Ognjen Regoje bio photo

Ognjen Regoje
But you can call me Oggy

I make things that run on the web (mostly).
More ABOUT me and my PROJECTS.

me@ognjen.io LinkedIn

Public Venmo, ewallets and the unbanked

#ethics #product #society

New York is apparently proposing the creation of “public Venmo” in order to help the “unbanked”.

This seems so misguided to me. It just attempts to fix a symptom.

Since they don’t have a bank account, creating a shitty version of a bank isn’t the solution.

It also doesn’t address the actual root cause. Why don’t they have accounts in the first place?

Because of regulation

I think this is the biggest issue.

But banking regulations are there for a reason. Instead of creating a non-bank and bypassing regulation, help people meet them.

Regulations are there by-and-large to help people (either from the banks or criminals).

The lack of regulation is exactly why bitcoin is still alive. It’s the ideal medium for criminals because it skirts around all regulation and reporting.

e: New York Times has an article exactly about this (paywalled unfortunately)

This could also involve situations where people might not be in the country legally for example. In that case, the effort needs to be in helping them fix their immigration status.

The cause for why someone can’t meet regulations is what needs to be addressed.

Because of infrastructure

In South-East Asia another argument was that ewallets are helpful because there’s no infrastructure for banks.

Surely the solution is to invest in infrastructure then?

If you’ve a flat tyre and take a taxi to work, you’ll still have the flat tyre. You will eventually have to fix it.

By choice

There’re also that choose not to have accounts because they’re wary of the government for whatever reason. And while that’s their choice I hardly think government initiatives to help them are a good idea.

Each of these are relatively serious problems. And they should be addressed at the root.