Cash is king. Not anymore with mobile money.

Situated in the classy precinct of the Fullerton Bay Hotel, The Clifford room was packed to its brim as more than 80 attendees gathered to hear from four expert panelists debate their views on the future of mobile money.

Expert panel on mobile money, Bitcoin, credit cards and cash

The panelist (from left to right): Michael Weatherseed, Autumn Radtke, Scott Bales, and Willianto Wu

The debate
Will mobile money and Bitcoin overtake cash and cards within a decade? Hear the opinions of those in the know.

Opponent: Wilianto Wu (Mobile Payment, VAS & NFC Specialist, MasterCard)

“Cards are still alive. There’s about 14 billion cards worldwide and it’ll take more than 10 years to make them redundant.”

“NFC (Near Field Communication) is a communication channel, and payment is only one form of its usage. People generally do not buy phones based on NFC-enabling. The adoption of this technology requires a change in consumer behaviour through merchants educating consumers about its benefits. The same will go with mobile money or Bitcoin adoption.”

Proponent: Scott Bales (Author of Mobile Ready)

“How can we add value to people’s lives? That should be the question. What can people do more with a screen? Can we manage our finances or gain feedback on spending? Product innovation must add value.”

“Visa and MasterCard are simply points of payment in the transaction process. Can payment processes be more interactive such that we begin to say ‘we love our banks’?”

“Yes! Mobile money and Bitcoin will overtake cash and cards within a decade. Look at the innovation adoption cycle these days – it took the radio 38 years to acquire 50 million users, Angry Birds took 35 days.”

Opponent: Michael Weatherseed (CARTES Secure Connexions Asia)

“It’s challenging to stimulate adoption of mobile money or Bitcoin. There needs to be an interest and buy-in from all stakeholders (i.e. Telcos, consumers, vendors) involved.”

“Adoption’s also dependent on the current cultural context. Are payment infrastructures already in place? If they aren’t, people will be more receptive to mobile money or Bitcoin as a new payment technology.”

Proponent: Autumn Radtke (CEO at First Meta)

“eCommerce vendors love Bitcoin – no transaction reversals are allowed with Bitcoin and the currency is not under the regulation of any one government so it can be used across global markets.”

“Every transaction using Bitcoin is made public on the network, it’s completely transparent. Stories about fraud and money laundering are used to glamourise the Bitcoin topic and make it newsworthy but really it’s a very small percentage, if at all. In fact, it’s easier to be fraudulent with cash.”

The crowd, more than 80 packed into The Clifford, Fullerton Bay Hotel

Interestingly enough, the proponents of mobile money and Bitcoin are active entrepreneurs in start-ups and currently dealing with emerging technologies. The opponents, on the other hand, are both from well-established MNCs.

A positive correlation between their views and working environment, perhaps?

Either ways, all four seem convinced with their stance. The evening proved to be really insightful, listening in on an exciting future for the seemingly dull but highly lucrative and continuously evolving field of payment systems.

Where do you stand in this debate, aye or nay?

We say aye, mobile’s the way for the future, including ticketing.

Interested in events organised by Mobile Alliance? Follow them on Peatix and you’ll be the first to know (via email) when a new event crops up!

If you’d like to know more about mobile money, this Bitcoin basics primer workshop’s perfect for gaining an introduction into the world of Bitcoin. For other events like this, check out our full list of events.


Image credits: Zac Leow

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Claire Ding

Claire Ding is the Community Manager at ticketing platform Peatix in Singapore. She runs a community event for organisers, Backstage Pass , where organisers connect with others and learn tips on event management. Quite the thrill-seeker, Claire’s gone skydiving, bungee jumping, and enjoys anything that puts her on edge (quite literally), it’s no wonder she’s in the business of events with never a dull moment!