Getting bitcoin to mass adoption

All new technologies have a unique path to mass adoption. For some the path is relatively smooth for others it’s an uphill battle. The difficulty of its adoption could be said to be based on how disruptive to an existing system it is.

The most seasoned technology observers will tell you that no other innovation has seen a hype cycle like what Bitcoin (perhaps the most popular cryptocurrency) is going through at the moment.

The hype cycle is not scientific and is not meant to be predictive but it is a useful guideline for gauging what the informed public opinion is. The cycle, using Gartner’s famous model, usually starts from the technology trigger – the point at which the technology is first introduced – followed by the peak of inflated expectations as adopters over-emphasise the new technology’s benefits. Due to this over-emphasis, the next thing to happen is the inevitable trough of disillusionment, where the expectations are corrected and brought in line with reality.

This is followed by the slope of enlightenment, during which some uses are identified for the technology, marking the beginning of widespread adoption. The final stage in the hype cycle is the plateau of productivity, where users become accustomed to the technology and its benefits are accepted as the norm.

For Bitcoin, the trigger was the launch in 2009 and the peak of inflated expectations was in 2016-17 when prices exploded and everyone was keen to jump on the bandwagon. Many commentators believe that Bitcoin is now in the trough of disillusionment. Some have even said that price volatility may be an indication of public sentiment, with reports of scams and unrealistic promises putting off some serious investors.

More Use Cases And Growing Acceptance

Some other commentators believe that cryptocurrencies are going through the slope of enlightenment, with growing acceptance and use cases across industries. For example, in Africa, cryptocurrencies are emerging as a viable option for making the newly-signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) more effective. By providing a range of viable options for secure cross-border payments, cryptocurrencies are gaining acceptance across the continent. 

Traditional financial services companies are also rolling out institutional Bitcoin trading services. Various organisations are looking into how they could use Bitcoin to improve their businesses. For example, people are starting to use Bitcoin to solve problems, such as those linked to credit card fraud in the airline industry. The price is now linked to the value of the technology, not just hype. Cryptocurrencies, in general, are also improving and becoming more usable – cheaper, faster and safer.

The Impact of Facebook Libra

Along with the increased acceptance and use cases, there is also the announcement of Facebook Libra and the impact that is bound to have on global perceptions. With Facebook’s universality, there is reason to believe that the new currency will bring the much-heralded benefits of cryptocurrencies to more people than ever before.

When the conversation around cryptocurrencies first started, there was a level of uncertainty around its credibility and whether or not it should be taken seriously. However, with use cases more widely available, there are reasons to believe that mass adoption is just around the corner.

At this point, the only likely hindrance to mass adoption would be an inability to see the point or understand the potential benefits of adopting cryptocurrencies. This is why access to comprehensive, accurate information that anyone can understand without knowing the finer details of the technology is very important. If we are able to successfully make this happen, we might just be one step closer to delivering on the promise of cryptocurrencies.

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Featured image from Coin Revolution

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