The comment came in response to Western Union’s decision to suspend its services in Afghanistan, following Kabul’s takeover by the Taliban last week.
Instead, Pompliano raised the point that people can use Bitcoin for money flow at zero cost through the Lightning Network (LN).
More critically, Bitcoin has the added benefit of being uncensorable. In situations of uncertainty, as seen in Afghanistan at present, it can make the difference between life and death.
Move Bitcoin for free? You can with the Lightning Network
Speaking on CNBC, Pompliano was asked how quickly traditional money transfer firms, such as Western Union, could lose market share or become irrelevant due to Bitcoin and the LN.
In response, Pompliano said he didn’t have a timeframe for when that would happen. But he did sell the Bitcoin proposition by saying the LN allows the instant transfer of small amounts globally, and in some cases, at zero transaction cost.
“when you look at something like Bitcoin, it allows, through the Lightning Network, anyone to send pennies, literally pennies, anywhere in the world completely for free with instantaneous settlement.”
The zero transaction cost was in reference to using LN services via the Strike app. Per its FAQ section, LN transactions incur little to no fee.
“Lightning network fees are minimal and at most will cost a few cents per transaction. We recommend using Lightning to carry out transactions where possible as there is little to no fee associated with a Lightning payment.”
Strike’s involvement with building Bitcoin infrastructure in El Salvador is doing much to raise the firm’s profile.
It’s a matter of life and death
Like many places, money flow from overseas migrant workers is something of a lifeline for many Afghans. Like El Salvador, Afghanistan’s economy relies heavily on friends and family abroad sending money back home.
But the suspension of services by Western Union in the country is something of a blow for locals. The firm said it is monitoring the situation and will give an update in due time.
“Western Union understands the urgent need people have to receive funds, and we are committed to resuming operations for our customers in Afghanistan as conditions permit.”
Pompliano criticized the move, saying Western Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan came at a time when its people needed it the most.
“At the time of need of literally millions of people, they pulled out of the country. They stopped supporting it…”
He said Bitcoin, as an uncensorable technology, doesn’t abandon people. Adding that, instances like this hammer home the benefits of cryptocurrency. Especially among the younger generation, setting off the demise of legacy money transfer firms going into the future.
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