The demo was nice, even though i did not understand any of the crypto. Although, to be fair, i didn't even try :-)
One important take away for me was that this project aims to replace paypal, not bitcoin. Its target is to establish an open source payment infrastructure that is better than paying with credit cards, paypal, etc...
The banking sector in the US is a mosaic of banks and credit unions running a wide variety of debit networks, with ACH vaguely tying them all together. I wish it was easier to move money between banks here, seems like the quickest way is to write a check!
My friend took a withdrawal in cash. He handed me the money. I walked over to the machine and deposited it.
Makes sense if you look at it sideways.
I arrived in Seattle and at the BoA branch there they said they didn't recognize BoA of New York. I couldn't deposit into the WA branch. I could write myself a check and it would be processed with the reduced speed of a check from an out of state bank.
I'd have thought it simple without even walking into the bank...
Usually it'd be faster if it was within the same bank, but even then there was often no guarantee it'd be same day.
If you wanted a fast transfer, withdrawing and depositing the cash again was the fastest option for many combinations of accounts until just a few years ago.
I log on their site, i see both accounts under my login, i just transfer money from one to another. Two. Business. Days.
It is probably the maximum amount of time they can get away with. Because there is an obvious benefit for the bank to delay. They can use your money as their security longer. They can charge you late fees. etc.
If the US gov would put some weight behind it, the US could easily catch up.
My SEPA transfer to a UK account always takes 2-3 days according to the service provider (can't vouch for that, maybe it's the provider who's slow but they are a small IT company so ...).
(I think Finland is +0. Germany and France probably not, for various cultural differences ️)
Once I tested that I was able to do a zero day transfer from a German bank to the Netherlands and then to another German bank. The same without the Dutch intermediary was a day slower.
The fact that there is an arbitrary money amount shows it's more of a fraud cutoff than a real limit.
In the mean time the credit on your account is debited a 'float' account that accumulates any debt to other banks or third party payment system. Each fast payment system also typically have a reserved amount deposited as a guarantee in the event that a bank runs out of money.
It's a real cost to reserve money so there is a restriction on the sums.
Can the central banks speed up the settlement? Yes probably, but it's a lot of work to do.
Bitcoin blocks will always be ~10 minutes, if you pay the fee to get into the next block, it'll be 10 minutes until your payment is confirmed, before that, all the nodes will announce it anyway so 0 conf is much faster.
On top of that, if you want to pay less than a certain transaction fee (right now it's $1.62) you probably won't get into the next block, see https://bitcoinfees.github.io. Recall that 1 block = 20 minutes and add that on top of the confirmation time.
 https://blockchain.info/block/0000000000000000005f0e639f66af... look at the Timestamps of this block and the Previous Block
 https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf page 8
 https://bitcoinfees.21.co/ (a satoshi is 0.00000001 BTC, 10,000 satoshi is 40 cents right now)
Users don't want to play a complicated expensive, impossible to win game in order to get their payments processed in a known timeframe.
It's taken forever, but I'm hopeful with the big banks getting onboard Zele for person-to-person payments we may see something similar to the push-based systems other countries have for making everyday transactions online someday.
If you don't have a participating bank, things get a little more annoying since you can still use the service on its own by registering an account and tying your checking account to it - then the classic 3rd-party intermediary problem comes in. On that note though, Zelle is owned by big banks, Bank of America, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, etc., so even as sleazy as the banks are I have a lot more faith in them not screwing it up (they don't like fraud, and they want you to keep your money with them - even as greedy as they are).
In all honesty, it's probably the best setup we have for Person-to-Person transfers in the US - as more banks and credit unions adopt it you'll hopefully just open the app for your bank of choice on your phone and initiate a payment, no third party trying to take a cut, you call the bank you (hopefully) already trust for support, and as a result you remove one more account tied to your banking information that can be compromised to steal your money.
With Zelle, everything is done through your participating bank. So customer service is managed through your bank, and fraud is probably the same way.
You register with Zelle through your bank, which means your bank associates your email and / or phone number with your account within the Zelle system. After being associated, other people with a participating bank can send you money using that email or phone number. The money is instantly deducted from the sender's account, and is typically in the receiver's account within minutes or hours. Since you can only initiate payments through Zelle and not withdraws, fraud is likely managed the same as wires or bill pay.
(I closed my account with them soon thereafter. Citizens' is awful for other reasons.)
But yes, we never really got on the 'pay via bank' train like was done in much of europe in the postwar period, this has impact of how things transitioned to digital payments..
Conversely, we have much more established credit issuing infrastructure, it is not uncommon for even teenagers to have a credit card (not just debit)..
Cash is popular here too, many of the grocers I work with see 40% to 60% of their revenue in cash, though that market segment has discouraged check use (with the exception of Costco).
Digital payments have replaced the majority of checks.
EMV was also much more rapidly and properly deployed as compared to the US, where some javacard applets just give a static code instead of a rolling code. We have literally hundreds of banks and credit unions, plus a few thousand payment processing resellers all fighting to hold back progress in the payments industry here.
Plus, inside the Eurozone+Friends, you can use SEPA payments across borders, and it is very cheap or even free.
I guess it isn't even limited to national retailers, the independent grocer here does it too, I guess because it is worthwhile for them to pay for it.
I mean, it really just saves the headache of taking the checks to the bank to be deposited. These machines scan the account information on the check, initiate an ACH debit and print the details on the check for the customer's reference.
We do something similar when patients remit payment to us by mailing a check, we have a third-party service that provides us with check scanners that do a similar job - but instead they scan the payment amount off the check and then initiate the ACH debit, they keep an image of the check and we destroy the original copies. Makes life a lot easier, especially since we have dozens of bank accounts these checks get posted to based on what legal entity the money needs to be allocated to.
From a UK POV, this is completely alien to me as a concept.
Bill Pay services will try to convert the transaction to an ACH push if the service you are paying is set up for it, saves the bank money and lets them keep it in your account (earning them money) for longer. They will always fail back to cutting a check though.
Also, almost every Chinese restaurant or Ramen place had Cash Only signs.
Its no wonder so many businesses don't take credit cards or debit.
Electronic transfers enjoy a certain priority also, direct deposit, wire transfer, cash or check deposit at atm or branch are all different for different banks. In other words, it is a vague description when things clear. Some banks are better to their customers some are not so much. I live in the US.
An improvement is most certainly welcome and appreciated.
Well actually if you read the initial paper from Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin was invented as a replacement for paypal, not money :
> Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payment 
But bitcoin became really popular among the libertarian movement which hated the Fed and other central banks because they saw them as threats to freedom, and now people mostly think about bitcoin as a replacement for money.
 : https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
However, as far as i can see there is no bank offering a backend yet. Hopefully that will change soon.
It would have been great if the taler system had been usable at SHA 2017. We had to use weird, cheap and easily falsifiable plastic coins at the food court. Using taler instead would have been a really great tech demo...