A time to think about tradition – and resolution

By on December 22nd, 2015 in Currency Exchange, FinTech, Peer-to-peer FX

Strange to think that much of the tradition we associate with Christmas are relatively recent inventions, invented by the Victorians or imported from other countries. You could say that it is not unlike banking, which has been around for a few hundred years longer.

And, as we know, banking is already changing due to technology, quite dramatically in some cases if we consider international transfers or algorithmic trading. The peer-to-peer ‘revolution’ in lending and, indeed, currency exchange would not be possible without technology.

Some are saying that it will change even more fundamentally, with the advent of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin meaning we will not need banks at all. What are such institutions, goes the argument, but trusted systems of ledger to manage financial transactions?

What with trust in banks having taken a series of hits in recent years, and the advent of computing models powerful enough to deliver such systems of ledger, the alternative starts to appear more viable.

Tradition is what’s stopping the world from moving wholesale to an alternative model, no more, no less. And frankly, it’s stopping us as well. Our systems could support Bitcoin transactions but we use traditional currency for the same reason as everybody else does.

That is, because everybody else does. Christmas is not going anywhere, and dollars and pounds still have a bright future ahead of them. Both serve a purpose, in their own way.

But this new year, as every year, it’s worth us all taking a step back and considering which traditions we stick with for historical reasons alone. And if they only exist through force of habit, resolve to change them.


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James is freemarket’s Chief Commercial Officer. He has a history of finding new ways to solve age-old financial challenges and was responsible for launching some of the first online money transfer and prepaid card initiatives in Europe.


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