A new world of cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) is emerging. Due to the advantages of taking part in such initiatives, many are now in advanced stages and various have been progressed to production projects, so banks cannot afford to remain on the side-lines any more. But, is the time right for financial institutions to really adopt cryptocurrencies and how can they offer this type of service securely? For banks, this is a big challenge they have to answer, if they do not want to be left out of this unstoppable wave in this new financial era.
Cryptocurrencies started out conceptually as an alternative to cash. The main idea was to create a type of digital, secure and decentralised currency. Adoption has been growing, and then came the pandemic, making digital payments even more widespread. This has been another big boost for digital currencies.
Today we are witnessing an explosion of cryptocurrencies as speculative assets or as a store of value (like gold), but their real application could go way beyond this. Potentially, with the incorporation of smart contracts, they could underpin all digital multiparty transactions to improve efficiencies and security. The possibilities of CBDCs are much greater and will have a knock on effect on all sectors that accept digital cash payments. One of the main advantages of digital assets is (the potential for) disintermediation, elimination of friction and inefficiencies and, therefore, improving the speed and efficiency of operations and reducing costs.