A professor emailed me the link of this “promotional video” from master card. He asked me to give a professional analysis of this video because he finds that “other writers do not have that objective capacity as an academic educated man or woman will show when writing an article”.
Most of these kinds of videos hold more information than just what is being said. We did one about the Bill Gates interview a couple of months back. The placement of the speaker, the environment, the person that is actually doing the talking, the background, etc. all have a meaning and are a contributing factor in message delivery.
Set-up: before the speech
The first thing that is obvious to everyone is the big sign of Mastercard in the background. This is a 2 fold message: 1) the logo, placement etc. gives the speaker the air of authority and is speaking for mastercard. 2) Regardless what is being claimed, the speaker will only do what is best for Mastercard, not its customers (unless they are heavy weights). This is further substantiated by the micro-expressions when the speaker is telling the viewers that “We at mastercard have the best interests of our customers and mastercard users at heart”. Granted micro expressions are a very hard thing to determine and aren’t always accurate, however in this case it is, especially if one looks at the tone, the setting, the message, etc.
Another item that is important is the setting. This “rant against Bitcoin” is set in a white environment. White is a traditional color that signifies “purity” in nearly every society in the world. For this case it signifies that “mastercard is a trustworthy business that is safe to use”, which is another little “white lie” on the part of Mastercard.
There are other, more complex signs, which I will not go into detail (video angle, position speaker vs mastercard sign, etc), but let’s move on to the speaker shall we? The speaker is smartly dressed and appears to look trustworthy at a first glance. From the blue jacket to the, again white shirt and a bit colourful tie that closely resembles the color scheme of Mastercard; everything is lined up to influence the viewer before anything is being said. This is just a “mise-en-scene”, like most of these so called “warning”, “cautionary”, or like I like to call them “rant videos in a nice suit” are composed.
We can conclude that this whole “mise-en-scene” is an attempt to create an air of “authority”, “respect”, etc. to give more weight to what they are going to say in the video. This is equal to the theatre when they are setting up the environment with the props so that all one need now is the actor to take the stage. So let the “spectacle” begin, or in this case the video which is the same thing.
What is communicated without saying a word?
Some people might think: “What is he talking about”? The answer is body language. Note that the speakers head isn’t looking straight at the camera but angled down a bit. This is a less dominant posture and can be viewed as being “truthful”. It is the “ I am confessing that I ate a cookie when you are gone” posture, which implies that he or she is going to state things truthful. I would give an A for the idea but an F for execution.
Other micro expressions are when the speaker is talking about Bitcoin. You can see the subtle nose flare, the lifting of the lips (though it is hard to see) when talking about Bitcoin, etc that is very poorly hidden. These are all indicators that the speaker is completely disgusted by Bitcoin and digital currencies and what they stand for.
The purpose of this video and what is being said in the body language is equally, some might say more revealing, than what is being said. Body language is very hard to fake and as you watch the video link about body language you will see just why that is. Now the real purpose is to portray Mastercard as a “goods, strong reliable business”, in a sense self-promoting the business. This is done because for over more than a year, the banks and others in the financial sector are trying to understand Bitcoin and the blockchain technology.
This video has obviously been recorded at different time periods, as you can see when looking closely at the speakers’ beard, the changing lights and positions of the spots on the speakers face, etc. Also the intonation is so interesting to hear. “the SECURITY” the speaker uttered once at time index 2.30 was so obviously coached.
What is being said in the video
“The need of trust and security is paramount when you put some new payment method on the market…. Bitcoin is solely concentrating on the anonymity of its users”.
Very true and yes some web sites have had security issues but NOT Bitcoin itself. Of course there have been slight adjustments and course corrections but that is the same with every company. Hell even the high and mighty Sony with their excellent security has been hacked on occasion (from the Playstation network to the latest hacks that allegedly being linked to Sony’s upcoming movie about the North Korean leader)
Furthermore the speaker implies that Bitcoin isn’t safe or is something shady. Seriously that dance and song has been going on a while now without giving real evidence that backs up those claims. Let’s see how many times mastercard have reported breaches of their servers or hack attacks. It is the internet/cyberspace, where nothing is truly safe. Now if you could use some storage device to save data and disconnect it when transactions have been done. Wait Bitcoin already has this in the form of cold storage devices. Some of these devices you need to have multiple keys to access the stored account. So on safety Bitcoin and certain cold storage devices have a leg up.
Like usual, the critics miss the whole blockchain idea. It is OPENNESS and better anonymity than one has in the banking world or when using mastercard. Every transaction is registered on the Blockchain and thus every transaction it is searchable. As such there isn’t anonymity as being “entirely anonymous” but it is more like being semi-anonymous or partly anonymous. This means that if someone really wants to sift through the evidence that they may find your BTC address and look up your transaction on said BTC address. Users can implement more security and anonymity by using various tools, like a vpn for example, which might hide your true location.
“Bitcoin hasn’t got any intrinsic value… it is not stable… and serve a purpose that isn’t necessarily clear”.
What is this “intrinsic value” the speaker is talking about? Well intrinsic value has a couple of meanings. The first is: “The actual value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of its true value including all aspects of the business, in terms of both tangible and intangible factors. This value may or may not be the same as the current market value. Value investors use a variety of analytical techniques in order to estimate the intrinsic value of securities in hopes of finding investments where the true value of the investment exceeds its current market value.
For example, value investors that follow fundamental analysis look at both qualitative (business model, governance, target market factors etc.) and quantitative (ratios, financial statement analysis, etc.) aspects of a business to see if the business is currently out of favour with the market and is really worth much more than its current valuation”.
The second one is: “For call options, this is the difference between the underlying stock’s price and the strike price. For put options, it is the difference between the strike price and the underlying stock’s price. In the case of both puts and calls, if the respective difference value is negative, the intrinsic value is given as zero.
“Intrinsic value in options is the in-the-money portion of the option’s premium. For example, If a call options strike price is $15 and the underlying stock’s market price is at $25, then the intrinsic value of the call option is $10. An option is usually never worth less than what an option holder can receive if the option is exercised.”
Now I think the speaker wants us to bamboozle us with fancy words that make no sense when describing Bitcoin. Bitcoin isn’t a company or a share that is give in out by “the Bitcoin company”. In the simplest terms Bitcoin is a currency that is decentralised. It isn’t run by a country or an institution, but by the community itself, with a nice wink to the “we the people” speeches.
Now another misconception is that currencies are stable. Every currency has fluctuations, a number of different factors that are in play, just as we saw last week with the rouble. Besides dealing in stocks, shares and commodities like I have you come to realise that nothing is truly “stable”. Furthermore Bitcoin, like other digital currencies, is a currency. This means you can use it to purchase items from vendors, invest it in start-ups, etc. basically you can do the same things with Bitcoin as you can do with other currencies. However Bitcoin is different because it is: much faster, is worldwide, safe and secure (for the most part), not controlled by an “institution” or government, allows for creative innovations to take place, is transparent, a democratic currency in every sense of the word, etc.
Now you can also argue that our salaries, the items we buy on amazon or alibaba are also being paid with virtual currencies, be it euros, roubles, dollars, and other currencies are also digital currencies. What I mean by that is that there isn’t a “real coin or cash “involved that you take out of your physical wallet and give it to the amazon or alibaba employee so you can pick up your item(s).
“We focus on the retailers where 85% of retailer transactions are in cash… Bitcoin is against our working method that we employ in our company: they are against free trade, security etc”.
So are you admitting to us all that mastercard is “dropping the ball” a bit since only 15% is using a credit card? Maybe that is because mastercard is just charging so many percentages that it isn’t profitable for businesses? Shouldn’t you putting a bit more effort in damage control and promoting your company instead of trying (and failing) to attack Bitcoin?
Recent academic studies have shown that around 45% of the world population actually uses credit cards, which leaves 55% or the majority of the world population that doesn’t use any credit cards. A couple of the main reasons that are given why is that credit cards are prone to be stolen, hacked, etc and it does take a very long time to recuperate your lost money. Another reason is that if a business doesn’t accept credit cards ( I know some small and large businesses alike here in Europe that absolutely do not accept mastercard transaction) and you have to pay cash for the articles you want or go and shop elsewhere. Yet another reason is that some credit card terminals are so expensive to hire or to buy and the helpdesk, when faced with problems, are more problematic that actually helpful.
When researchers asked the people that do not use a credit card some responded with” it is a plastic card. I can’t buy anything with that. I pay with cash and that is the end of it. I do not want to get some bill at the end of the month”. For these persons the intrinsic value or the general value of a credit card is 0.
The second part of the claims that “Bitcoin is evil and not what it seems to be” and after that trying to extrapolate Bitcoin characteristics to mastercard is a pitiful and is a sign that mastercard is getting desperate. But not to worry the rant gets progressively worse after that.
“Cash is the root of everything illegal shady etc”. Yes agreed cash has been and always will be linked with criminal behaviour. Not because it is something that you can touch and feel but because it is a currency, a valid payment method. Credit cards are also being used to buy drugs, criminal activities, supporting government sanctioned terror attacks, etc. The same can be said with diamonds ( look at the blood diamonds), emeralds, precious metals, etc. Illegal activities aren’t exclusive to physical or digital payment methods; it is imbedded in every payment method. Let us not forget who were the instigators of the financial crisis and those people used digital currencies (in the form of euros and the likes to transfer van one account to others) and physical currencies as well.
Now we are ending the analysis here because the silliness and inaccuracies begin to stack up quite heavily so we are going to jump to the conclusion part of the analysis. Otherwise thsi article will continue to swell to unmanageable proportions.
The main purpose of this video is to warn people not to use Bitcoin or other digital currencies, regardless that most of our money and pay check and bank accounts are digital. However mastercards video fails to captivate their audience, at least on youtube. Only 34 people gave a “thumbs up” while nearly 1500 people gave a “thumbs down” vote.
The underlying reason is that mastercard is feeling the very hot breath of the Bitcoin dragon in its neck and they are concerned. Most of their critique on Bitcoin/digital currencies (though the speaker and mastercard do not know the distinction)is concerning “security, transparency, reliability, trust, etc. Everything Bitcoin and the Blockchain technology stand for, as do most of the other digital currencies like Litecoin and Dogecoin if we should name a few.
The fact that most banks have been looking into the Bitcoin and blockchain phenomena for over a year now hasn’t gone unnoticed. The banks do not want to lose their customers to the competition and they finally realise that innovation must be on the front page in order to keep their place in society.
Furthermore Blockchain and digital currency, though one might argue that mastercard is also “digital currency based because no actual physical coins or cash are being exchanged in transactions since everything is digitally processed, have clear advantages over the already established money transfer systems and payment methods (like western Union and credit card operators).
So the real reason is that these companies feel threatened and the options to these companies are limited. On the one side you have the banking system that is desperately searching to update their hopelessly ancient systems to a more modern way of doing business. These companies can either: attack and try to convince the system of banks that “their way is still the safest way” (mainly by releasing these videos and other media stunts like naming Bitcoin with criminal organisation they “found” or some such feeble attempt)
Now the poor speaker and his groomed speech that we completely trashed will be thinking “whoa that dude has a seriously pissed off at me”. The fact is I’m not pissed off and I do sympathise with your situation. A smart man forced to choose between a rock and a hard place. You could have refused to do the video but the company would not have looked favourably at that decision. So you let yourself be used as a marionette while mastercard is pulling your strings. Clearly everything was orchestrated to discredit digital currencies in general and Bitcoin in particular.
We know that mastercard isn’t a bad company and that the speaker, Mr. Matthew Driver, is probably not a bad human being. Now we do not believe that Mr. Driver is saying these things out of his own free will. his expressions when speaking screams out: “I don’t want to say this but I must”. Its either that or he was in a big smelly room, which is highly unlikely.What makes people react is the fact that video’s like this are a misrepresentation of the facts. Most of these statements are just unconfirmed. Shouldn’t it be better to really drive your points through on the how, the why, etc. you find that Bitcoin and other digital currencies are what you say they are? Maybe consider some evidence to back it up, which requires good studies on the subject and maybe then you will see what Bitcoin and digital currency is all about.
On a closing note, we at Bitcoinist, welcome mastercard or Mr Mathew Driver to sit down with us and do an interview with us. This could be educational for both parties and a dialog and the learning process can get started up. people fear what they do not understand. Only by educating and offering information that fear will ebb away, or like the Latin phrase goes: Scientia vincere tenebras.