The personal computer was invented during 1975 but didn’t see mainstream adoption until around 1990. The Internet was commercially available during the early 1990’s but didn’t see mainstream adoption for about another ten years. New evolutions in technology generally go through cycles. There is the developing stage where the technology is created, then there is the stage where new adopters envision future potential use cases and finally there is the adoption phase where it goes mainstream and everyone (including my mom) starts using the technology. The big question as to when crypto will break out into the mainstream is a simple one: will crypto pass the mom test, and what are the roadblocks we need to overcome to get there?
Though it seems like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been all over the news for a few years now, the movement is really still in its infancy. 2017 brought tremendous growth in the blockchain industry (and market capitalization). The fact remains that still only a small percentage of the global population owns any sort of cryptocurrency.
One issue surrounding cryptocurrencies is that they aren’t easy to spend. Services already exist for converting cryptocurrencies into fiat currency, but this defeats the intended purpose of a cryptocurrency. If a consumer needs to exchange their crypto into fiat currency to spend it they are paying transfer fees and making the process a lot harder than it needs to be. Getting merchants to accept cryptocurrencies is the first step. However, one of the reasons merchants don’t want to accept large volumes of cryptocurrencies is due to the fluctuating price. Knowing that their cryptocurrencies value can plummet overnight is keeping adoption from going global. Stablecoins like StableUSD can help bridge this gap. If transactions were done in stablecoins that was pegged to a specific fiat dollar, this would eliminate the need to convert your cryptocurrencies and would allow a thriving marketplace to evolve where stablecoins become the payment platform of choice for sending payments back and forth.
Eliminating the need to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat also opens up the door to applications that make it easy for anyone to use cryptocurrencies. Right now, if you wanted to receive or spend crypto you would need to learn how to setup a digital wallet and properly store your private keys and passwords. Then you would need to register with an exchange where you can purchase cryptocurrencies for fiat. Finally, you would have to send your crypto to a receiving address, making sure you didn’t mistakenly type in a wrong letter or number in the receiving address or your money is gone forever. Future cryptocurrency applications will focus on a decentralized platform that is so simple and intuitive anyone can use it. Think of a decentralized Venmo/Paypal platform that individuals can send stablecoins or other forms of crypto to a friend or merchant without a deep understanding of how the blockchain works. This will open the door for anyone to use cryptocurrencies much like the early web browsers made it easy for anyone to browse the internet by typing in a domain name into the address bar instead of having to memorize IP addresses.
The world of cryptocurrency is evolving as rapidly as any other technological advancement we have ever experienced. These decentralized technologies have the potential to upend everything we thought we knew about the nature of financial assets. Tackling the issues of price fluctuation and ease of use can truly help it go mainstream and allow my Mom to give my little brother his next allowance in crypto.
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