The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has taken aim at cryptocurrencies in a recent statement. In a briefing in London, one of its spokesmen criticized the entire industry as being “useless.”
With every new technological breakthrough, comes those who are skeptical of its promise. The horse and buggy, for example, saw no future in the automobile. Often, those that have a vested interest in the status quo have a distorted opinion of what’s possible. So, when central banks start outright criticizing cryptocurrencies as “useless,” you know they are starting to feel afraid.
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SWIFT Takes a Swipe at Cryptocurrencies
Recently, a spokesperson for SWIFT criticized the entire cryptocurrency industry while at a breakfast briefing, as reported by FinTech Futures. The main topic of conversation was regarding SWIFT’s new European E2E payments pilot, said to be able to achieve sub-one-minute payment times. However, it seems that a quip at cryptocurrencies couldn’t go unsaid.
“They go down in value like a yoyo, they’re useless and unstable. And even if crypto companies do make it stable, it’s still a basket of currencies,” the SWIFT spokesman said. The only cryptocurrency SWIFT said has promise, unsurprisingly, is Facebook’s forthcoming Libra. For the rest of the industry, the network “doesn’t see it affecting payments short-term.”
The briefing was intended to be a primer on the upcoming Sibos 2019 at ExCel London, hosted by SWIFT.
Fear Over Innovation
These comments are only to be expected from the largest financial worldwide network. SWIFT is essentially the validator for much of our global financial transactions, processing some 32M financial messages per day. With blockchain, much of its function would be obsolete. so, it’s to be expected that SWIFT is so against cryptocurrencies.
If cryptocurrencies were to truly reach mass adoption, then SWIFT would effectively be reduced to a marginal organization. So, we should not take its spokesperson’s comment as genuine criticism. Instead, we should see it as a clear indicator that the financial world, at the highest level, is taking the cryptocurrency sector seriously — and, more importantly, seem to be quite afraid of change.
If SWIFT does not reign in its hubris and begin to actively study the cryptocurrency industry’s promise, it may soon find itself falling behind entirely.
Do you believe SWIFT’s global dominance could be put in serious jeopardy if cryptocurrencies become used on a mass scale? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.