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Just How Hot Are Virtual Currencies and Mobile Payments?

Zong_logo-140px.jpgTake a look at the Inside Facebook blog and the ads from its sponsors - including Zong, SuperRewards, Allpass, PaymentPin and OfferPal.

Also, notice the survey results discussed in this article - none of the major consumer credit card companies or issuers made the top 10!

Have you signed up to use virtual currency or pay for digital goods using your mobile phone?

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I am always a little leery of surveys in general without understanding who paid for it, the objectives of the sponsors, who was surveyed, etc. This would appear to me to be about Top 10 in Trust/Privacy, not overall trust in the brand. But, regardless, due to the current financial crisis, it is not terribly surprising that FIs are absent. There is a gold rush in the virtual currency/mobile payments field. It reminds me of the early internet commerce days when a new Internet payment gateway company arrived on the scene about every 48 hours or when the concept of ISOs skyrocketed in the late 80s. As usual, there is a need long run for no more than 3 players in any of these categories so it quickly becomes a question of who will survive (and what happens to the balances when they don't?). There are very few barriers to entry in the virtual currency realm. There are a few more in mobile payments to be real, but almost anyone can sign up with the various aggregators, lay a GUI on top and run some ads.

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