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Add in points, credit lines, and a free checked bag on any United flight and you have something that consumers choose and merchants accept.
And, worth noting, for those seven transactions a second Bitcoin is already estimated to use 35 times as much energy as Visa. In many countries, and often our own, a little bit of ability to keep a few things private from the authorities probably makes the world a better place. In places like Cuba or Venezuela, many prefer to transact in dollars, and bitcoin could in theory serve a similar function.
The government-backed banking system provides FDIC guarantees, reversibility of ACH, identity verification, audit standards, and an investigation system when things go wrong.
Bitcoin, by design, has none of these things. I saw a remarkable message thread by someone whose bitcoin account got drained because their email had been hacked and their password was stolen. They were stunned to have no recourse! The subsequent 1 bitcoin trader, Bitfinex, also shut down after a loss of customer funds. Imagine the world if more banks had been drained of customer funds than not.
As the people who most need security enhancements in banking and payments, they depend heavily on the existing protections and would absolutely be harmed by many of the proposed changes in favor of private-key authenticated, instant, and irreversible transfers.
Someone starting from a human perspective on banking security—who is currently harmed and how can we help them? Second, government policies are designed to disrupt terrorist financing and organized crime, and prevent traffic in illegal goods like stolen credit card numbers or child pornography. In terms of micropayments, people enthuse that bitcoin transactions are free and instant. Actually, they take about eight minutes to clear and cost about four cents to process.
And in practice, people prefer subscription services to micropayments. In terms of interbank payments, many people mention Ripple as a promising way to transfer money between banks. The same features that make the banking system attractive to end users also make it attractive to banks. And yet the real-world examples show the ways this is problematic. The most prominent and largest smart contract to date, an investment vehicle called the Distributed Autonomous Organization DAO , enabled its members to invest directly using their private cryptographic keys to vote on what to invest in.
In the end, everyone got together and voted to retroactively amend the software contract and move the money back to its original owners. Even the most die-hard blockchain enthusiasts actually want a bunch of humans arguing about the underlying intention behind a contract, rather than letting the software self-execute.
The DAO was an illustrative experiment, but what about for routine transactions at big companies? In the end, everyone from blockchain enthusiasts to health insurers actually wants to argue out in human language what the business relationship is and interpret it on an ongoing basis, and then to write software that handles the fulfillment and payment.
Another implausible idea is using the blockchain as a distributed storage mechanism. Yet there are multiple excellent ways to break up files, encrypt them, and replicate them across multiple storage media in different locations.
The block chain is just a particularly inefficient and insecure way of doing this.