The barrier to entry into cryptocurrency will always hinge on its ability to be intuitive. This is single-handedly the most critical factor in the adoption and growth of Bitcoin (and alts) in the world today. Cryptocurrency is an incredibly complicated and difficult thing to explain in a short period of time. It’s hard to think of where to even appropriately start trying to explain it all. There is hardware, software, finance, economics, algorithms and that’s just truly surface level entry.
We will see true mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency worldwide once someone is able to package Bitcoin (or an alt) into an elegant and intuitive set of hardware and software. The recipe is there. So let’s look at what don’t we need to flood potential new adopters with. It’s not important to teach an end user non-mission critical core components. This means that the Blockchain, mining, or even day trading can be bypassed.
The hardest part for many of us is keeping perspective of the world at large around us. We know what these things are on various levels of proficiency. As we’ve been in “the game” for some time, we take a lot of these things for granted. We have mistakenly been led to believe that the 18-35 male is the key demographic that determines whether products fail and where adoption will take hold. Intel researcher Genevieve Bell destroyed that notion in her “Big Ideas” talk. Girls in that age group dominate the boys. From her research, it was discovered that girls use the internet 17% more, they are more likely to use their phone and location based services. They send more text messages and have become the largest user base on Skype. They are the vast majority owners of internet enable devices, and they dominate every social network except LinkedIn.
The point is fairly straight forward and simple. We must start considering how we are positioned, with whom are we positioned and how we present ourselves to our customer. Right now, our end user is the stereotypical 18-35 male. If we want adoption, we must pivot. In order to do this effectively, we must package it in a way that appeals to the target demographic, we must streamline the user experience and make it social. These things currently seem to be ignored by all of us.
Perhaps the some Bitcoiners and those in various altcoin groups don’t want their coin to grow their adoption and become mainstream. I am sure there are a lot of people in the space that prefer it staying small, underground and hipster-esque. For those that do want it to grow, the future is clear. We must evolve. We must put a lot of effort into UI/UX and understanding of our key demographic. If the Bitcoin Foundation wanted to prove it’s holds any value, it’d hire a branding professional and a marketing professional to put together a package that makes sense for the whole community of Bitcoin. Bitcoin might be “decentralized” but from the outside, we’re one big unit. We need to send a clear message with a simpler product that the target demographic can pick up and understand in minutes instead of months. Until we start doing these things, we will continue playing the Chinese fiat game ad nauseam.
On the flip side of it, there is tremendous opportunity for an altcoin that is naturally going to be small and centralized to accomplish the things Bitcoin never could. With small dedicated teams working in unison, it’s possible to build apps that are seamlessly integrated into desktop wallets and websites. It’s possible to create a universe that is intuitive cross-platform if everyone is working to solve these problems together.
This quote takes us as far as we need to go, “if it requires an instruction booklet, it was poorly designed.”