Question of the day (III)

Let’s be honest; if a long time senior payments professional asks the title question after you have spend an hour explaining the significance of the developments in crypto currency for payments in general and payments processing in particular it can only be seen as a very sceptical question. “Thanks for coming, but good bye!”

True, I could weigh in the fact that my counterpart had not shown any knowledge or awareness on the developments in crypto currency and the protocols behind it and the potential relevance for his industry during our meeting. I could then easily dismiss it as ignorance on his part.

Or I could weigh in the fact that 10 years after I did advocate the convergence of the giro and card payment flows – due to the tokanisation of giro payments – and hence the convergence of the processing. On top of that and at the same time I postulated the idea “payments” should be considered as being the “transfer of property rights” to shed the myopic view held by the payments industry. Both facts have not materialized in any significant manner (yet).

Even disruptive and revolutionary changes take many years – the internet took 20 years to what it is today – to have significant impact on the way we collaborate. How long will it take to see a significant effect on our way we collaborate due to the transaction layer – with Ripple as an example – on top of TCP/IP, HTTP and SMTP? I could have embraced the „during your lifetime” question as a “reality check” well meant – even though it was pretty clear that there was a serious disconnect between us.

To me as a professional this is an important question… especially for (potential) clients in the payments industry for it bodes a future with principles and practices much different then today’s. It is part of the „Software is eating the world” mega trend.

What impact(s) could it have? How to make use of it offensively and how to take up defensive positions if need be for an industry or for a specific company? How to explain it to „lay man” in a way that they recognize the opportunity and the threats in a constructive manner: i.e. to at least start thinking about it?

I have been exploring collaborability as a way to understand the dynamics of the changes to our societies and economies. I have spend many posts here at RPD about the transition of payments to explore it more closely. Much of the answers I already have available right here at RPD.

I have been pondering the „during your lifetime” question more then I expected though. It stung like a wasp, actually. This is about my core business! I should be able to translate the new and take my customers by the hand and create viable and realistic strategies for them. I should be able to translate this in real business opportunities and realize them via business development.

At least I have a nice professional challenge in front of me….

As a matter of fact: yes I do think the Bitcoin protocol will disruptively change our societies during my/our life time (considering normal life expectancy tables). We as humans are so adaptable that many will hardly notice though…

NB “Question of the Day”: Typically I will address questions – and my take on the answers – raised in conversations I have which could be of interest for others as well. For all questions of the day so far go here.

UPDATE 25 September 2014

via <a href=”″>Finextra: Ripple signs first two US banks</a>.

Suresh Ramamurthi, chairman and CTO of CBW Bank:

“Today’s banks offer the equivalent of 300-year-old paper ledgers converted to an electronic form a digital skin on an antiquated transaction process. Ripple addresses the structural problem of payments as IP-based settlement infrastructure that powers the exchange of any types of value.”

Update 19 nov 2014: I have tried to get on the ripple network myself a few times unsuccessfully in the mean time as buying the initial ripples proved a hurdle to high for me… But good to hear Ripple is used for serious payment solutions:

via Finextra: RBS embraces crypto-currencies in hackathon challenge.

A team from RBS took top honors at the Deloitte Digital #GoneHacking capital markets hackathon on Friday with a trading platform that utilises the Ripple protocol to handle integration with crypto-currencies.