The question of how to encourage mainstream adoption of digital currencies was discussed in a panel on Wednesday, 26th March, as part of day two of CoinSummit San Francisco.
The session was moderated by David Lee of SV Angel.
How can consumers get bitcoin?
That may seem like a simple question, but it's one that bitcoin aficionados are asked often, even five years into the construction of an ecosystem that many are predicting could have the massive, lasting impact of the Internet.
The CoinSummit panel "Bitcoin for the masses - How to get Bitcoin in the hands of millions of people?" tackled this question, and as the panel proved, it's an issue with which the industry is still grappling.
The panelists indicated that though bitcoin can be a transformative technology, ultimately upending the way that people interact with money, getting it to a large number of people is going to necessitate a reliance on systems consumers are accustomed to.
That's why bitcoin ATMs and gift cards are picking up steam in the bitcoin economy.
Angel investor Brock Pierce, agreed:
Lamassu ATMs is one of the more prominent transitionary companies. Zach Harvey, Lamassu's CEO, said that his company's machines have a wow factor that helps people easily get on board with bitcoin.
ZipZap offers another easy entry point in the form of bitcoin purchases at retail outlets.
CEO Alan Safahi said that people just have to use BTC, then a gradual understanding - not unlike what happened with email 20 years ago - will take place. Safahi explained:
Ease of use
Dogecoin came on the cryptocurrency scene as a total lark, but its ability to convey a simple message is what has made it such a transformative altcoin, the panelists said.
As noted at last week's Bitconference California, many people who have gotten on the dogecoin bandwagon probably haven't even touched bitcoin. It's brought a totally different crowd, especially women and younger people who never have been interested in bitcoin.
Said Pierce: "Almost all of the altcoins, with the exception of dogecoin, people had had experiences with bitcoin."
Safahi told the audience that adoption is about breaking down decentralized forms of money into simple language.
Not many dogecoin fans care about things like risk, volatility and compliance. To them, dogecoin is just a new way to give credit for interesting things that are on the internet. "People aren’t concerned about volatility [with dogecoin]. They are kind of just giving it away," said Pierce.
Harvey thinks slang could make digital currencies a cool thing with people, and perhaps less exclusive.
Image by CoinDesk
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.