I’m a fan. Not necessarily of rugby. But of moments, events or innovations that shake the status quo, and rock a fraternity to its core. On the 19th September 2015, in their opening match, the Japanese Brave Blossoms achieved just that. In what was touted as a cannon fodder game for the ‘mighty’ Springboks from South Africa, the Blossoms put on an epic performance. A performance that resulted in a last-moment victory against the two-time Rugby World Cup winners.
Their unrelenting tenacity throughout the match and subsequent triumph represented a critical turning point for Japanese rugby. It’s not to say that a single win cements Japan as favourites for lifting the Ellis Webb trophy (after all, they received a thumping from Scotland in their second match of the campaign), but rather a firm reminder that you shouldn’t underestimate the ability of an ‘underdog’ to disrupt an established system. And so, this brings me to bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a bit like the Brave Blossoms of the financial world. Regarded, by some, as somewhat of a non-opponent, not to be feared nor concerned about. One that doesn’t hold capacity to rattle dominant players or uproot an entrenched financial system. Here’s why those who hold such a view of bitcoin should reconsider.
No central authority owns, manages, oversees or profits from Bitcoin. No business nor individual can control Bitcoin. This has impact because:
Access to modern banking and financial institutions requires a great deal of paperwork, administration and identification. And while this isn’t necessarily an overwhelming problem for those of us based in developed countries, it’s still a hassle, isn’t it? Documentation, proof of address, employment and income, etc. all needs to be collected and verified to transact with traditional financial organisations. In order to open and use a bitcoin wallet, the only requirement is your email address.
Unlike traditional banking or payments, bitcoin transactions are processed for a fee based on the data transferred as opposed to the value. This means that in most cases, a bitcoin payment can be effected for less than a 3rd of a penny, whether you’re moving GBP1 or GBP1,000,000.
This has particular appeal for those moving money across international borders, where traditional payment processors like Western Union or MoneyGram charge up to 30% of the total value of your transaction.
Theoretically speaking, Japan shouldn’t have beaten South Africa. But they did. They may not walk away with the grand title, but they sure have proven that they deserve a place amongst the contenders and that no dominant team should take a win for granted. Food for thought about a little-known, widely ‘written-off’ player called Bitcoin that exposes, addresses, and solves for the ‘tactical’ weaknesses of the existing financial market, and is ready to tackle them head-on!