Credit unions may one day find some of their core functions replicated by bitcoin, a new report suggests.
According to Mercator Advisory Group, a global consultancy for the payments industry, such an evolution would only occur should bitcoin's market volatility lessen and security mechanisms develop further.
, entitled Understanding Bitcoin’s Implications for Credit Unions, largely serves as a vehicle for understanding the fundamentals of bitcoin and its distributed ledger, the blockchain.
Not until the last page does the report turn to the implications of the technology on credit unions, noting:
However, the report stops short of saying that credit unions should jump at the chance to integrate bitcoin. According to Mercator, the benefits of operating bitcoin wallets for customers may not outweigh the costs of securing those holdings sufficiently.
The report asserts that bitcoin's primary use case is to buy and sell speculatively and, as a result, "is unlikely to find much traction among the broader mainstream of CU account holders".
Mercator also questions whether or not bitcoin can vehicle for consumers payments, and as a replacement for credit and debit cards in particular.
Mercator closes the report by acknowledging the impact cryptocurrency will likely have on mainstream financial services, adding that the exact impact is difficult to foresee at this time.
"Predicting what exactly these implications will be, however, is a bit like
trying to grasp the significance of the Internet would have been in 1995 – these are early days still," the report concludes.
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