A recent report published by Citi suggests that bitcoin could challenge or even supplant some traditional payment services if adoption widens in future years.
Bitcoin could shift payments paradigm
The report compares the roughly $6.2bn bitcoin market capitalization with that of the combined global payment companies, which amounts to approximately $300bn.
As many as $15.5tn debit and credit card transactions took place in 2013, and it is this large market that digital currencies are poised to disrupt in the years to come, the report continued.
Citi directly cited the potential cost savings of using digital currencies like bitcoin as a payment vehicle. Notably, the report said greater use of bitcoin for this purpose is possible even when accounting for transaction costs collected to boost security in the bitcoin network.
Digital currencies threaten credit, debit cards
Notably, the report suggested that companies that offer credit and debit card services may face increased competition from digital currencies that could disrupt their existing business models.
The report stated:
The impact on foreign exchange (FX) markets is less certain, said Citi, given the low margin that already exists.
However, the report said that companies which charge higher fees to transact between currencies, including global remittance firms, "may find their franchise eroded if generic bitcoin technology lowers the cost if these transactions".
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