ICOs are a great engine of growth but they do not achieve our ultimate goal: adoption of cryptocurrency by the masses. We can put stuff on a disk and put it on another computer? Wow! After we were hooked, we started learning heuristics for the things we’d need to master to get more out of the experience. Some of us started learning how to make simple animations and games. The computer was at first a toy then a tool.
Right now, the equivalent of the command line are things like wallet addresses, private keys, cold storage, and other obfuscating elements. A year ago I claimed that we needed a Steve Jobs in this space. Even if regular people were to learn all the terms of art, master using the exchanges, grow comfortable with identity verification and currency exchange rates, and accept the long wait times in transferring fiat in/out, we’d still have a problem that would keep the bulk of the planet off the blockchain in a meaningful way: risk.
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With cryptocurrencies, the existential threat of losing everything is still there. The best way to deal with risk, at least at the start however, is to try to eliminate it. We must not treat crypto like a competitive currency at least not now. Instead we must treat it like a reward, something new. We must allow people to buy it, but also allow folks to earn it, with their time, effort, attention, with non-monetary capital.
There are folks that are on a rewards-oriented path: Steemit, Brave, Bitwalking, Metal and others. The success of these products is dependent on ultimately hooking the masses via a rewards-based introduction – points, miles, cash back – these are notions we all get, just like I did 30 years ago with writing, drawing and reading on the Mac.
But the final step requires users to make that leap from rewards to currency for this revolution to get to the next level. And for that goal, I – a true believer – am very hopeful with this recent wave.
That said, I still have one hesitation. All of these solutions make progress on the various complexities and issues surrounding adoption. It can show the value of the new currency in terms of fiat, but even currency earned through effort will be at risk of losing credibility and lasting power.
Sure, we could be at the start of a fiat currency collapse and not even know it, as the market cap of crypto currency rockets up. This may even be good for the whole system. Not the ones with the most speculative upside or interesting “applications.” We’ll know we’ve “won” when a cryptocurrency becomes woven into the daily lives of the majority of people on earth. That people recognize finally that the fiat they know is also volatile and purchasing power is dynamic and ever changing, and cryptocurrency has many other benefits the analog doesn’t have.