Banking and cryptocurrencies have not always worked together. In fact, the first cryptocurrency ever created, Bitcoin, was designed to be a peer 2 peer decentralized payment system, with the purpose of making the modern banking system obsolete. But, there are real use cases for cryptocurrencies in the banking system. Yesterday, the Argentinian bank Masventas announced a strategic alliance with Bitex, a cryptocurrency payment system based in Holland, to use bitcoin for international bank wires.
Bitex has emphasized that this is the first time that an official banking institution uses its services for this kind of purposes. Manuel Beaudroit, a director of Bitex declared that:
“BANKING WIRES WILL BE DONE TRANSPARENTLY FOR THE CUSTOMER. NEITHER THE BANK NOR THE CUSTOMER WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH BITCOINS. BITEX WILL ACT AS AN INTERMEDIARY AND WILL MANAGE ALL THE COMPLEXITY OF THE CRYPTOCURRENCY OPERATIONS”
Bank shareholders are being optimistic: they think that leveraging cryptocurrencies and blockchain will give the bank an edge over other national banks by offering the customer cheaper and faster services. Currently, international bank wires are commonly being made using the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system, that relies on a between banks messaging system. The downside of SWIFT is its waiting times of 48-72 hours or even more; and also the fees are generally higher.
With the bitcoin implementation, Masventas will charge only the 3% of the amount of money sent plus taxes, and it guarantees that the remittance will be done in a day or less. Thi is another use case of cryptocurrency, complementing the structure of banks help them provide better services to their customers.
The service is available now from the bank website and although it has not been used yet, bank executives are optimistic that this change will shape international remittances in the continent for the near future.