Crypto payment — a walk in the park that all generations will master effortlessly ?
- A commentary by René Pomassl, Co-Founder and CEO at SALAMANTEX
We all know the typical supermarket queue: a senior citizen takes a bit more time to find the exact change, baby boomers get out notes or one of their many plastic cards, the youngest however often pay contactless with phone or smart watch simply walking by. Digitalization has transformed all areas of our daily lives: shopping, dating, transactions, ordering food, booking doctors’ appointments — nowadays nearly everything can be done with the swipe of a finger on the smartphone.
Technology friends welcome this evolution but many people, young and old(er) feel overwhelmed. Especially digital immigrants — the generations that grow up without the internet — struggle to keep up with the fast-paced digital transformation. We want to take a deeper look into inclusivity in the FinTech space to better understand if the developments touch all generations or exclude some.
Studies validate the diversification in payment as illustrated with supermarket queue: baby boomers continue to prefer cash, cheque, and card payments. Generation X still holds on to their credit and debit cards but are open towards e-wallets. Millenials tend to make use of multiple apps to cater to all their financial needs. The youngest — Gen Z — are the most intense users of the newest payment methods. As per the study, close to half of the Gen Z already use digital wallets. We hence witness a gradual transition from generation to generation.
However, newer and more advanced innovations could broaden the gap between young and old. So far, crypto currencies have mostly been used by digital natives, the youngest generations, which have grown up with the internet. We wonder what will happen once digital fiat money based on blockchain technology, such as a digital dollar or e-Euro, will be launched. A huge transformation is on the way with these developments.
Following the principle of ‚survival of the fittest’ our skills must keep on evolving to stay on track with the fast-paced technological developments around us. Some people feel overwhelmed with the many innovations entering the market one after the other. Nevertheless, the vast majority is willing to adapt to crypto currencies and blockchain-powered processes, as our recent poll on social media showed:
We asked the oldest digital immigrants directly. “I prefer to pay in cash without any technology involved. However, if digital currencies bring me an added value in the future, they can become a good second option. It’s only natural that the world keeps on evolving and so I have to keep on learning how to handle new things and adapt,” said 73-year-old pensioner Marie in Munich.
“We are aware that not everyone would like to pay with digital currencies now and in the future. But clients ask for more and more options and flexibility. There already is a clear demand for crypto payment and this demand will grow in the coming years,” explains SALAMANTEX CEO René Pomassl. „Retailers need to position themselves early on for the clientele of today and tomorrow. Being ahead of the curve, they can benefit from secondary first-mover advantages.“
In this context, crypto currencies need to be assessed based on their usability for everyday life. Currently, the „next generation decentralized financial system”, as the Bitcoin ecosystem describes itself, still needs to broaden its relevancy and use cases to be ready for mass adoption. Companies have a responsibility to cater to all layers of society and act as a facilitator rather than excluding people. „The payment process with digital assets needs to be childplay, so that young and old can quickly pay in a few easy clicks, as shown in this video,“ says Nimiq ambassador Max Burger.
 Digital generations: The technology gap between seniors, parents, and kids | Norton
 Generational comparison on the use of payment methods I Axerve