The coronavirus outbreak has pushed some world central banks to quarantine physical cash bills. The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages the adoption of contactless payments. As such, it raises a legitimate question – could cryptocurrencies seize this opportunity to receive a larger market share for online payments?
Caution On Physical Bills
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continues to escalate. The number of confirmed cases worldwide exceeds 110,000. The serious effects on people’s lives are evident, the financial markets tumble, and, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
As a result, some central banks are taking serious precautionary steps to examine physical cash bills before they reach the citizens.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is setting aside dollar banknotes coming from Asia for 7-10 days before returning them in the economy. The Bank of Korea implemented a quarantine policy for physical notes that arrive from local banks.
The Chinese government asked lenders to disinfect bills and keep them in a safe for up to two weeks.
The general belief is that the SARS-CoV-2, which ultimately causes the COVID-19 disease, dies in nine days.
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the measures, but it noted that this might not be sufficient enough. WHO has reportedly started an initiative to encourage people to use more contactless payment technology.
Opportunity For Cryptocurrencies?
A possible solution for replacing the usage of physical cash bills comes directly from central banks. As most of them are already planning to release a central bank digital currency (CBDC) soon, the virus might push them to accelerate their efforts.
China, the origin country of the COVID-19 outbreak, previously believed that it would launch its CBDC first. However, the coronavirus already harmed the central bank’s plans, and the production was delayed.
Even if everything went by the book, the launch of a CBDC could be a long process since it would be a world-first.
On the other hand, if people indeed begin utilizing more contactless payment options, it could be a genuine opportunity for cryptocurrencies to showcase their merits. For starters, they already exist.
Digital assets allow for the transfer of value and are entirely contactless from a physical standpoint. Furthermore, cryptocurrency payments are executed rapidly with lower fees. After all, $1 billion worth of Bitcoin was recently transferred in a few minutes for a fee of just $84.