Bankers and industry leaders in the Texas panhandle have recently been discussing what to do about blockchain technology and bitcoin. They are curious how they can get banks involved in leveraging cryptocurrencies, because they do not want to be left in the dust. However, some of them are also scared for the banking industry. In their eyes, bitcoin has the power to undermine the banking system and reshape the financial landscape.
In an Amarillo Local News article published yesterday, Bank of Commerce President Alex O’Brien commented on bitcoin. “I’m scared for the banking industry because I think that Bitcoin and Litecoin, the concepts behind them and the way the blockchain works, is something that could knock banks out of the game.”
But even though O’Brien is worried about the future of banking, he mentioned he really likes the concept of blockchain-based currencies.
It’s a really right-minded concept if you think about it — it’s international currency,” There are no borders and it’s not controlled by anyone, which is neat too. I’m a fan and hopefully we can find a way to get involved.
To Fear or Not to Fear Bitcoin; Average Nerds on the Street Versus Bankers
Another banker at the Amarillo National Bank does not harbor the same fears. He recognizes the future potential of digital currency, though. Vice president Stewart Dodson of Amarillo Nation Bank said the dark, shady roots of bitcoin will be a deterrent for future adoption. He said bitcoin’s past use to facilitate dark web transactions have tainted the currency’s appeal. Now it will harbor that stigma forever.
Even though Dodson sees bitcoin as tainted, he admitted a “digital currency” will eventually be adopted by the mainstream. He mentioned various payment apps like Venmo and Applepay could win the race, even though they are not cryptocurrency-based platforms.
Jon Laur, chief technology officer for EnergyNet — an Amarillo-based oil and gas auction and sealed bid transaction service also chimed in on the discussion. He said banks need to get ahead of the game. He mentioned that if banks do not have someone on the payroll who knows more about cryptocurrency than “your average nerd on the street,” they will be left behind.
Future of the Banking Industry
In the final analysis, the bankers concluded digital automation could change the face of the industry. The convenience of digital currencies makes jobs expendable, and could replace some banking roles. The article detailed, “In a region with 6,600 financial sector employees as of 2014, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, lower-level positions could be eliminated or simply not added as banks invest more in Internet services.”
Do you think the banks will adopt bitcoin, or are some of these bankers right in believing bitcoin will displace them? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock
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