dina Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer at Anderson Zaks

Cryptocurrencies are poised to enter the financial services mainstream, a senior fintech executive has claimed. Adina Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer at payment service provider Anderson Zaks, said she foresees crypto being accepted widely for retail payment before long.
“Once the preserve of geeks, gamblers and money launderers, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Ripple, Zcash and Monero are starting to breakout from the online world, into the real world,” she said. “Christine Lagarde, Head of the International Monetary Fund is reported to have stated that the international community should consider endorsing central bank issued digital currencies [CBDCs] in a speech at the Singapore Fintech Festival. Lagarde went on to point out that CBDCs, if done properly, could satisfy public policy goals, specifically financial inclusion, security and consumer protection and privacy in payments. Which is quite a turnaround in sentiment from just a few months ago.”
Ahmed also cited Stanley Yong, global lead for CBDC solutions at IBM, who has said that CBDCs can help to mitigate the risks that contributed to the 2008 financial crash: “Yong made the further point that one of the major advantages of a CDBC, even in developed economies whose societies are to some extent already cashless and use a wide array of digital payment solutions, would be the reduction in the fragmentation of the marketplace,” she said.
Ahmed pointed to the rise of crypto exchange platforms or ATMs: “You may not have noticed, but these crypto ATMs have quietly been opening up around the UK and across the globe,” she observed. “There are now almost 4000 ATMs that provide cryptocurrency transactions in 75 countries, and nearly 200 of those are in the UK. “Bitcoin is the largest crypto currency with a current market capitalization in excess of $138bn. We have already seen the likes of Bitcoin becoming more popular in volatile economies, for example, where there is hyper-inflation. Investing in gold, the previous haven in difficult markets, is all well and good, but you can’t spend it in the shops – or online for that matter. This is becoming significantly less true for cryptocurrencies.”
In the same way that the gold card or other premium card account tends to be used for high value purchases, so a crypto-card, linked to a cryptocurrency account, could become the new normal for such transactions, she adde: “Already for corporate payments, blockchain technology is being harnessed as it provides a powerful and secure ledger that records every step of a transaction and transfer of ownership,” concluded Ahmed. “For the global traveller or shopper, it could be much more convenient to have one account in a digital currency. The very fact that it is based on blockchain so the transaction is recorded for anyone to see that needs to, and cannot be altered or tampered with in any way, makes it very appealing. Indeed, research shows that consumers may be more open to paying in crypto than many retailers would imagine.”

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by Guy Matthews
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