The promise of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was to go mainstream and – in essence – create a new medium of exchange that was borderless and completely democratic, but several obstacles still stand in the way. Following up on previous discussions on this exact topic, this article seeks to provide some actionable business advice.

In other words, bitcoin was introduced with the promise to democratize the financial system, but in order to make this a reality several significant issues still need to be addressed. The recent news from Paypal should be seen as encouraging, but crypto native solutions still have room for improvement to lead to wider adoption.

Cryptocurrency was first introduced as an idea and concept that would revolutionize the ability of individuals and institutions to conduct transactions, but that promise has not exactly become reality. Decentralizing access to financial information and financial resources lies at the core of blockchain, but also has served as a headwind to broader adoption. There are an array of issues that remain in terms of cryptoassets, but attempting to solve these issues with a blanket approach is bound to be rife with errors and oversteps.

That said, several specific issues seem to consistently crop up pertaining to widespread adoption across different economic sectors.

Usability. One of the largest problems when it comes to bitcoin and other cryptoassets is that these cryptoassets are not necessarily easy to use on a day-to-day basis. If people are not able to access crypto holdings in a manner that is easy, user friendly, and convenient, it is difficult to see how mass market adoption will occur. Private keys and cold wallets might be common knowledge for individuals involved in the crypto space, but the general non-expert public might not be as comfortable with these components.

The recent launch of the Binance powered debit card and layer-two improvements designed to make Bitcoin easier to use are clear indications that significant efforts are underway in this area. Ease of use, and making crypto as similar to current financial transactions are key factors to help encourage wider utilization.

Interoperability. To have any medium of exchange actually function as a medium of exchange it is important that this item be able to be used, exchanged, and accounted for on an easy-to-understand basis. In other words, for any cryptoasset to actually be used as a fiat alternative it will need to be able to interact and work with other existing technology systems. For example, how simple will it be use a cryptoasset to go shopping, buy groceries, or conduct any other transactions versus fiat currencies?

Specifically, the key to broader adoption is to break down the silos that have sprung up in the blockchain space, akin to how the Internet evolved from a walled-garden model to a more open source platform. Being able to swap crypto information between different networks is key to spurring further innovation; projects like R3 Corda, SIAchain, and IBM
IBM
Hyperledger Fabric are simply a few of the examples of how interoperability is moving to the forefront.

Bifurcating the marketplace. Technical specifications connected to cryptoassets may make perfect sense to those individuals familiar with, or veterans of, the space, but there does seem to be need for different levels and types of cryptoassets. Just like not every person that uses the U.S. dollar needs to have a detailed understanding of the federal banking system, it is unrealistic to expect every individual, small business owner, or investor will want to be required to understand the nuances of different cryptoasset tools and options. Linking back to the first point, usability, there seems to be a need for consumer oriented products as well as for products more applicable for use by institutional clients.

This is already occurring; in addition to the thousands of cryptoassets currently being traded, different use cases have already led to increased differentiation. From truly decentralized crypto like bitcoin, there are now stablecoins (whose market capitalization is measured in the billions), as well as the accelerating investment into the development of central bank digital currencies. Far from being negative, as critics of centralized options would state, these developments are another sign of maturity and growth.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may have been designed to replace and serve as an alternative to fiat currencies, but that idea has not quite lived up to its promise. Yet. Taking a handful of steps toward solving a few of the issues standing in the way of broader adoption can lead to dramatic benefits across the board in terms of both functionality and adoption.

The future of money is digital and most likely will have some crypto component, that much is clear, and while there are questions as to what the final form will be, it is important for everyone to be engaged and proactive participants in the process.

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