If you take a step back and look around the crypto space, it may seem like we’re married to our coins. You’re kinda right. We’d like nothing more than to see cryptocurrencies take off, all the way to the moon. We see moments when it feels like it’s going to happen. We catch our breaths and our hearts start to beat faster. This is it; this is the moment. But then, like so many times before, it doesn’t happen. We’re not legally married to our coins. It’s more like we’ve been left at the altar.
Why do we feel like we’ve been left waiting at the altar? What’s the problem? What’s wrong with us? To which, the economic world answers, “It’s not you, it’s me.” We say, “What does that mean?” They say, “It’s complicated.”
And it is complicated. There are a lot of complexities to something so ambitious as to compete with the strongest global fiat and the most sophisticated banking system the world has ever seen. For example, we don’t have the necessary government regulations in place to allow crypto to work as intended with consumer safety, a plausible infrastructure, and crypto payment processing. For the love of Satoshi, just keeping track of crypto you own can be a nightmare. Like I said, it’s complicated. It’s these complications that illustrate the major issue: user experience.
It’s been said that where crypto is today is where the internet was in 1996. Under a quarter of a century later, the internet runs our thermostats and talks to our cats’ litterboxes. How did that happen? Well, we received government regulations. We developed the infrastructure. But none of that would have happened if we hadn’t had millions of people using the darn thing. You see, when the internet became user-friendly, the rest of the world understood what the computer geeks had believed for years, the universal utility of the internet.
That’s where we are right now with cryptocurrencies. We’ve exchanged cyberpunks for cypherpunks, and we believe wholeheartedly that crypto will also evolve into a universal utility. We push for government acceptance and support people innovating in the crypto space. However, just like with the internet, those things aren’t going to move toward mass adoption until the experience becomes user-friendly.
I’ve experienced this same thing. Jumping into the crypto world, it became almost all I thought about. I became a believer. Bitcoin climbed out of the bear market, and I regretted every day not buying in earlier. And yet, I still don’t own any bitcoin. Why?
Like I said before, it’s complicated. Too complicated. First off, which crypto should I buy? I’d like to buy Bitcoin, but Ethereum looks really interesting. What about Zcash or Litecoin? Dogecoin is a joke, right? And there are hundreds of others.
Once I decide to buy some bitcoin, how do I store it? I don’t want someone to hack my wallet and steal my coins. I would also like to avoid being one of those stories where I forget the keys and lose access to my wallet. There’s a lot of talk about hardware wallets, but those can be hacked, too.
My goal with raising these concerns isn’t to provide answers, but to say that it’s really hard to navigate this space, even for someone who has spent hundreds of hours researching it. How do we get to the “thermostats and litterboxes” stage of the relationship? If we want mass adoption, the most crucial innovation lies with user experience.
As I’ve dug into these questions, I’m finding what fits my needs. Granted there are pros and cons to each exchange, coin, or wallet. That is ok. In any scenario, find what suits your own situation. Our separate needs aside, we all deserve to be able to easily access cryptocurrencies, use those currencies to buy goods, and have clear insights on how and where to buy more coins. Once again, it’s all about the user experience.
Once user experience for cryptocurrencies has lowered the barrier of entry by simplifying the purchase and use of coins, you’ll hear the wedding bells ring. The groom will show up, and users from all over the world, banked and unbanked, will flock to the wedding. Until something like this exists, the road to mass adoption is going to be plagued with Bitconnects and Mt. Goxs, bubbles and crashes, disinformation and government disinterest. So, on behalf of everyone just getting to the party, let’s raise a glass to all those companies out there developing solutions to this very complicated problem. Cheers.