RBA knocks crypto mavericks

Ian Rogers Payments, mobile & wallets
Finder's Fred_Schebest: 'Certain' crptocurrency is money
Finder's Fred_Schebest: 'Certain' crptocurrency is money

In some circles bank shares are money, lollies are money, but – in the stubborn view of Australia’s central bank – cryptocurrencies fail to make the grade.

“No cryptocurrencies currently function as money in Australia, or as widely used payment methods,” an article in yesterday’s RBA Bulletin declared - the second half of this sentence pretty obvious, the first contestable.

Finder.com.au, a financial comparison website with a yen for crypto, treats cryptocurrencies on a near equal standing to any other common topic on money, while hedging many of its 25-odd detailed reviews with lengthy disclaimers.

“You can transfer money or value today for sure. I’m fairly certain it’s money,” Fred Schebesta, a director of Finder (and a passionate crypto educator) said last night.

“There has been innovation to address the key shortcomings of the first-generation coins and provide increased functionality,” the RBA commentary concedes.

“In the last two years in particular, there has been a substantial increase in the number of new crypto-assets created, some of which embody novel features or capabilities relevant for their potential use for payments.”

The RBA then surveys “the short lifecycle of crypto-assets”, drawing on the dataset of “more than 2,000 crypto assets included on CoinMarketCap, a crypto-asset information service with the most comprehensive publicly available list of crypto-assets.”

This catalogue shows “the top 50 account for more than 95 per cent of the market capitalisation of all crypto assets.

“In addition, only around half of all crypto assets currently included on CoinMarketCap have existed for more than one year and of all the crypto assets removed from CoinMarketCap in the past four years around 40 per cent were less than a year old.”

In Australia, the RBA said, “the use of stablecoins (a variant on the basic theme) as a payment method has been very limited, as has the supply of Australian dollar-linked stablecoins.

“AUDRamp, the first Australian dollar-linked stablecoin to launch, went live in September 2018. However, only 137 tokens were issued and the price has fallen to zero.

“More recently, TrueAUD was launched in April 2019 by TrustToken, the issuers of TrueUSD, though no tokens appear to have been issued. TrueAUD is expected to operate similarly to TrueUSD.”

Only this week travel booking aggregator Webjet introduced Rezpayments, “a tokenised, in-house, payment card industry solution” developed in-house by the firm. No substitute for money, this kit is more about secure handling of credit card data and lifting efficiencies in data processing.