between wallet account and the linked accounts
Ok, above is listed my first brain dump on the contours of my “Utopian Wallet”. Lets now start thinking about the “Ultimate Wallet” (degree 3, see above) – what should Clinkle at least be if it is to fulfill its promise – as we could have it today and see what can be checked off from above list. This will be addressed in part 3 of the mini series.
NB When ever I think of new elements relevant for the “Utopian Wallet” I’ll update above list.