The likes of Google, Facebook and Apple have long been eyeing banking and financial services but while they’ve been sitting on the sidelines, bitcoin has gained ground.
Google and Facebook’s cash cow, the ad market—if it ever recovers from the coronavirus crash—is likely to be squeezed hard by regulators in the U.S. and Europe.
Sales of Apple’s iPhone, perhaps the greatest money-maker of all time, are slowing as budget alternatives improve and incremental improvements prove less attractive—not to mention the effects of a coronavirus-induced global recession of epic proportions.
As a result, Google is now reported to be building a so-called “smart” debit card. Apple launched its own credit card last year. Facebook is moving ahead with a diminished libra cryptocurrency project.
Bitcoin, which Facebook had hoped to displace with its now-neutered libra, has shown the world that a decentralized, digital currency is possible without a government, central bank, or technology company behind it.
Where is bitcoin’s advertising budget? Who’s bitcoin’s CEO? Bitcoin doesn’t need you to buy a new model nor does it sell your data.
Bitcoin, maintained by an evolving and decentralized network and beholden only to the mathematical principles that underpin it, is stability without authority.
In Silicon Valley, centralization is king. Leaders like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Google’s Sundar Pichai are praised for running tight ships.
The financial products they develop will be as centralized as the banks and currencies they’d like to replace.
Some in Silicon Valley, including Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, understand the difference between technological innovation and the coming digital revolution of finance. Dorsey has already begun positioning Twitter and his payments company Square to take full advantage of it.
“If you don’t believe it or don’t get it, I don’t have the time to try to convince you,” bitcoin’s mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto wrote in 2010.
Bitcoin doesn’t care if you get it or not—either it will catch on or it won’t. So far, it seems to be catching on.
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