Where Will Bitcoin and Blockchain Fit in the Banking System in 25 Years?

Will bitcoin truly become the currency of the world? Will blockchain technology be used in our everyday lives? Industry Focus: Financials host Michael Douglass and Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel think the answer is “yes,” but only to one of these two questions.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on June 25, 2018.

Michael Douglass: Let’s start with blockchain. I believe that blockchain will be in widespread use for its dispersed ledger capabilities. I will further add, I do not think that Fannie and Freddie will be using blockchain for mortgages because I think they’re going to lag the rest of the market. But, I’m betting that, throughout the private sector, blockchain will be used for contracts, and maybe even some non-agency conforming loans might be using blockchain for validation.

Matt Frankel: There are a ton of applications for blockchain technology. We’re only starting to see this pick up a little bit. One important distinction I want to make — and we’re going to get into this in a little more detail in a minute — blockchain does not mean Bitcoin. Blockchain does not mean any other cryptocurrency. This is a form of technology. It’s just like saying, “The internet does not mean Microsoft.” It’s one thing that came out of internet technology.

Blockchain technology, I definitely agree with Michael on this one, is going to grow by leaps and bounds. There are so many applications, not only in finance but in fields like healthcare, for example. There are a ton of applications for blockchain in terms of record-keeping and things like that. I definitely agree with you on that one.

Douglass: Here’s the one that, I don’t think it’s going to be too controversial between you and me, Matt, but it might be for some of our listeners — I do not believe that any of the current major cryptocurrencies will be in widespread use for conducting business transactions. There, I said it!

They are too resource-intensive, they’re just too slow, and they can’t handle the volume. Now, that’s not to say that they won’t be used as validation. Again, I think blockchain will be. But, I don’t think we’re going to be regularly paying the pizza delivery guy with Bitcoin. Now, I do believe that new cryptocurrencies will emerge and may, in fact — and probably will — better solve the speed and cost difficulties that would plague today’s cryptos at scale. But, I do not believe that any of our current — you might think of them as first or second-generation — cryptos will be in widespread, common use across society.

Frankel: Just to add a little more color to that, when Michael says the major cryptocurrencies, I believe you’re referring to, what, the biggest dozen or two dozen that exist right now?

Douglass: Yeah, exactly.

Frankel: OK. There are 1,900 cryptocurrencies in counting right now.

Douglass: [laughs] Right!

Frankel: And there are more coming online every day. It’s possible that the ones that will eventually have a big impact have already been invented. There’s already third-generation cryptocurrencies being invented. But it’s way too early to tell. Who knows which one of the 1,900 could eventually become what everyone thinks Bitcoin is going to become? There’s no way of knowing right now. Will cryptocurrency still be a thing in the future? Absolutely. It could definitely one day — probably not in the next 25 years — completely replace our currency system as we know it. Will it be Bitcoin itself that does it? Probably not. And that’s kind of the point there.

It is interesting to note, though, that a lot of those 1,900 cryptocurrencies utilize Bitcoin and Ethereum and the other blockchains in their technology. That’s an interesting dynamic. But, will Bitcoin itself be as big as everyone thinks it’s going to be in 25 years? I’m predicting no.

Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Matthew Frankel has no position in any of the cryptocurrencies or stocks mentioned. Michael Douglass has no position in any of the stocks or cryptocurrencies mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the cryptocurrencies or stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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