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The integration of banks and cryptocurrency in a demonetized world

Banks are integrating cryptocurrency by offering services such as buying and selling, investing in blockchain technology, offering cryptocurrency wallets and exploring ways to use it for remittances. The integration brings innovation and growth to the financial industry but also faces challenges such as regulatory uncertainty and lack of public understanding.


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Jitesh Jadhao

  with  

The Finance Club, IMI New Delhi

a year ago | 5 min read

The demonetization of high-value currency notes in India in 2016 was a major shift in the country's economic landscape. One of the most significant impacts of this move was the increased adoption of digital payments and the rise of cryptocurrency. Banks, in particular, have had to adapt to this new digital landscape and find ways to integrate cryptocurrency into their operations.

First, it is important to understand the basics of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. It operates independently of a central bank and uses blockchain technology to record and verify transactions. The most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but there are thousands of other cryptocurrencies in existence.

The demonetization of high-value currency notes in India led to a shortage of cash and a push towards digital payments. This, in turn, led to an increase in the adoption of cryptocurrency as an alternative to traditional money. Banks, therefore, had to find ways to integrate cryptocurrency into their operations to keep up with the changing times.

One way that banks have integrated cryptocurrency is by allowing customers to buy and sell it through their platforms. Some banks in India have partnered with cryptocurrency exchanges to provide customers with the ability to buy and sell digital currencies directly through their bank accounts. This has made it easier for customers to access and invest in cryptocurrency, as they can now do so without having to go through a separate exchange.

Another way that banks have integrated cryptocurrency is by investing in blockchain technology. Blockchain is the technology that underlies cryptocurrency and is responsible for recording and verifying transactions. Banks have realized the potential of this technology and have started investing in it to improve their own operations. For example, some banks are using blockchain to streamline their cross-border payments and reduce transaction costs. Banks are also using blockchain to develop new financial products like smart contracts and digital identities.

Banks have also started using cryptocurrency to offer new services to customers. For example, some banks have started offering cryptocurrency wallets to their customers. These wallets allow customers to store and manage their digital currencies directly through their bank accounts. This has made it easier for customers to access and use cryptocurrency, as they can now do so without having to set up a separate wallet. Banks are also offering cryptocurrency debit cards, which enable customers to spend their digital assets in the same way as they would spend traditional money.

The integration of banks and cryptocurrency has not been without challenges, however. One of the major challenges has been regulatory uncertainty. Governments around the world are still grappling with how to regulate cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology that underlies it. In India, for example, the Reserve Bank of India has issued a circular prohibiting banks from providing services to businesses dealing in cryptocurrency. This has made it difficult for banks to fully integrate cryptocurrency into their operations.

Another challenge has been the lack of public understanding of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Many people still view cryptocurrency as a speculative investment rather than a legitimate form of currency. This has made it difficult for banks to educate their customers about the benefits of using cryptocurrency and how to use it safely.

In conclusion, the integration of banks and cryptocurrency in a demonetized world has been a gradual process. Banks have had to adapt to the changing times and find ways to integrate cryptocurrency into their operations. This has led to new services such as buying and selling cryptocurrency through banks, investing in blockchain technology, and offering cryptocurrency wallets. However, there have been challenges such as regulatory uncertainty and a lack of public understanding of the technology. The demonetization of high-value currency notes in India has played a big role in this integration, as it has led to an increase in the adoption of digital payments and cryptocurrency. As the world moves towards a more digital economy, we can expect to see more banks integrate cryptocurrency into their operations. Banks are recognizing the potential of blockchain technology and its use cases beyond cryptocurrency, like supply chain management, digital identity, and voting systems.

Moreover, the increasing adoption of cryptocurrency by big corporations and institutional investors is also pushing banks to integrate cryptocurrency into their services. For example, PayPal has recently announced that it will allow customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency on its platform. This move is likely to encourage other payment processors and banks to follow suit.

Furthermore, the rising demand for decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions is also pushing banks to integrate cryptocurrency into their operations. DeFi is a decentralized network of financial services built on blockchain technology. It allows for peer-to-peer transactions without the need for intermediaries, like banks. Banks are recognizing the potential of DeFi and are exploring ways to integrate it into their services. For example, some banks are experimenting with issuing stablecoins, which are digital assets pegged to the value of the traditional currency, to facilitate cross-border transactions.

In order to fully integrate cryptocurrency into their operations, banks will need to address the challenges mentioned earlier, such as regulatory uncertainty and lack of public understanding. Banks will also need to invest in developing the necessary infrastructure, like secure wallets and exchange platforms, to provide customers with a seamless experience.

The integration of banks and cryptocurrency in a demonetized world is a work in progress, but it is clear that it is a necessary step in the evolution of the financial system. As the demand for digital assets and decentralized solutions grows, we can expect to see more banks integrate cryptocurrency into their operations. This integration will bring about new opportunities for innovation and growth in the financial industry, as well as increased accessibility and convenience for customers.

The integration of banks and cryptocurrency in a demonetized world is not just limited to India, it is a global trend that is being seen in many countries. Banks in developed countries like the US and Europe are also exploring ways to integrate cryptocurrency into their operations. Some of the big banks in these countries have already started offering cryptocurrency trading services to their customers.

In addition to trading services, banks are also exploring ways to use cryptocurrency for remittances. Cryptocurrency-based remittances are faster and cheaper compared to traditional remittances. They also bypass the need for correspondent banks, which can save banks a lot of money. Banks are partnering with cryptocurrency exchanges and remittance companies to offer these services to their customers.

Another important point to consider is the impact of cryptocurrency on the banking industry's business model. Banks make money by lending out the deposits they collect from customers. The rise of cryptocurrency and decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions can disrupt this business model by allowing people to lend and borrow directly from each other without the need for banks. Banks will have to adapt to this new reality and find new ways to make money.

Banks are also exploring ways to issue their own digital assets, also known as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). CBDCs are digital versions of traditional fiat currencies and are issued and backed by central banks. They can be used for a variety of purposes, like retail payments, interbank settlements, and cross-border transactions. Banks are experimenting with different CBDC models and use cases to see how they can benefit from this technology.

In conclusion, the integration of banks and cryptocurrency in a demonetized world is a global trend that is here to stay. Banks are recognizing the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and are exploring ways to integrate them into their operations. This integration is bringing about new opportunities for innovation and growth in the financial industry, as well as increased accessibility and convenience for customers. Banks will have to adapt to this new reality and find new ways to make money. The future of the banking industry is closely tied to the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

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Created by

Jitesh Jadhao

  with  

The Finance Club, IMI New Delhi


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