Sheila Warren believes the United States is behind the curve on cryptocurrency payment adoption. The head of the World Economic Forum’s blockchain policy unit says the maturity of the e-commerce arena in Asia has the U.S. playing second fiddle.

Asia Leads the World in Cryptocurrency Payment Technology

In an op-ed published on CNN Business on Monday (October 15, 2018), Warren declared that, despite the sweeping digital currency payment revolution in places like Japan and China, the U.S. still sees greater reliance on cash transactions. Quoting data from iResearch, Warren revealed that mobile payments in China reached $5.5 trillion in 2016 whereas U.S. figures stood at $112 billion.

Warren argues that Asia’s adoption of cryptocurrency payments comes from the popularity of e-commerce in the region. Before the emergence of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, many Asians were already involved in a buoyant virtual assets trading market. Speaking earlier in the year, BitMEX chief Arthur Hayes offered this same explanation as to the reason for higher trading volumes in Asia than the United States.

Asia has a higher cryptocurrency trading volume than the United States.

For these Asian nations embracing the emerging digital payment revolution, they stand to reap the rewards of reduced transaction costs, faster settlement times, and improved transparency. The immutable blockchain ledger which records transactions is, theoretically, free from manipulation.

Outside Asia, places like Switzerland and Malta are also working out modalities to adopt blockchain-based solutions. These countries aspire to become hubs for decentralized technology development.


Technology Does Not Understand Boundaries

For the U.S., apart from card transactions, cash is still king in many places. Warren opines that it is a lot easier for a society dominated by digital payments to embrace cryptocurrency payments than for one still dominated by cash to make the same move.


However, despite the reticence of the U.S. to embrace cryptocurrency payments, technology does not understand boundaries. Commenting on this issue, Warren said:

The rate of acceleration of adoption is likely to continue to increase, meaning that those economies that don’t start encouraging the creation of a robust digital payment infrastructure, complete with the necessary investments in infrastructure and accompanying regulation, are going to find it increasingly challenging to catch up.

In late September, stakeholders in the industry issued a warning to the U.S. Congress that the country risked losing out on innovations if the regulatory landscape doesn’t improve.

Do you think the United States is lagging behind other developed nations in cryptocurrency adoption? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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