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Are Digital Payments and Blockchain The New Revolution?

There have been concerns that using cash for transactions has further led to the spread of Coronavirus. In China, money from high-risk areas has been taken out of circulation and may potentially be destroyed while Chinese banks have been sanitizing notes in circulation to avoid spread of the Novel Covid-19 via cash. South Korea’s central bank and the Bank of Korea, have implemented a quarantine policy for physical notes that come in from local banks, aiming to kill the Covid-19 particles that have a lasting effect for 14 days. While the world has gradually been moving towards plastic money, researchers believe that depending on the temperature and humidity, the infected coronavirus droplets tend to survive longer on surfaces like credit cards and coins than on cash.

Mass panic across the world and the 123 affected countries has led to a widespread debate of what could be the potential way out of the pandemic.

Veterans believe every time a pandemic, natural disaster or a disease spreads, a technological revolution takes place. The Chinese economy got a technical boost when SARS broke out between 2002 and 2003. Millions of people stayed at home to avoid getting affected by the virus, destroying the Chinese retail market completely. However there was one clear winner “Alibaba”.

Duncan Clark writes “Although it sickened thousands and killed almost eight hundred people, the outbreak had a curiously beneficial impact on the Chinese Internet sector, including Alibaba. SARS validated digital mobile telephony and the Internet, and so came to represent the turning point when the Internet emerged as a truly mass medium in China.”

Will the Covid-19 lead to a similar technological revolution?

The World Health Organisation has been stressing on the use of contactless digital payments. There evolves a strong case for the growth of blockchain technology and of cryptocurrencies globally. The Coronavirus outbreak is also likely to accelerate central bank adoption of their own digitized currencies, some of which run on blockchain solutions.

PBOC, China’s central bank has been focusing on replacing physical cash with its digital counterpart. A Fed official said that a real-time digital payments option was “inevitable” and the chief of the Bank for International Settlements also opined that central banks will likely need to soon issue their own digital currencies.

Believing that Block Chain and that Digital Payments will be the new big thing due to the virus- We need to reevaluate, moving back to the basics.

Mike Orcutt, MIT Technology Review argues that No, coronavirus is not a good argument for quitting cash. He believes that although it’s theoretically possible that using physical cash could lead to a spread of the Covid-19, there is no evidence to back the claim.

Although primary research suggests that coronavirus can survive on cardboard for a full day, and on steel and plastic for up to three days, for it to to infect a human, the virus has follow the primary route, the person has to inhale the particles that someone else has coughed or sneezed into the air, or has to come in  contact with a virus particle with their hand and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Infact, Marilyn Roberts, a microbiologist at the University of Washington School of Public Health, says that there is no evidence that money in any form has ever been a source of any kind of infection.

To conclude, because there is still not enough evidence and data on the Novel Covid-19 and that most of the information available hasn’t been  verified by healthcare professionals, it is too early to comment on how the virus has been spreading which therefore leaves the question as to whether digital payments will revolutionise the digital payments usage unanswered.