The blockchain technology has introduced the world to a new form of decentralized economy. The cashless financial ecosystem of cryptocurrencies is not only highly secure, but also offers trivial transaction fees when compared to the transaction fees imposed the retail banking sector. Many decentralization enthusiasts believe that the future economy will be greatly represented by blockchain platforms. Nevertheless, to be able to cope with a cashless electronic financial system, which relies on blockchains, one needs to have access to electronic devices (such as computers, smartphones, tablets…etc).
A recently published paper presented the Blockchain Interaction Unit (BIU); a method that renders blockchain services accessible to individuals without having to use any electronic devices. The author of the paper proposes the BIU as a method to universalize blockchain services in a financial system that relies on sovereign backed and regulated cryptocurrencies, such as CoinAsia which is a cryptocurrency, that he proposed a few weeks ago to become Asia’s unified cryptocurrency.
What Are Regulated and Sovereign Backed Cryptocurrencies (RSBC) or NationCoins?
Regulated and sovereign backed cryptocurrencies (RSBC), or NationCoins, represent cryptocurrencies that are backed by the governmental sovereign guarantee, similar to fiat currencies. They are issued on highly secure controlled blockchains (CBC), where NationCoins will be transacted in a hassle-free manner. NationCoins will be entirely controlled by the government i.e. the sovereign authority.
The Blockchain Interaction Units (BIU):
BIUs can be setup in certain places, as is the case with ATMs, where individuals without access to electronic devices can operate their NationCoin wallets. The organization responsible for issuing and managing RSBCs, which is known as the Digital Assets Reserve (DAR), can setup 500 BIUs across the country as a start, via funding from the federal government. These 500 BIUs will cost approximately 5 million USDs, considering the current cost of conventional ATM machines.
BIUs will enable users to operate their NaionCoin wallets. 50-70% of ATMs in any given country can be presumably replaced by BIUs over a period of approximately 5 years. Furthermore, conventional ATMs can be customized to operate as BIUs too. Accordingly, there will be a single machine that can handle both fiat and cryptocurrency operations.
Each owner of a NationCoin wallet, who doesn’t have access to a personal electronic device, will be given a flash drive that includes the public and private keys of his/her coins, so that he/she can operate the wallet on the BIU. BIUs will communicate with the blockchain network the same way personal electronic devices do; the only difference will be that they have a public interface. For illiterate individuals, transactions can be initiated via BIUs setup as public service initiatives.
BIUs can also be used to carry out non-monetary transactions such as property transfer, smart contracts…etc. All federal agencies will have BIUs setup on their premises. This is essential to catalyze the establishment of a flourishing digital economy.
The below figure illustrates a possible interface for the BIU:
The following needs to be ensured:
1. Power connectivity: Just like an ATM, a BIU needs electric power to function. This represents a great opportunity to introduce renewable sources of energy. Solar panels can be utilized to power BIUs.
2. Data connectivity: BIUs require internet connection, just like a conventional ATM, to operate.
3. Flash drives: a 64 MB flash drive is sufficient to store a user’s private and public keys. They can be massively produced for as low as 50 cents a piece. Extremely poor individuals can be identified and these flash drives can be offered to them along with simple training on how to operate their cryptocurrency wallets.
The following represents the advantages of BIUs:
1- BIUs will give the poor and illiterate individuals the opportunity to have access to the blockchain economy.
2- One won’t need to carry a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop to send or receive payments on the blockchain.
3- As governmental agencies will rely on BIUs, this will greatly reduce manpower, staffing costs and other resources.
4- Record keeping and administration will be paperless and hassle-free.
5- Apart from an economy based on cash, BIUs will enable governments to have a real-time prediction of the total amount of money circulating in the system.
7- Middlemen and intermediaries, that are the source of much corruption in third world countries, will be bypassed as any individual will be able to transact and trade using BIUs.
8- BIUs cannot be stolen or looted as is the case with conventional ATMs. The logistical hassles of transferring cash to supply ATMs will be eliminated.
9- Unlike conventional ATMs, individuals will be able to deal with currencies of several countries via BIUs.