How an outdated benchmark distorts reality

The word “remittance” under a magnifying glass.
The word “remittance” under a magnifying glass.

Everybody seems to know it: cross-border payments are way too expensive.

One can find this incontrovertible narrative in countless articles, in market research, and in podcasts. It is even the base for official G20 policies. It is used as argument for Bitcoin, Stellar, and CBDCs.

But is it still true? After 20 years?

Let us take a look at the usual benchmark:

That would be a…


Lessons Learned from Micropayments

A menu from a coffee bar. One drip of coffee for 0,01ct. 10 drips for 0,09ct.
A menu from a coffee bar. One drip of coffee for 0,01ct. 10 drips for 0,09ct.
Micropayments for the Coffee — Felix Kuchar based on stock.adobe.com

The ability to pay small sums digitally is said to be the holy grail of web monetization. It will reduce web advertising, avoid subscription hell, lower paywalls and provides income for even the smallest content creator. In short, micropayments will disrupt the payment market.

The rewards for those that will solve this problem are so large that one is likely to find at least a dozen projects working on micropayments at any time during the last 25 years. That none of these attempts succeeded so far is one of the great unsolved mysteries of the web.

If a startup is…


A man looking at a blown out chandle.
A man looking at a blown out chandle.
What happens if the light goes out?

If one thinks about digital payment systems there is always one fear in the back of the mind. What happens if the light goes out or the internet connection is offline?

The first and easy answer is always: those systems need a backup mode to be usable in the extreme case as well.

In fact the ability to pay without power or internet is one of the possible design choices for a Digital Euro. And 24% of the participants in the public consultation reported this as their first or second most wanted feature.

However when thinking a bit deeper about…


Two are looking into an open briefcase.
Two are looking into an open briefcase.
Where is the value? — Felix Kuchar based on stokkete, stock.adobe.com

The most puzzling aspect of bitcoin is the high price. Is there real value that leads to it or is it pure speculation? The question is probably as old as bitcoin itself but a good answer seems not to be widely known.

In the legendary debate from 2018 “Is Bitcoin the future of money?” Peter Schiff and Eric Voorhees exchanged a lot of arguments. One was about the value of Bitcoin.

Peter Schiff argued that Bitcoin has no real value at all. It could be zero or a million worth.

Eric Voorhees on the other hand dismissed the overall concept…


Bitcoin pictures on wall.
Bitcoin pictures on wall.
Felix Kuchar based on mtlapcevic — stock.adobe.com

Bitcoin is like Art

A few days ago I asked on LinkedIn, whether gold or bitcoin is less risky for a long-term investment. The results were stunning.

The bitcoin enthusiasts tend to prefer bitcoin. Outsiders tend to answer gold. However, there was no clear majority for either of the choices. Neither group could call it a victory — its a draw.

Bernhard Kauer

Think deeper and start earlier to create novel solutions from scratch. Writing here from the Fintech trenches while solving the puzzle to pay.

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