Andy Mukherjee’s View to 2022 - Digital Money: WhatsApp vs PhonePe vs Google Pay and more
Alternative currencies will be at the forefront in 2022. WhatsApp vs PhonePe vs Google Pay and much more on the cards in digital money space.
Governments, consumer internet behemoths, large banks and fintech firms will compete fiercely next year to bring our cashless future a little closer — with Asia at the epicenter of innovation. In China, where authorities are increasingly uneasy with the domestic private sector's control on citizens' data, the state will seek to reassert its might: The Beijing Winter Olympics will be the perfect opportunity for the central bank to show off its brand-new digital money, the e-CNY. In India, Meta Platforms Inc.'s WhatsApp will fight a pitched battle against Walmart Inc.'s PhonePe and Alphabet Inc.'s Google Pay, for a chunk of the country's fast-growing market for mobile app-based payments. Even tiny, landlocked Bhutan will experiment with paperless cash.
But collaboration in payments may be just as important as competition. Projects like Hong Kong's mBridge, Singapore's Dunbar and Nexus, and Switzerland's Jura will never get discussed as widely as the dramatic gyrations in Bitcoin's price, but they're important attempts by global money centers to make the cross-border movement of money faster, safer and cheaper. From the Year Behind Us:
Is the Next Financial Crisis Coded in Tech's DNA?
Central banks need to regulate aspects of the consumer internet or else watch stablecoins and other digital innovations become too big to fail.
1. How Digital Cash Can Lift Gross National Happiness: A look at how the tiny kingdom of Bhutan could prove to be the perfect electronic currency laboratory for its giant neighbor India.
2. Nexus Could Be Banking's Next Big Thing: Budding cross-border fast payment systems could put fee-heavy international wire transfers in the museum where they belong.
3. Cash Is Dying, But We Aren't Ready to Bury It: Convenience is one thing but consumers are likely to lose government protection if money is suddenly electronic and privatized.
4. Banking Could Go the Way of News Publishing: Tech giants pose a far bigger challenge to brick-and-mortar lenders than fintech startups that don't have the scale of platform businesses.
Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.