Revolut and Monzo are bitter rivals. Recently, fintech startup Revolut got one leg up on its competitor by adding cryptocurrencies to its mobile platform. But despite calls for Monzo to do the same, it has so far passed on the opportunity.
Monzo co-founder Jason Bates—who is now no longer involved in the day to day workings of the company and is a minor shareholder—sheds light on why he thinks challenger banks like Monzo are right to steer clear of adding cryptocurrencies.
“My personal view is we design for user journeys and user needs that the majority of the population have and the majority at the moment are not into cryptocurrencies,” he tells Decrypt. But while it might not be inherently useful for those in developed countries, he does think crypto has a home in other parts of the world.
“I think there are jurisdictions where cryptocurrencies are vitally needed because of corrupt governments, people moving money out of the country, that kind of stuff,” he says, adding that this is, “super interesting.” But in countries where the financial systems are working just fine, he argues that people will always choose safety over nascent technology.
The sticking point, he argues is that people want to be able to reverse transactions, something blockchain, while not impossible, doesn’t easily allow. But while he thinks most people don’t need cryptocurrencies, he does see a future in blockchain technology. “There are real use cases of DLT but I’m just not sure, personally, whether Bitcoin and the currency thing is the killer use case.”
So, while he thinks Bitcoin isn’t the right fit for a challenger bank’s target audience, does he own any? Yes. He says, “I got some, sold some to cover my costs and now it’s sitting there to see where it goes.” If only he had something to store it on, such as a hot coral-colored payment card.