With the US set to blacklist Iran from global dollar-based transactions, here's an idea for Tehran: use Bitcoin to make, and accept, payments from its trading partners. And, there's even a bank ready to serve Iran when it comes knocking: according to Reuters, German Radoslav Albrecht has founded an online bank that allows clients to transfer loans anywhere in the world using Bitcoin.
That's right: bitcoin's money-laundering, capital-controls evading capabilities - the reason why we said it's going much, much higher back in September 2015 when it was just above $200 - are finally going mainstream. And not only that, but in one move it is disintermediating the multi-trillion industry behind private money creation known as "banking."
It's therefore hardly a surprise that the company's motto is "see no bank, hear no bank, speak no bank."
Albrecht's Bitbond uses Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to completely bypass the Swift international transfer system which has a monopoly and ultimate veto power on who is in - and isn't - in the global petrodollar club, to lend money across the globe rapidly and at low cost.
“Traditional money transfers are relatively costly due to currency exchange fees, and can take up to a few days,” Albrecht told Reuters TV in his office in Berlin’s fashionable neighborhood Prenzlauer Berg. “With Bitbond, payments work independently of where customers are. Via internet it is very, very quick and the fees are low.”
But what about the risk of intermediary price fluctuations?
That, too, has been factored in as clients hold the loans in their choice cryptocurrency for only for seconds or minutes until they are exchanged back into the currency of the country where they wish to receive the funds, avoiding the crypto currencies fluctuating exchange rates.
Bitbond's novelty is that while bitcoin has been used as collateral for loans, it never served as a way of transferring credit in currency internationally. And judging by the company's rapid growth, there is more than enough demand for its services: Albrecht’s service, which has been growing in popularity among clients since he launched the company in 2013, employs 24 people from 12 countries who manage loans for 100 clients amounting to around $1 million each month.
Most clients are small business owners or freelance workers, Albrecht says. Loans are relatively small and don’t exceed 50,000 dollars. However, those amount are set to grow: in 2016, Bitbond was officially licensed as a bank and has gained many investors since. More importantly, not a single regulator has reached out to Albrecht to tell him to shut down his service, and for good reason: according to Bitnodes, adoption of bitcoin has been rapid in Germany, only trailing the U.S., based on the location of all the bitcoin nodes that transmit data about new transactions.