The blockchain seems to be made for use cases from the financial sector. By eliminating third parties, it offers enormous savings potential, which Bitwala would also like to take advantage of. The Berlin-based company wants to revolutionize global money transfers, among other things. Instead of long waiting times of more than one week for money transfers, Bitwala enables money transfers in a few minutes by using digital currencies. This is done by the customer paying the amount in his country of origin, exchanging the corresponding amount in Bitcoin, transferring it to the destination country and exchanging it there for the local Fiat currency. The fact that Bitwala excludes central interfaces such as the SWIFT network from the international money transfer process means that a small fee of 0.5% can be charged. This technological innovation has given the Berlin team, which now has 15 employees, great growth potential: In 2018, Bitwala expects a volume of 500 million euros for international money transfers. But that’s not all: The startup is now even starting up with Deutsche Bank. While the latter supports 38 currencies for international money transfers, Bitwala already supports money transfers in 30 different currencies. By the end of the year, however, they would like to catch up with Deutsche Bank.
Where is the blockchain in Germany?
One question that also BTC-ECHO keeps asking itself is the question of the progress of blockchain technologies in Germany. At the Distribute 2017, a separate discussion round was dedicated to this question, to which some of the speakers were invited. In the past, there was repeated criticism that German regulation prevented innovation. On the other hand, the discussion partners on the distribution side were of the opinion that the following three challenges in particular caused difficulties for blockchain distribution in Germany:
On the other hand, one should also look from the well-known scepticism at actual implementations – it was mentioned, for example, that Deutsche Bahn alone already employs six to seven people who deal solely with blockchain technology.
So has the blockchain arrived in the corporate context? Yes, according to the participants. The blockchain is still a technology that makes many things possible, but offers few use cases that can already be used in practice. This is primarily an organizational problem – at the senior level of companies, it is difficult for managers to justify dealing with blockchain technology. This is closely related to the “cannibalization of business” as discussed in the discussion. Since the blockchain eliminates many tasks through its disruptive power, it also gets rid of certain processes from certain services. Companies would therefore not always be interested in using blockchains because they would replace existing business models and deprive many parties of their raison d’être.