Facebook is set to launch its own crypto-currency next year, the BBC reported this week.
(The article referred to the new currency as ‘GlobalCoin’ … though I much prefer ‘Zuckbucks’.)
So, will this be yet another crazy crypto coin?
Not a chance!
My bet is that ‘Zuckbucks’ will be as boring as your Aunt Betty’s status updates.
See, Facebook is already lame (but incredibly lucrative), so they’re doubling down on something even lamer (and equally lucrative): payments.
And that’s because Facebook’s end game is to become the WeChat of the West.
Hang on … what’s WeChat?
It’s the Chinese version of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google. All rolled into one ‘super app’.
However, WeChat’s big dumpling is mobile payments. In China you can order a meal, split the bill with your mates, pay your share, and take a photo of your dish to impress your friends ‒ all on WeChat.
This immersive experience throws off a lot of personal data, and that is what Facebook really wants. Oh, and so does Google. And Apple. And Amazon. And thousands of tech companies that you and I have never heard of (yet).
Now think about your current humble little bank account.
Yes, you’ve got an app on your phone … but it still looks and feels pretty much the same as it did 20 years ago, right?
It’s all still BSBs and account numbers, and plastic cards you carry around with long numbers printed on them.
Well, ‘big tech’ is coming for your wallet … and our banks know they have one almighty battle on their hands.
It really began a few years ago when Apple Pay arrived with the promise of ditching your silly plastic card, and allowing you to make payments with your iPhone (in return for Apple sharing a clip of the transaction).
“Bugger off!” said the big banks.
The only problem was their customers wanted Apple Pay.
And so, one by one, they’ve each folded like a cheap card table: first ANZ, then the CBA (who announced this week they’re spending $5 billion on updating their tech to fend off tech competitors), and this week NAB.
And that leaves Westpac, who are gallantly continuing to produce their own ‘Apple lite’ white trash wearables, which they call ‘Centsitive Objects’.
Yet my all-time favourite banking bling is the Bankwest payment ring. No jokes. It’s really a thing (and yours for just $39!).
Here’s how Bankwest describes it:
“Our award-winning payment ring is as easy as tap & go – just grab the things you need, fist-bump the terminal and you’re done.”
(Yes, they really said that.)
This week Morgan Stanley estimated that the rapid take-up of smart wallets (payments on your phone) could cost Aussie banks $22 billion in lost revenue as the tech titans move in.
Fist bump to that!
Tread Your Own Path!