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Preparing to Face Bitcoin

First Published on: 19/08/2013 (updated)

Giant Financial Institutions and Telecomunication companies are preparing themselves to face the upcoming rise of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
The Spanish strategic alliance between Santander Bank, La Caixa/Caixabank and Teléfonica showed great concern for the Bitcoin currency at the time the union of these giant companies was formed. We can draw interesting conclusions from their press release and the terminology used. The payments sent between private customers are peculiarly refered to as P2P ( lit. Peer to Peer). Interestingly enough Peer to Peer networks lay at the base of all Cryptocurrencies, the Torrent network and Kad ( eMule). Though these systems used to be frowned upon as they were thought to engage in pirating Internet material, these days it turns out Bitcoin and P2P are the main references when it comes to innovation and technology.

Financial Institutions vs. Bitcoin
The following excerpt of the press release defines a payment system that could very well be designed to compete directly with Bitcoin, but will users want to be resubmitted to the whims of banks and telecommunications companies? Or will they approach the advantages of Bitcoin?
On the other hand, private customers will have available a new means of payment: payment service person to person (P2P) via mobile phone. With it, users can send money to another person immediately and safely without having to know their bank details: it is sufficient to have their mobile number. It was called Yaap (press realease link). (PDF)
A quick walkthrough of the press release:
– The new company plans to start its activity with the development of an online community for managing offers, discounts and promotions between businesses and consumers.
– The agreement reinforces the vocation of developing new business partners leveraging the latest mobile technologies, a clear commitment to innovation in the digital society.
– The company plans to start business in Spain and undertake a short-term international expansion.
European Commission Merger Procedure.  (pdf)
It was a complete failure
After millions lost, the company was closed in 2016, so is not so easy to make a peer to peer payment system.

Faster Cheaper Bitcoin

Today, 25th of February 2018 we saw a historical low in the transaction fees. This is determined by Bitcoin´s Mempool state, the memory pool that holds all pending transactions, as Johoe’s Bitcoin Mempoolatistic image shows.
The pending transactions exceeded 20.000 in the past days and was less than 1.000 at the time this article was written. This gave way to a rapid descend in the commission fees of up to 100 times less and, therefore quicker and cheaper transactions.

This, along with the imminent adoption of Segwit by various exchanges and in the next version of Bitcoin Core, the complete Bitcoin client, will conduce to a more versatile network.
With Segwit and other wallets that incorporate it, users can enjoy this network improvement that was first introduced in August 2017 and that allows more transactions per second at a smaller fee.