The end of this month marks the 10 year celebration of a magnificent invention that I know will play a major role in our future society. On October 31st 2008 the still unknown pseudonymous entity Satoshi Nakamoto sent an email to unveil the first permissionless, censorship resistant and amazing cryptocurrency which he/she/they named Bitcoin. During this decade many exciting events has occurred but it has mostly been contained within the relative small space of us geeks and nerds plus a crew of people that wants to get rich by riding on the volatile waves of the exchange rates.
If this is supposed to be something that changes peoples lives and not fall into oblivion as an obscure software project a couple of use cases needs to emerge and some hurdles needs to be overcome. The service I am most excited about right now is moneybutton.com which has the aim of reducing the procedure of paying someone for something over the internet as “just pressing a button” (well, technically it will be swiping because of reasons). This piece of tech is totally awesome and I can mentally picture every pay wall on the internet having such a button and when that happens the mass adoption is a fact, which opens up all other use cases that will enable Bitcoin (Cash) to become the currency of the modern age.
There are however a couple of obstacles on the road. Some are specific to Money Button, some are specific to Bitcoin Cash (hereby abbreviated as “BCH”) and some are applicable to cryptocurrencies in general.
Let us not kid ourselves. People in general do not know, let alone care, about cryptocurrencies. The reason is simply that there has not been any use case compelling enough for most people to take notice of the phenomenon. There needs to be services that are so awesome that random people is more of less forced into using it because it can solve a problem that can not be solved using the current systems. I believe Money Button will open a door to one of those when a user easily can buy something for, let’s say, $0.10 near instantly by just clicking a button.
One of the hardest things in getting people to use BCH is for people to get BCH. The CEO of Money Button recently outlined the problem in a vlog and gave some ideas on how to smoothly onboard new users. He stressed on some occasions that a lot depends on which jurisdiction the particular user resides in and I can only look at myself and my country (Sweden). Besides signing up on an exchange like Kraken or Coinbase it is very hard getting your hands on BCH and people that isn’t that interested will never ever sign up on one of those services and jump thru all the KYC/AML hoops which takes way to long time and require way to much personal information to be submitted. There are however some opportunities for simpler ways as shown by services like Safello och btcx. Both of these are providing “express” purchases of Bitcoin (“BTC”, the one that is broken… I might get back to that if I get another urge to just write something) and Ether by using the mobile payment Swish and just providing some basic information. There is a cap of 6000 SEK/week (~$600-ish USD) and the fees are somewhere in the ballpark of 4 to 9% but I actually consider that to be a minor problem for the moment since if this actually takes of the fees will be pushed down by market competition and the cap, that I imagine is a regulatory requirement, is fine for the time being. Currently none of those two offers BCH, but I am sure that either “someone” can persuade them or “someone else” starts a new business offering it (market opportunity!).
My point is that I think some kind of parnership with Money Button and similar services is the way forward for smooth onboarding. When the user is signing up on Money Button (hereby “MB”) he or she will be prompted to swish a small amount of money somewhere and by using some APIs between MB and the express exchange the user never needs to provide a wallet address or leave the signup page.
Capital gains is a bitch. This needs to be fixed. Period. Unfortunately I don’t know how, possibly there should be cap on maximum amount until it is considered taxable. I dunno. I know that there are some usable applications to calculate your taxes based on exported data from wherever but that is not good enough. Just the notion of declaring taxes on cryptocurrencies will scare a majority of users.
Under this paragraph I also need to mention the fear of governments killing cryptocurrencies due to the lack of control of the economy that the rulers get. This has happened in some countries and are bound to happen in more. Either by pushing ultra tight regulations or outright ban. Finger crossed I live in a country where politicians can make sane decisions (yeah, right).
Tribalism and community toxicity
This is the most depressing point from my stand point. Since BCH is an open and consensus based system everyone gets a voice but unfortunately it seems like many people just want to shout their opinion for the sake of shouting. Is CSW Satoshi? Until proven otherwise, no. Does it matter? No. Is Roger Ver Satan reincarnated? Who cares? Should the blocksize limit be 32 Mb or 128 Mb? It doesn’t matter at this time. CTOR or TTOR? It doesn’t change how I can use BCH in any way. I can go on for a while… BCH was spawned from one major issue that literally decided what Bitcoin was and how it could and should be used. Beside that there hasn’t been any issue that could possibly cause much agitation and yet one peek at /r/btc/ or by following some of the most influential individuals on Twitter can make it seem like everything depends on any random minor issue. I get that people are passionate but please don’t split the community. Unless something of the magnitude of sticking to a block size that can empirically be seen as too low, BCH will be fine. I am way to tired to to even comment on the juvenile BCH/BTC fuckstorm.
I am, to use a phrase I truly hate, bullish on Bitcoin Cash. Money Button has a lot of potential to be the door opener for wide adoption. Will it make me rich? Nope, I have way to small financial investments in it but that is beside the point. Instead of buying and staring at graphs on coinmarketcap early adopters should be building. Last weeks I contributed a number of patches to Electron Cash which was great fun and, albeit on a very small scale, enriches the eco system. Hopefully I will find the time to do it more. If you are not a coder (or technical person at all) you can still contribute. If you manage to convince one single merchant to accept any cryptocurrency that counts as a bigger contribution then pretty much any post on Twitter.