It seems a bit of misdirection in the title here, so not really sure if the author of this brief article was intentionally using bitcoin in the title to generate more eyeballs. Suffice it to say that the specific quote mentioned as coming from Yves Mersch, an ECB executive, is clearly about cryptocurrencies (assumed to be used in a blockchain-type construction, although likely not a permissionless bitcoin version). Where do faster payments come in?
”Banks need to implement instant payments as soon as possible and provide an alternative narrative to the ongoing public debate on the alleged innovation brought by virtual currency schemes”
So now that we have that straightened out, we can at least identify what seems to be a debatable opinion as contained in the quote. First of all, we are not aware of much of a public debate going on about virtual currency innovation, unless one interprets ‘debate’ as dozens of weekly articles on multiple subjects, including blockchain, bitcoin’s wild valuation ride, cross-border payments, and so forth. The other half of the quote about implementing instant payments as soon as possible is more or less an expectation in the EU, since SEPA Inst (which goes live in Q1 2018), is the default mandate, although effectively a P2P effort to start. The question about speed of instant payments adoption is far from resolved in the U.S. for sure.
In any event, the piece goes to make some contradictory points, so not really clear where it was headed. It simply contributes to the generally unclear end game in the payments innovation state of affairs, especially around cross-border effectiveness.
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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