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It's not 'unreasonable' for businesses to create and use their own cryptocurrencies, expert says

Eustance Huang
  • The possibility that multinational businesses may create and transact in their own cryptocurrencies is not "unreasonable" in the medium term, according to Blockchain Capital's Gavin Brown.
  • In an era where companies such as McDonald's have a higher credit rating than countries such as Ireland, Brown said, the notion that multinationals may issue their own currencies and request that their customers purchase with them is "not that outlandish."

The possibility that multinational firms may create and transact in their own cryptocurrencies is not "unreasonable" in the medium term, according to one blockchain expert.

"What we're seeing really is the democratization of money so you know, if you and I wanted to, we could create a CNBC coin," said Gavin Brown, co-founder and director at venture capital firm, Blockchain Capital, at the Credit Suisse Global Supertrends Conference in Singapore. "Within three hours, we could have it up and running, and when we transact with people, we could request that we do it using that particular coin."

The question that remains is: "Will people trust that coin?"

"They will trust it if they trust your brand and if they trust your product," Brown told CNBC's Martin Soong on Tuesday.

To illustrate his point, Brown used the example of Starbucks SBUX prepaid cards.

"They've got, you know, over a billion dollars of assets worth on their balance sheet of people who prepaid coffee on their charge cards in advance and that's because they trust the brand, they like the product and they're confident it will be there," said Brown, who is also a lecturer in Financial Economics at the Manchester Metropolitan University.

In an era where companies such as McDonald's MCD have a higher credit rating than countries such as Ireland , he said, the notion that multinational firms may issue their own currencies and request that their customers purchase with them is "not that outlandish."

"Facebook FB coin is ... probably the next big one that's coming," Brown added. The social media giant is reportedly developing a cryptocurrency for global payments that will be tied to the value of traditional currencies and available through its WhatsApp messaging app, according to Bloomberg and The New York Times. Facebook has not publicly commented on those reports.

Asked about the possibility of confusion if too many companies start issuing their own currencies, Brown said: "What we're probably likely to see is ... almost like groups or alliances coming round around mainstream currencies."

Brown said J.P. Morgan's JPM cryptocurrency — the " JPM Coin " which was launched earlier in 2019 — was a "really intelligent play."

"As that continues to be successful ... we would see the strength of that particular currency rise and therefore, it would obviously help J.P. Morgan as the issuer of that currency as well," he noted.

— CNBC's Kate Rooney contributed to this report.



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