Back in the day, I worked at an ad agency. One of our clients was Vonage, a company based on a new technology called VOIP (a fun word to say).
Vonage was growing like crazy. At its peak, Vonage was adding a million customers every quarter, then reinvesting that money back into marketing. It was a snowball of subscribers.
My team created all the online ads, and the sales pitch was simple: Vonage saves you money on your phone bill. Vonage did this through VOIP (still a fun word to say).
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it meant that Vonage used your Internet connection to make phone calls, instead of the old-fashioned phone lines. This was radical.
It was radical because Vonage didn’t need to own the wires. All the phone companies had built huge networks of cables crisscrossing the globe: now they just offered POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service).
Today, a similar thing is happening in the world of banking and blockchain.
Move over VOIP, Here Comes MOIP
I recently heard Rob Frasca from COSIMO Venture Partners give a terrific talk on blockchain, and he used the word “MOIP,” which is even more fun to say.
Rob is a smart guy who helped build Intuit (one of the first financial software companies), then Lycos (one of the first search engines). He’s a serial entrepreneur, who now specializes in blockchain.
His idea is that blockchain technology will make possible “Money Over IP,” or MOIP (rhymes with VOIP).
Here’s a map showing the flow of money around the world. The thick lines show rivers of capital, while the thin lines are just trickles of cash. You can see which countries are rich, and which are struggling.
If you’ve ever tried to send money overseas, you know it’s a nightmare. You have to send “wire transfers,” which are expensive and slow—up to several days. It’s like sending snail mail.
MOIP (gets me every time) is going to let us send money as easily as sending email. And just as no one uses snail mail anymore—except to send sympathy cards—no one will use old-fashioned wire transfers.
MOIP (please say it aloud) is the buzzword that encompasses all online money transfers that are simple, secure, and instant. It is the technology that will disrupt the banks, who should be terrified.
We already have it—kind of. Digital currencies like bitcoin allow us to send value instantly over the Internet, using blockchain technology to keep our transactions secure.
It’s still early days, but that’s where all the excitement is. That’s what allowed Vonage to make an enormous land grab for all the telephone subscribers, before the phone companies had caught up.
If you work in banking or finance, you should print out an enormous sign that reads MOIP and put it on your desk. It’s a reminder of the enormous change that is coming for your industry.
Plus, it’s a funny word. MOIP.
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