Let’s begin with a short thought experiment. Put yourself into a world in which banks charge $20 to $50 to manage an international wire transfer, but hardly make a profit on it. Conceptualize a world in which banks delay domestic ACH transfers up to three days, in a large part to reduce fraud risk. Imagine a world in which taking on just one new customer necessitates the hiring of another employee. If you’re a commercial bank, these problems are likely all too real and familiar to you. Your costs are continuously rising, but your clearing and compliance infrastructure hasn’t changed. Well I have some good news for you: Bitcoin is going to lower your network and compliance costs by 90%, and I guarantee you will be using it within ten years or less.
You’re probably wondering how this could be possible when Bitcoin is a non-dollar currency with a payment flow that you can’t trace. This widely publicized description doesn’t understand Bitcoin’s underlying potential, and the controversial headlines surrounding our industry don’t give light to the services that will make Bitcoin usable by institutions. Most talking heads focus on Bitcoin as an anonymous currency, when it is more accurately a robust, traceable payment network. The infrastructure around it is still in its early days, but an army of companies is working to make Bitcoin the most suitable payment network in the world. To boot, the leading companies in the space are placing huge importance on establishing credible AML programs that are in line with those of other financial services companies you currently bank.
Bitcoin is a globalized clearing network that works exceptionally well. Right now, this network almost exclusively clears transactions for payments in bitcoins. However, companies are emerging that will enable people to send dollar-denominated payments to their friends and businesses via the Bitcoin network. You may look at this industry as low-cost competition, but you’d be wrong. You will soon be the primary beneficiary of Bitcoin, preferring it to the networks you currently use. What you don’t yet know is that in this process, we will help you save billions by lowering your AML compliance costs.
Although many are skeptical of Bitcoin’s legitimacy, my conversations with law enforcement officials suggest that Bitcoin isn’t being used for any sizeable criminal activities. Criminals realize that all transactions are public, left to be discovered at a later date. Alongside a robust AML program, Bitcoin is already far safer to accept than the cash you currently accept deposits of. Looking forward, emerging technologies that are already in development will make AML compliance for Bitcoin transfers more cost-effective and accurate than compliance methods associated with other networks. The Bitcoin exchanges that you are afraid to bank will become a key part of a system that enable you to automate 90% of your AML compliance work. You will love your Bitcoin exchange, and you will probably acquire one someday too.
So how do we get there? Banks’ support of Bitcoin companies can help move both of our industries forward. If you’re approached by a Bitcoin company with a solid AML program and a good reputation, meet with its founders. Consider banking it – many companies in the space have surprisingly low AML risk profiles despite the “Bitcoin stigma” they receive. We also understand that the opinion of regulators impacts your decision-making, and their viewpoints are evolving as they learn about Bitcoin. I haven’t come across any regulators who are opposed to Bitcoin, only ones who don’t yet understand it. By genuinely understanding our technology, you too can help move the world’s financial infrastructure forward.
About the Author
Jaron Lukasiewicz is the CEO and Founder of Coinsetter, a New York City-based company that offers a high performance levered trading platform for Bitcoin. Prior to Coinsetter, Jaron was the Co-Founder of Ticketometer, a social media-focused online ticketing platform. Previously, Jaron was an Associate at The CapStreet Group, a Houston-based private equity firm; an investment banker at J.P. Morgan and Madison Williams in their global investment banking groups; and began his career as a summer analyst at SPB Partners, a Las Vegas-based private equity firm.
Jaron graduated from Rice University on the President’s Honor Roll with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. He is a frequent speaker at events on the topic of Bitcoin and financial technology and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Fox Business News, TechCrunch, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Forex Magnates and other news media.