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Here are some examples: Here are the key points made by proponents, usually taken at face value. What is common about these articles is seemingly absolute lack of a field research or basic customer surveys.
For example, there are monthly government reports that analyze consumer complaints about providers of financial services. Reading such report for the US market, there are relatively few complaints about money transfers and most of those are centered around fraud, not exactly a strong suit of Bitcoin with its embedded anonymity: It is not because low-income senders are lacking infrastructure.
BUT they are sticking with a cash agent, and, as the result, are paying times more for sending money home.
This is not unique to remittances. Such slow adoption is actually quite typical for other types of financial transactions: Instead of simply acknowledging that these startups are primarily founded to make money and accumulate market power, we are asked to believe in their higher calling.
Not surprisingly, such articles are always missing two critical components which would make those claims believable: This argument is misinformed on both the sending and receiving ends of a money transfer transaction. Consumers who send cash are usually satisfied with their experience: On the receiving end of remittances, being unbanked is not a significant inconvenience or cost issue.
There will always be pockets of consumers who live in extremely remote areas, but reaching them with an advanced technology in a cost effective way is simply unrealistic at this point more on that later.
There is virtually no advantage between receiving money into a bank account vs. Many of the original Bitcoin remittances startups were founded before by people without a cross-border expertise who did not know these facts and had a sincere hope to help unbanked with remittances.
They will be just fine. Even if Fintech, Bitcoin, Blockchain, Mobile Money, Big Data or all digital innovations combined disappear tomorrow, the old technology has been sufficient in eliminating poverty: Regular cross-border money transfer is already evolving to a real-time payment. They have developed a better risk management and bank connectivity, and other providers will eventually catch up.
With other providers, consumers could get an instant transfers if they are is willing to pay a bit more for using a debit card.
Why does a bank transfer takes days while a debit card is instant? Because instead of using a private rail of Visa and MasterCard, banks had to rely on outdated government networks which could take few days to confirm a transfer.
But not for long. Australia, UK and few other countries already implemented near-real-time payments capability. Similar implementations in other countries, such as USA and Canada, are already under way, with most developed countries expecting to launch near-real-time rails by So any speed advantage of Bitcoin-blockchain is being eliminated, plus a transfer via Bitcoin-blockchain carries an FX conversion disadvantage, a double-whammy: The spreads are so high that even die-hard Bitcoin players are using non-blockchain rails to complete transfers for those destinations.
Here is ZipZap in this interview to CoinDesk: Not understanding why so many senders continue spending times more while having a bank account and a smartphone will likely lead to many disappointments for Bitcoin money transfer startups and their investors down the road read our analysis of fundamental difference in behavior of senders from USA to India vs.
Here is Chris Skinner on a Breaking Banks podcast starts at So why are we seeing so many articles about high costs of sending money internationally? Because it was the case in the past, and it is hard to change our mindset to a fundamentally different input.
Most experts claim that it is due to two issues, de-risking by banks and exclusive partnership with retailers by Western Union and MoneyGram: This has posed a major challenge to the provision and cost of remittance services to certain regions.
But hiding behind a small font is a misleading comparison between sending money with a popular, easily verifiable fiat-to-fiat method and a transaction originated in Bitcoin with no mention of a Bitcoin-to-fiat spread.
On top of that spread, Bitcoin providers are charging increasingly higher fees source here: The fee volatility got so bad that in OctoberBitspark, one of the more prominent B2B providers of Bitcoin money transfers, switch away to another blockchain. Nope, it is even more expensive:The Trip / Spring Guided Imagery This is a technique similar to narrative pantomime, but simultaneously simpler and more sophisticated.
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