By Bekki Bushnell, Head of Business Development
I have to be honest – so called “crypto-currencies” like Bitcoin didn’t really register with me until I saw the Cool Runnings references. And now they really interest me.
You may have seen this week that Jamaica’s chances of appearing at the Sochi Winter Olympics have been given a major boost after some $25,000 was raised on Dodgecoin (a less well known, but nonetheless prevalent online currency). Winston Watt and Marvin Dixon, who qualified for the two-man bobsled event, have been blighted by the fact they cannot afford to get to the Games, despite offering to put up some of the cash themselves.
We all know the underdog story of Cool Runnings (and if not, why not) – those plucky bobsled stars immortalised in the 1993 film – but this latest tale shows how dreams are coming true through virtual currencies.
They may have been viewed with scepticism, not least due to security issues, but the willingness of so many to part with their cash on this system means we should sit up and take notice.
I am not about to go and burn my wallet, but the future of payments is a really interesting theme and one that has been on my mind after reading about the major NRF expo – America’s biggest retail technology event. Given that it is open-source, I could in fact start my own currency and possibly ask for my Whiteoaks paycheque in this form. After all, Bitcoin was never meant to be the sole player in this market. All I would need is a greater understanding of code, plenty of marketing and someone actually interested in the idea.
But maybe if I pledged cash in support of an early 90s comedy, I would have the necessary PR opportunity to make it work.
I can promise that my currency would be a lot fairer than those run by greedy banks, even though I would need China to change its views on virtual currency before I could truly consider it a viable move.
All vanity aside, the future of payments such as Google Wallet, even paying by Tweets, could become the norm. As everybody shops (albeit some more than others) it is something that is going to affect us all.
Certainly the amount of in-store tech, such as tablets has begun to grow, but I’m not yet convinced it’s as mainstream as some would have us believe. When I am forced to shop, I have to admit that something new and interesting to try out would appeal to me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is the future movement of cash – be it major currencies or paying for a DVD – is bound to leap forward in the next five years. And I’ll be an interested spectator.