Few doubt that cryptocurrency will be the next groundbreaking technology to rattle the world of finance to its core, yet mass adoption seems to elude us.
And so many ask - what is needed to drive the mass adoption of cryptocurrency?
Any considered response to this question would be highly complex, but certain identified conditions will be necessary for mass adoption to take place. The most significant of these conditions are proper regulation and assurance of consumer protection from government, and a more supportive, secure and intuitive experience delivered to investors by the cryptocurrency industry.
In other words, blowing open the doors for mass adoption will require shifting our focus to one critical stakeholder the industry has largely overlooked - the customer.
Let’s look at the first of these conditions: regulation, and with it, proper consumer protection. Governments want regulations in place to be able to track and tax cryptocurrency transactions, and the benefit to consumers in return is better security and accountability when things go wrong. When’s the last time you heard about a stock market or bank being successfully hacked and having funds stolen? Until cryptocurrency investors are offered this same level of protection, banks and other traditional avenues of finance will continue to be wary. Government regulation and oversight will drive greater security and accountability, and is absolutely critical for cryptocurrencies to go mainstream. The good news is that we are already starting to see progress on this front - with G20 nations beginning to draft official regulatory policies related to these digital assets, and the emergence of security tokens and the related security token offering (STO).
The cryptocurrency industry also has a vital role to play in enabling mass adoption. The second necessary condition to be met is a dramatically improved customer experience for owners of cryptocurrency. The experience and support offered to new investors today is dismal. I could insert numerous personal anecdotes here (well punctuated with expletives), but I will summarize by saying that the experience is so bad it has become an insurmountable barrier for entry for the great many and attainable only by the few. In fact, the first experience alone prevents all but the most determined and technically savvy investors from ever being able to enter this new asset class. Accessibility to the masses will require the customer’s experience of buying cryptocurrency to be similar to that of buying stock. This will require a shift in perspective for cryptocurrency exchanges, in terms of what it means to provide customer service.
Meeting these two conditions alone will go a long way to helping cryptocurrencies go mainstream. Governments are doing their part, but so far, the cryptocurrency exchange industry has failed to do theirs. The truth is, they haven’t had to. With Bitcoin exploding into the global consciousness in 2017, the number of people determined to overcome every obstacle in order to acquire it was sufficient to sustain massive growth in user base and revenue. But that growth still represents a small fraction of the available market of investors who would invest in cryptocurrency if the process was easier and not so fraught with peril.
It’s time for the cryptocurrency industry to assume the role that it will play in enabling mass adoption is significant. Bridging the gap between crypto ownership and the average investor is the necessary next step in the maturation of cryptocurrencies as a legitimate asset class.
Like any industry before it, for the cryptocurrency space to become truly mainstream, building the customer’s trust and providing the service and support people want and need is a necessary part of that journey.