Could bitcoin soon offer a safer and more effective way to transfer money around the world?
The involvement of Commonwealth Bank and Westpac in the R3 project shows that the banks are aware that Bitcoin offers plenty of potential benefits for digital commerce. “The development of the block chain will certainly have a very interesting and potentially disruptive impact on financial services,” Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer said at the time.
There are also hundreds of other open-source block chain experiments underway around the world, as financial institutions search for ways to streamline and simplify payments infrastructure. With lower fees on overseas transfers, fast processing of transactions and the ability to cut out the middle man, Bitcoin represents an exciting opportunity for international money transfers.
However, any transition to Bitcoin payments among banks and other established financial institutions is likely to be a slow one. Not only is much of the technology still in development, but regulators in Australia and around the world are still catching up with the many implications of digital currencies. As research such as the R3 project continues around the world, finding a way to transform the international money transfer market is going to take some time – but the interest shown by large global banks indicates the possibilities.
In the meantime, the way we send money overseas will remain the same while there is the option of sending a telegraphic transfer via your bank, specialist online money transfer companies still offer a cost-effective solution. It offers better exchange rates and charge minimal transaction fees compared to the banks, so it’s definitely worth considering when you need to send money abroad.