In a recent appearance on CNBC’s SquawkBox, the former president of PayPal dived deep into the state of global payments. He discussed the ease with which we can connect with anyone worldwide through messaging apps, with just a phone number acting as the universal identifier. And yet, when it comes to sending money, especially internationally and across different platforms, things are not so smooth.

The ex-PayPal head drew an interesting parallel, noting the current state of global payments is akin to “the old era of fax machines.” This anecdote might surprise some, but when one considers the intricacies and challenges of international monetary transfers, the comparison starts to make sense.

Imagine wanting to send money to a foreign destination. One would typically need to know the recipient’s bank account number, formatted to that specific country’s standards. Then there’s the possible necessity of an in-person bank visit and the potential for sizeable fees. It’s clear the process can feel a bit dated.

Shifting gears to the world of cryptocurrency, the conversation moved to Bitcoin’s role as a potential facilitator of more seamless international payments. Instead of using Bitcoin directly for purchases, the ex-PayPal chief highlighted the potential of using fractions of a Bitcoin on the lightning network. Much like data packets on the internet, these could serve as a conduit for real-time currency exchanges and transfers.

It’s a fascinating world we live in. While fax might not be the communication tool of choice these days, its legacy, as a symbol of a more cumbersome era, lives on in unexpected places.

Bitcoin will bring global payments out of the ‘fax era’ — Ex-PayPal boss
We’re still in the “fax era” when it comes to transferring money overseas, says Lightspark CEO and former PayPal president David Marcus. But he believes Bitcoin’s Lightning network can change that.