Blockchain? No thanks, I prefer the GOOD OLD FASHIONED BANK
This post comes as I found myself yesterday in Milan, Italy to close an old “libretto al portatore” (bearer bank booklet) and walked into an “old fashioned bank”, actually one that is on the brink of default (best case closure from Consob, the Italian Regulator) right now. Too bad I didn’t take a picture of the booklet to share online, so I googled a random one.
Basically the booklet is a paper record of transactions and balances, extremely old-style and probably not even in use today. The booklet had been inactive for almost 10 years! Actually it had been used to hold the deposit for the apartment I shared with two of my best friends in Milan during University days, good old days! Any holder is entitled to withdraw.
The story now turns funny as, had I not remembered to go to the bank, within a few months the bank would have classified the booklet as “dormant” and automatically taken over the deposit, around 50 Euros in my case. I had forgot about this account for years now! In fact the clerks at the desk were discussing far away from me this topic.
The story is actually quite funny and helps understand what epochal change we are experiencing now and how much people are underestimating the impact Blockchain will have on our lives in the next few years, not decades, YEARS!!! For one like me, who is 100% on Blockchain (I am founder of Drago: the Decentralized Hedge Fund) and have open relations with all the major exchanges and have holdings of Ether on my nodes, which I am running as well, it was a transcendental experience. So the guys at the bank had the honor (unknowingly) of closing an account to one of the people who will help them lose their job!
I would like to rephrase on this last sentence: I personally think that eliminating low-value-added jobs is a positive for the economy and social wealth and progress, and believe human brains should be involved in high-value-added jobs, where they still can keep a competitive advantage. I am not personally against the working class, I am against bureaucracy, frictions and conflicts of interests.
I find myself in front of the door: a secured glass cell with a metal detector and eye scanner. I had to hurry to get into the bank on time as the bank was closing at 16:15 and I do not like going to Milan, plus I had to go to that specific local branch of the bank where I had opened the booklet in order to close it. If it was forgotten for 10 years it means that it couldn’t be done differently, as I am extremely precise and organized and have a thing with money..
It’s 16:05 and I manage to walk in at 16:08 since the door is preventing me from entering, on the basis of who knows what metal I was carrying. As I walk in I show them the booklet and the receipts of the last movements, plus my document. Everything seems to be working right, so after a few minutes the clerk is working on the procedure, I ask for the toilets. When I get back, the guy tells me the document they have on record (my Italian ID) has expired and I am showing them my Passport! OK I understand KYC duties, but really any holder of the booklet can withdraw so what’s the point, plus I do not have that ID any more and I ask them if I can just withdraw and we can let the booklet self-expire worthlessly. They say it’s not possible. So actually to amend the document type they have to call the local branch in my hometown, where I used to have the bank account 10 years ago. And they warn me that they might already be closed and might not be able to do the operation straight away so I might have to come back.
I am referring to the clerk as “they” since, as soon as the first problem popped up, there were two clerks working on my case, and a third one was coming and going, plus after some 10 minutes of embarrassment, the manager comes to help. So here we are! 3 people working together to fix a theoretical non-issue.
So they call my hometown branch, the guys there are quick, efficient and hard-workers (Udine, near Venice) and fix the issue on their side in 30 seconds. So now they can upload my Passport. This comes tricky as the document is too thick for their scanner, and it takes them another 5 minutes to realize they can use the big scanner they have to print the document and pass it to the small scanner. Luckily the manager is bold, takes initiative himself and uses the big scanner to scan the document and, while one clerk is kind of yelling to him that he can now pass the copy in the small scanner, he politely (almost with a British aplomb) ignores him and, while addressing me as “Doctor (master graduates in Italy hold the title of Doctor by Italian law), please come at 9am next time you wanna do this” goes to the other clerk and uploads the scans from the local file-system. It sounds like a joke, but it happened for real just about 24 hours ago.
I thank and leave, the guys were nice and we made a few jokes during the time I spent at the “GOOD OLD FASHIONED BANK”. So to sum up: 1) I had to go in person to Milan (luckily I managed to do other things as well); 2) I had to spend 25 Euros in parking (again, only partially for the BANK); 3) 3 guys had to spend 25 minutes fixing my problem, so their office was stuck for almost half an hour.
Now, rather than explaining what the blockchain is, let me tell you what I can do with it: run a client; open infinite accounts; close them at my will with no closing costs; transfer money in real time with no intermediary, no friction, no commission, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no holidays; deploy a contract; hold Ether on behalf of others; create a hedge fund; pool my investors together; invest on their behalf; give these tools to anybody on earth and improve the world of investing through an open platform. I’ve heard critiques of a similar project, quoting it as “utopia”. I am thankful that such skepticism exists, cause we all think different and one has to deliver, and we are delivering! Drago works fully on-chain on the Ethereum Blockchain.
And for those of you skeptics who prefer the GOOD OLD FASHIONED BANK, your banks will keep existing and actually they are going to incorporate the Blockchain technology in a few years, so you will be using it without even knowing! The alternative for banks is failure, as the new technology comes with a substantial cost savings which will make a competitive advantage for the early adopters. You might see the commercial Blockchain era light years ahead, but it’s just around the corner, and soon you will realize. Happy Blockchain Era to You All!