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The dark side of Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency

2 minutes, 29 seconds read

What is Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency?

“Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is managed by using one of the most advanced encryption techniques called cryptography to secure its transactions. Bitcoin was the first decentralized cryptocurrency that was created in 2009.”

Bitcoin is crushing the markets with its high evaluations and a lot of interest from general people. It is not the only one, there are now a plethora of cryptocurrencies that people trade in the not so traditional market place. In fact, there are exclusive platforms, especially for trading cryptocurrencies. There is overall a general excitement about the whole cryptocurrency industry if you will categorize it so. 

While these are highly secure transactions, there is a darker side to the whole story as well. This is without even looking at the rapid fluctuations in the pricing of bitcoins or how many new forms they are coming in. We are listing some of the forbidden or undiscovered factors that may not be great for the general acceptance of bitcoins/cryptocurrencies.

1. Inefficient for retail

The cryptocurrency transactions rely on blockchain technology which is a mutual agreement-based system. The blockchain technology involves sharing, updating, and validating ledgers (contracts) at multiple places, making the system very slow for retail transactions. In such scenarios, cash and cards are much faster.

[Related – What is blockchain technology?]

2. Lack of market regulations

Currently, there are no legit market regulations for trading cryptocurrencies. Even the governments are skeptical about the viability of bitcoins. Therefore no government-regulated financial institutions support the transaction of cryptocurrencies (e.g. encashing). Moreover, because of a lack of regulations, cryptocurrencies are extremely difficult to track and that’s why people often use it for dark trading. Thus, bitcoins are prone to bring financial chaos if all transactions are beyond the control of regulators.

[Related: Does Smart Contracts work for India Inc.?]

3. Power inefficiency

Mining cryptocurrency consumes a lot of electricity and it may take nearly 25% of the miner’s revenue. Unless we have renewable sources of energy, it’s really not worth it. For instance, mining bitcoins in India takes almost INR 180000 worth of electricity. So, if the Indian economy were to run completely on bitcoins, all of the world’s electricity will not be sufficient to support the transactions.

4. Parallel Economy

When you can’t track the money, people start leveraging it for illegal transactions. Using it on the Dark Web, Money Laundering, ransom demands are just a few of those use cases. 

The fact is — these problems are similar to the ones we have with the cash economy. If the problem remains (or aggravates), then there is no point in opting for digital currency.

[Related: How Forex Trading Is Going To Be Affected By Cryptocurrency?]

Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency: Should you go for it or not?

We’re not the naysayers. Blockchain is a great technology and is indeed useful for financial transactions. However, it does not target day-to-day transactions. There are several higher-level applications of blockchain viz. Insurance, supply-chain, data transfer, etc. for which the technology is proving fruitful. 

About the author: Kumar Sambhav is the CTO at Mantra Labs. He is a pro in Business Processes, Requirements Analysis and Agile Methodologies. He always enjoys exploring trending technologies – be it cloud computing, blockchain, artificial intelligence, AR or VR.

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Open Finance: Reality or Hype?

3 minutes read

Open Banking has reshaped the fintech industry. Customers want a seamless experience with more convenient and flexible access to services. Technological innovation and digital transformation have led to the emergence of neobanks which offer a banking experience similar to delivery apps. Now the customers can avail of services like opening an account in minutes. In the last few years, another new concept- Open Finance has joined the queue. What exactly is open finance? Is it just hype or reality? And how open finance might improve customer experience (CX). These are some of the questions that we’re going to talk about in this blog. 

Open Banking

In open banking, banks and other financial institutions allow third-party financial service providers to access the bank’s customers’ data via APIs (application programming interfaces). This helps banks to create more personalized offerings and meet the changing needs of their customers.

What is Open Finance?

Open Banking and Open Finance are similar. However, Open Finance is slightly more advanced in the process. Simply put, it is the next step in open banking. 

Open Finance is a more customer-centric approach. It gives users a safe and dependable way to share their data with the financial tools and apps they prefer to use.

How is Open Finance different from Open Banking?

How is Open Finance different from Open Banking?

Source: Accenture

Open Banking has certain limitations when it comes to sharing of financial data. Here, only that data can be shared which is related to financial operations made within the bank’s app or in a branch office. Open finance goes beyond this limitation.

In Open Finance, non-banking financial data including mortgages, savings, pensions, insurance, and consumer credit – basically your entire financial footprint – could be opened up to trusted third-party APIs if you agree.

Open finance will help open new gateways for financial institutions to improve CX. Let’s dig deeper to understand how this concept will change CX in the Fintech world for the next-Gen customers. 

  1. 360-degree Customer Insights: Data acts as a tool to study deeply about your customers. Organizations can analyze the customer data and extract some valuable insights to design the complete customer journey. Open Finance opens a more secure pathway for financial institutions and gives a more complete picture of their customer’s finances. 
  2. Partnerships & Collaborations: With open finance, comes an opportunity for the financial institutions to network and collaborate with various providers. This means they could deliver a wider variety of services based on consumer data, uncovering new business models and innovations.
  3. Transparency for the Lenders: Lenders can evaluate and measure the creditworthiness of potential borrowers, audit documents, and offer customized solutions by securely collecting customer data. Machine learning algorithms may help to extract valuable insights from raw data.

Open Finance offers freedom and flexibility to consumers giving more options and control over the data they share and how they engage with their finances. With just 8 seconds of attention span, the new age consumers want better experiences to get hooked to one brand. Open finance creates unparalleled access to a broader range of products and services. With data sharing, banking organizations can keep track on the changing customer expectations who want frictionless interactions and hyper-personalized experiences across all touchpoints of the customer journey.

The Road Ahead

Statista predicts that there will be 63.8 million open banking users globally by 2024, increasing at an average annual rate of about 50% between 2020 and 2024. This means there will be more demand for innovative products and services in the industry. Banking organizations would need to analyze the rising customer expectations more closely than ever. And for this, data would act as a key to designing the experience of tomorrow. 

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