P2P payments are the basis of both Paypal’s success and Bitcoin’s promise. In many parts of the world, the ability to do p2p transactions, for business or non-business purposes, is limited. The island country of Taiwan has an established financial system that is most certainly above average; however, that doesn’t mean that new regulations can’t shake the playing field. Paypal recently updated their functionality in Taiwan to forbid P2P payments under the poorly worded guise of a system enhancement:
PayPal works to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in every market we operate in. We have enhanced our system to ensure that domestic commercial payments are not processed, in compliance with local laws and regulations.
The Taiwanese government, which has previously banned two-way Bitcoin ATMs in the island country, has also been reigning in on new financial regulations from this year. The CEO of Taiwan’s premier Bitcoin exchange Maicoin, Alex Liu, explained:
There was a new electronics payments law that was passed in May in Taiwan. It imposed registration and capital adequacy requirements on companies wishing to offer payments services here. Not unlike BitLicense. I guess PayPal found those requirements too onerous.
Paypal Leaves P2P Payments Vacuum
While interbank and intrabank transfers are rather developed within Taiwan, Bitcoin is just a UI/UX away for the relatively tech savvy population. The unbanked in Asia often rely on convenience stores, of which there are seemingly irrationally many, that provide a vital connection to the outside world, but at a cost. Alex Liu had an insight on the Taiwanese P2P payments space, though:
There is a vacuum for P2P payment services here. Like Venmo or Wechat or Alipay. Whether blockchain can play a role in filling this need is to be seen. I would say blockchain’s natural strength is in cross border payments, not in domestic ones.
There are always going to be instances where a centralized system makes more sense. Currently, for those that can get bank accounts, Bitcoin might not seem that useful. However, the unbanked in Taiwan is quickly being cut off from outside sources of centralized monetary services. Bitcoin and general blockchain technology will help p2p payments become easier. While the array of services available in the centralized corner diminish, the amount of ways to send money (including fiat) by Bitcoin in the blockchain corner increases day by day. Hell, even the amount of Bitcoin supporters (Such as US Presidential candidate John McAfee) in the public limelight increases day by day. The amount of Bitcoin remittance companies that have been set up, outside of the American media’s attention, is beyond encouraging. After all, P2P payments includes money that is moving across borders. Whether or not Bitcoin, the blockchain, or some combination of the two can fill the vacuum remains to be seen – but things look promising.
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Images from Pixabay.