Brock Pierce, the chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, explained that bitcoin can become more mainstream in two ways – as a remittance tool for the developing world and from startups making bitcoin faster and more economical – during a Sky News interview at The European House – Ambrosetti, a professional consulting organization.
The European House—Ambrosetti hosts summits, workshops and forums to bring corporate managers of national and multinational groups together and give them the chance to hear opinions of world leaders.
Pierce participated in the organization’s 27th annual workshop held at Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy, titled: “The Outlook for the Economy and Finance” during the past two days. Pierce was one of 29 speakers to participate in the workshop, according to the program’s press announcement. Another speaker on the program was Hernando de Soto, the Peruvian author and the president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru.
“If we do see mainstream adoption, it’s going to come from one of two places,” Pierce said in the videotaped interview. One of these places is the developing world where it is most needed, like Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
There are 3 billion people who don’t have bank accounts, as well as 3 billion that are underbanked, Pierce said. “I like to think it’s democratizing the financial system to create equality and inclusion.” The other area is in startups figuring out how to use the technology to deliver “better, faster, cheaper services.”
One example is Abra, a service that focuses on remittance, Pierce said. People working in foreign countries might be paying 20% of their income to send money home. With bitcoin, they can send the money for a fraction of the cost.
“For people like that, I can see them adopting it in short order.” It can also send the money faster. Abra has designed its product to do this, he said, “using bitcoin, but in a way that you’d never know.”
Abra uses bitcoin in the background, in the “plumbing” to move money between countries faster. “It’s a little confusing, and it’s going to take time, I think, for mainstream adoption of consumers in the developing world to sign up for something like this.”
Abra announced plans to provide an app to allow merchants to accept digital cash that will first be available to users in the U.S. and the Philippines, CCN reported in October. A user can store money digitally on the phone, send it to another phone anywhere in the world, then exchange the money for cash using the Abra network of tellers or traditional bank notes.
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