It's very easy for Blockchain maximalists to throw stones at any intermediary, imagining a future where one day there will be "no more fat middle men".
One of the reasons Blockchain hasn't made significant progress in consumer adoption (aside from a lack of polished apps), is that we have not solved the disintermediation dilemma.
Are we really willing to become our own bank? When we're faced with the stark choice of two options:
- Use a bank and pay them - with intermediary
- Be my own bank - without intermediary
It can be difficult to make that jump.
Here's what I saw when I last logged into a crypto site to manage some funds:
Woah man - we don't want none of that intermediation nonsense do we?
Then on the next screen, you see this:
When I see this, instinctively, I'm thinking
"oh wait a second, maybe a little bit of mediation would be useful every once in a while"
Mediation is not all about conspiracy, control and fat profit margins. They have an entrenched role in society because of the job they do for us on a regular basis.
In the case of banks, we know they are under pressure to revolutionise their tech, we know they've made awful decisions (2008 crash etc), we know 'we are their product', but isn't it nice to get a refund when your cards get stolen? Isn't it nice to be able to have someone to help/blame when something goes wrong?
The profit incentive of these institutions will ultimately force them to provide value and a great experience. It is easier than ever to leave an underperforming bank (in the UK at least) to head over to a challenger bank like this. The ease of switching banks, the ability to share your experience with the world - these are checks and balances on intermediaries.
So when maximalists call for the dethroning of all intermediaries, we must take a good look at what life without mediators could look like before throwing the baby out with the bath water.