Earlier this week, I met up with my landlord for some beef stroganoff at an al fresco café in Prague.
As we drained our beers and waited on our meal, we ended up in a discussion about how to efficiently move money across borders.
It’s a common talking point between us.
You see, he works offshore, in the North Sea oil fields between Scotland and Norway. Since he works out of Scotland, he regularly needs to move cash between the U.K. and Czech financial systems. That’s so he can pay for things locally without facing the exorbitant charges that are part and parcel of transacting across borders with non-local debit cards and credit cards.
And as an expat living and working in Prague, but with financial obligations in the States, I regularly need to move money between the U.S. and the Czech Republic. And I have to use U.S.-based credit cards for my spending in Prague, since I am not eligible for a local card.
Frankly, it can be a hassle. And it can be costly and time-consuming.
However, for our lunch this week, I had good news to report to my landlord: All this messing about with international transfers and multiple debit cards could be about to come to an end thanks to two former PayPal executives and a new type of cryptocurrency…
The two execs are launching a global payment network called Six Clovers.
You probably haven’t heard of it. It’s not for consumers like you and me. It’s back-office stuff for merchants and businesses.
But it has the potential to make our lives a lot easier.
In the future, it could allow me and you to whip out a normal everyday American debit or credit card anywhere in the world and—without getting hit with excessive fees—pay for a bag of cinnamon Jelly Bellies, some spicy Bloody Mary mix, and a box of Special K cereal. (You might glean from that sentence that I recently found a British/American food shop here in Prague and kinda went wild grabbing products I miss.)
How does it make this happen?
Well, Six Clovers is a decentralized payment network. It is built on blockchain technology, the same technology behind cryptos like bitcoin and Ethereum. That means no one controls the network, but it is ultra-secure.
However, rather than volatile cryptos like bitcoin, Six Clovers uses stablecoins such as U.S. Dollar Coin, which are designed to track the U.S. dollar. These forms of crypto are so stable that the U.S. government now allows banks to clear transactions with them.
Six Clovers will enable merchants to quickly, cheaply, and securely transfer stablecoins across the globe for payment. This means businesses won’t have to rely on the current slow, expensive banking system that has been in place for decades.
So, the network has the potential to completely change how we buy goods and services when we’re overseas.
Now, of course, I can’t say for certain that Six Clovers will be adopted globally.
But sooner or later, a platform like this will be. Because cheaper, faster, safer solutions always win.
And this underscores a message I’m always trying to convey about crypto: Tomorrow is here, despite the naysayers.
The cryptoconomy was never exclusively about how to make a buck owning crypto (though those opportunities certainly exist and we should exploit them).
Instead, the cryptoconomy was and remains a story of tearing up the status quo today to bring us a more efficient tomorrow. That’s not about investment returns per se, it’s about convenience and cost-savings and security and on and on.
It’s about making life easier for businesses and consumers.
Six Clovers, beyond more efficient cross-border payments, shows just how deeply crypto and the blockchain are integrating into our daily lives in corners of the economy most of us don’t really pay any attention to.
This is crypto-with-a-purpose…crypto-as-a-service. It’s not crypto-as-a-get-rich-quick scheme.
Anyone who thinks crypto is a fad, is missing the bigger changes that are happening all over as the real economy morphs into the cryptoconomy.
Six Clovers is another piece of tomorrow that will make it even easier and cheaper for me to pay for my beef stroganoff with my American Express.