In 1999, Nobel Economy Prize recipient Milton Friedman spoke of the Internet and how it would be a significant force in reducing the role of government. “The one thing that is missing but will soon be developed is a reliable e-cash, a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without them knowing each other.”
In this context, the evolution of currencies or mediums of exchange is undoubtedly happening as Friedman predicted as physical forms of currencies gradually disappear into the ether, making way for new forms, such as cryptocurrencies.
From bartering to paying in cash and now...
Since approximately 5,000 B.C., humankind has gone through bartering, paying in cash, and now to digital forms of payments, such as credit and debit cards. Billions of people are banking on their smartphones through mobile apps. Still, too many more do not have access to bank accounts, which is why Electroneum is positioned as one of the leading cryptocurrencies to become widely adopted.
Already Electroneum has 3.8 million registered users, and as it continues its expansion and launches its global AnyTask freelance platform for beta testing before the end of 2019, this cryptocurrency aims to help mainstream adoption of ETN as well as other cryptos.
The FinTech alternative to banking
FinTech firms have arguably introduced the best alternatives to banking, and examples of this are Revolut, Monzo, and N26. These projects are perhaps a few of the most successful in this area. And this has happened thanks to the Internet, smartphones and apps. Billions of people never evolved from cash to cheques and then plastic and instead have directly moved on to mobile banking. Billions more will potentially make a similar transition circumventing the banks altogether. However, for now, the only cryptocurrency offering this possibility is Electroneum.
The same has already happened with technology, for instance, as developing countries have rolled out fibre optic cables instead of copper cables. They have also launched 4G networks without first having gone through 3G.
“In recent years, traditional banks have been losing customers to smaller, newer and slicker startups,” wrote Charlie Barton on Finder. “Years of miserable savings, poor customer service, and clunky online interfaces have seen many turning to apps like Revolut or Monzo.” These apps offer features like fee-free spending abroad, tabs on spending, and instant interaction with your account. However, you still need a bank account to use these apps.
Bypassing banks altogether
Electroneum is potentially the only cryptocurrency that has gone a step beyond these apps by entirely bypassing the need for a bank account. Its users are currently receiving up to US$3 in ETN via the Electroneum mobile app that they can immediately use to purchase mobile top-ups, everyday items at participating shops as well as taxi rides and carwashes. Electroneum is also a very efficient instant global payments provider. Electroneum users can send each other ETN at no cost in a matter of seconds.
The growth of Electroneum acceptance and use stands to increase exponentially in 2020 when the full launch of their AnyTask freelancer platform and free online TaskSchool take place. Already, more and more shops are announcing they accept ETN via Electroneum’s Twitter account, where stores, service providers, and even dentists have announced they’ve joined the community.
Currently, 1.7 billion people are unbanked, which means they also have no access to the global digital economy. Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelance.com, for example, require users to have a bank account to purchase or sell gigs.
Crypto and economic crises
Cryptocurrencies are making their way faster into developing countries going through economic crises and where there are higher numbers of unbanked, such as Turkey, Venezuela, Argentina, Iran, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Indonesia.
Electroneum has developed a way for those selling their skills with at least a smartphone to get paid in ETN, which they will be able to use locally for payment of mobile top-ups, purchase of basic staples, such as milk, bread, sugar, eggs, and other items. The way it works is straightforward. Those interested in buying digital freelance tasks on AnyTask will be able to pay for these with credit or debit cards. The seller seamlessly receives the payment in ETN with no fees to them.
Communication or messaging on the app for people that speak different languages will also be seamless. That is because Electroneum has developed an automated translation system whereby a buyer that speaks English and wants to purchase a gig from a seller in Latin America, for example, will not require knowledge of Spanish or the other 20 languages supported on the platform.
Merchants using Electroneum
As local merchants in developing countries see a rise in the use of cryptocurrency and they cleary see the benefits of signing up to receive payments in ETN, the global list of merchants using Electroneum will increase. Already, thousands of merchants around the world are receiving ETN as payment.
And thus, instantly, billions of people will have access to the global digital economy and an opportunity to earn more and spend it locally, bringing prosperity to them, their families, and their localities.
As we see Friedman's prediction coming through, cryptocurrencies emerge as the natural evolution of money as long as they focus on giving users a real world utility,
Part 4: The evolution of payments