Cryptocurrency advocates often ponder over mass adoption. But in truth, the usability of cryptocurrency, or lack of, presents a significant hurdle for no-coiners. On top of fears over security and the association with illicit activities, mass adoption will remain a distant fantasy unless it gets easier to buy, store and use cryptocurrency.
Crypto Is Full Of Scammers
Today, blockchain puts us at the cusp of a technological revolution, but everyday people are put off by its complexity. The good news, however, is that this is typical behavior. After all, when the internet first came out, it was also the reserve of “techies,” yet decades later has become ubiquitous.
All the same, one issue that presents a problem is the scam reputation that cryptocurrency has amongst the general population. This alone is enough to turn tentative interest into outright rejection. And with CiperTrace reporting thefts, scams, and fraud totaling $1.2 billion in Q1 2019, it’s easy to understand why many outsiders feel this way.
Ciphertrace Q1 Anti Money Laundering report out today – https://t.co/qQBq5HK8jL
— nickfx (@nickfx) May 1, 2019
As well as that, the “shadowy” nature of cryptocurrencies doesn’t help the cause. And the fact is, criminals, do favor the remote and (semi) anonymous properties of transacting in crypto. On this point, economist, Joseph Stiglitz called for cryptocurrencies to be shut down. Speaking to CNBC, he said:
“I think we can actually have a better regulated economy if we had all the data in real time, knowing what people are spending.”
Responsibility Of Crypto Is Too Much For Some
As much as early adopters value the independence of a trustless system, in reality, most people want an intermediary. Without a third party layer of protection against loss of private keys, fraud, and mistakes, having sole responsibility for managing your cryptocurrencies can be a frightening prospect for some.
And third parties, such as banks, offer a convenient solution in sorting out mistakes. Being able to call a number and speak to someone, who will immediately deal with your problem, provides a level of reassurance that doesn’t exist in crypto. With that in mind, perhaps the mainstream isn’t ready for the responsibility that comes with being your own financial custodian.
Mass Adoption Will Come
But then again, Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, thinks it’s only a matter of time. In a recent AMA, he spoke about volatility, scalability, and usability as the obstacles to mass adoption.
In terms of volatility, Armstrong cited the increasing use of stablecoins as a way to offer price stability. He also addressed scalability by talking about the development of the Lightning Network, which he sees as rivaling Visa for TPS one day. However, he was less optimistic about usability, admitting that the space faces many challenges in this respect. He said:
“[On apps] it’s still too complicated to go there. To be able to sign in to your wallet, whether that’s a Chrome extension or on mobile. It should work like WeChat, or something like that. Where when you go to the app, it already knows who you are, and it has your payment method already attached. And with one tap you can complete an action or pyament. So we need to get that useability simplier, and simplier and simplier.