The biggest issue HSBC faces right now is a public relations. For example, here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-02/hsbc-judge-approves-1-9b-drug-money-laundering-accord.html and here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/18/hsbc-terrorists_n_4467329.html and here: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/report-hsbc-allowed-money-laundering-likely-funded-terror-drugs-f889170
Basically, many people think HSBC are money launders and evil. You need a modern “Edward Bernays” to help you fix this PR nightmare. Let me explain how I am the guy and why Bitcoin is a great tool that can be used to fix your problems. Is Bitcoin the future as a currency? Who knows. But as a technology it solves a very interesting problem that has implications into any consensus building systems (currency).
Why Bitcoin Matters…
The invention of Bitcoin technology solved the seemingly impossible Byzantine Generals Problem in computer science and has huge implications beyond just being a currency. Visionaries are building Bitcoin 2.0 to take advantage of a system where consensus is derived in a secured and decentralized public ledger. Exciting ideas around smart contracts that have been around for decades are now possible. Distributed autonomous corporations pose a new way of providing ‘Security by Math’ and thus making current financial relationships inefficient and even irrelevant. History will repeat itself as we will say, “I just replaced your entire industry with 100 lines of Python code”. Like it or not, you can’t un-invent a technology, and solving the Byzantine Generals Problem is creating completely new paradigms for how we can communicate globally. HSBC should learn about “Bitcoin the technology” to understand why so many people are excited about the greatest invention since the internet.
This is why currency is cool but just the beginning. Let me show you some proof of concepts I’ve created to showcase other implementations:
1. Transparent bounty reward system
a. Nonprofit use case:
– Using Bitcoin technology and Google Forms with Public Results we’ve created our own fully transparent bounty program that rewards users for their participation in our non-profit. The process is simple, give us some publicity and we’ll pay you from the current donation balance. At the same time, donors can see exactly what they contributed and where the money was spent. We decide how much each mention is worth and the donors can then judge the nonprofit on if that publicity is worth it.
Proof of Concept:
b. Publicity Wheel Concept
– Similar to the Nonprofit idea above, basically to create a new model that gets the investor interested in rewarding quality publicity that is self sustainable. Create a voting system where the investor can vote on how much each link is worth.
Proof of Concept:
2. Embedding data into the blockchain
– Proof of existence concept of hashing information and putting it into the bitcoin blockchain for retrieval.
– Usages vary from vanity plays that ‘immortalize media’ in the blockchain to serious patent and copyright usage.
Proof of Concept:
3. Legal Marijuana Delivery Service
– In Colorado, USA marijuana is legal, but the banks charge huge fees and people want privacy. The service would deliver marijuana flowers discretely by allowing for payment and the delivery information to be encrypted in the blockchain. Verifiable to all in the blockchain but the data is only known by the delivery service.
Proof of Concept:
– using Florincoin transaction messaging here: http://philmaher.com/mmj.php
HSBC and Bitcoin
Now that we’ve looked at the Bitcoin as a technology and not a currency we can start to see many areas for HSBC to make money AND to improve public relations.
My solution is simple, you position HSBC as a technology financial play. Tagline: “HSBC, A new modern banking solution.” Pivoting to a new technology heavy strategy gives investors a new storyline and hope for the future. On the PR front, inclusion into the cryptocurrency space will allow you to show your compassion for the unbanked population of the world. It’s a real win win situation.
The Financial Objection Handled
The temptation for any accountant/math minded business person is to look at the numbers and see that Bitcoin is a tiny percentage of your high profit/big money business. This is always the error made by giant companies that made tons of money one specific way. They can’t see that the world is changing and that exponential growth is just around the corner for innovators that can provide a better service faster and cheaper. Faster and cheaper always wins, period.
Let me give you a quick example of how I saw this at LocalLaunch/RH Donnelley in 2006 (the inventor of the print Yellow Pages). I was hired as a Director of Interactive Strategy and fought weekly with the CEO and everyone else about why print was dying and why the digital was the future. The argument the smart finance people always gave was that print revenues were 100x of online…so why even bother with something that is 1% of the business. Basically, my argument was that nothing stays the same and eventually things will change. Fast forward to 2014, since then the company has gone bankrupt and reorganized as DexOne, force merged with Superpages, cut staff in half, and currently has 1/50 of the market cap of 2007 highs.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair
My Weaknesses are Strengths
I’ll fully admit that I have zero experience with HSBC and financial products. I am a total outsider to your world. I bring software development and internet marketing experience especially excelling in online traffic acquisition by creating analytic feedback loops. The data doesn’t lie and it’s through this iterative process that I want to be involved with your company to build and market Bitcoin related products to the masses. You need innovators that are outsiders to come in and build next generation products using modern online marketing and cryptocurrencies. Invest in the future, and stop trying to prop up the past revenues.