The global financial crash in 2007 was the catalyst for the creation of Bitcoin. Designed to provide a decentralized way in which people can manage their own money, digital currencies slowly infiltrated the greater financial markets.
Almost a decade later, crypto adoption is at its highest and for the first time challenging traditional financial institutions and their product range. So, which is better? Let's explore the pros and cons of each category.
Blockchain technology has seen an incredible increase in interest in the last few years. While it provides a universal backbone relevant to almost any industry, it has also brought the world cryptocurrencies, NFTs, decentralized finance (DeFi) and other digital assets.
Tackling existing centralized monetary challenges, blockchain technology and digital currencies are two of the greatest inventions of the 21st century.
Digital Currency Versus Banking
Cryptocurrencies are decentralized digital currencies that can be used to exchange goods and services as well as a store of value. They're typically acquired through crypto exchanges and kept in secure crypto wallets. These virtual currencies are autonomous, operate in a secure manner with little human interaction, and are increasingly considered the future of finance.
The predominant financial systems in the world are currently banks. They provide financial services to those that meet their requirements, including loans, savings, and other financial services.
However, unlike cryptocurrencies, they have several problems core to them being centralized and susceptible to biases. They're also slower than cryptos, and some of them charge exorbitant interest rates on loans as well as routine purchases.
The Pros and Cons of the Banking System vs Digital Currencies
There has been little development in the banking sector in the last several decades, so while the products are useful there has been very little innovation in the space. Below we outline the current challenges that the traditional systems face when compared to the advantages of a digital currency.
Banks are notorious for requiring lengthy paperwork and in-depth background checks. They are also known to provide different products and limits to different groups of people, including payment durations, soft loans, limits, etc.
When creating the digital currency Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto wanted to counteract this financial inclusivity pertaining to fiat currencies and the greater financial system and instead provide a financial product available to all. Cryptocurrencies, therefore, do not require any paperwork or identification to operate or open a digital wallet.
While buying digital assets on an exchange will require personal information, they do not require any background checks or credit scores. Unlike in the traditional financial system, engaging in crypto markets is also not exclusive to location, allowing anyone from any corner of the globe to immediately access the digital payment systems.
Banking institutions operate within certain hours and are closed on weekends, meaning that transactions can sometimes take days to clear. They will also typically require an in-person authentication for very large transactions, and affect the remittance markets in the global financial system.
Cryptocurrencies on the other hand operate 24/7 (even on public holidays) as they are maintained by members all around the world. Cryptocurrencies provide zero downtime with unlimited amounts and do not require third-party authentication before making transactions. One digital currency can send value to the other side of the world in minutes, requiring no in-person authentication.
The banking industry, particularly online systems, are susceptible to being hacked, alongside fraudulent activities and money embezzlement. While this is not always the direct fault of the central bank or financial institutions, it has become a common problem as ill actors have learned how to navigate the security systems and trick the owners of these accounts.
Through the use of blockchain technology, transactions cannot be intercepted or reversed, and are handled in a peer-to-peer nature ensuring that they do not go through a third party for authentication and require minimal human interference.
Fees and Transaction Times
During transaction periods, banks often add on extra costs and taxes. When sending and receiving money, banks frequently charge very high transaction fees and taxes, especially when conducting international remittances. These transactions also take a long time to clear due to their sluggish procedures, especially for large amounts of cash.
Cryptocurrencies provide an excellent solution to the remittance markets as they provide fast and cheap transactions. Blockchain technology ensures that they clear in several minutes (depending on the cryptocurrency and the network’s congestion at the time) and that they are sent directly to the recipient’s wallet (as opposed to waiting for the receiving bank to clear the transaction).
While little in the line of diversification is offered through traditional banking services as most banks have very competitive pricing, cryptocurrencies provide users with the opportunity to use several products are once. Investing in a number of cryptocurrencies not only allows users to reap the rewards of several networks but also to build more risk diverse investment portfolios.
Another advantage that blockchain currently holds over traditional banking systems is the use of smart contracts. Smart contracts are digital agreements that automatically execute once predetermined criteria have been met. Leveraging smart contracts in the financial services industry offers a seamless and entirely decentralized approach to modern banking.
Which Is Better: The Central Bank or Digital Assets?
While both have their advantages: banking systems are entirely ingrained in modern society and cryptocurrencies offer way more innovative use cases; it is hard to choose just one. Currently, these two financial systems work perfectly alongside each other.
Why not use both? Tap offers the perfect solution to merging the best of both worlds through an innovative alt-banking mobile app. Through the app, users can load both fiat and cryptocurrencies into their unique, secure digital wallets and use both interchangeably to pay bills, send money to friends, and even earn interest. Get the best of both worlds by enjoying the benefits of both the traditional banking systems and cryptocurrencies.