During the final months of 2017, cryptocurrency grew further than it ever did in previous years. The industry was receiving regular press coverage from mainstream media outlets, almost all coins reached all-time-highs, Bitcoin reached nearly $20,000, dozens of ICOs and airdrops were launched, and the market was exposed to a huge amount of new investors. It was certainly an important time for cryptocurrencies. Most of the positive effects lasted into 2018 up until the huge correction in February, which made most currencies dip greatly.
During recent months, the industry has seen more adoption than ever before— new investors are pouring into the market and taking part, but this is only the start of what adoption looks like. Adoption needs to be much more than investments and traders. We need to see cryptocurrency get used more practically. We need to see people spend their cryptocurrencies. Not just use them to buy more coins, but use them as an alternative to fiat.
If coins like Nano, Bitcoin, and Monero are only used as a means of making money, we will never see such coins get integrated into society. While the concept of holding your cryptocurrency (or hodling) is a good antidote to the idea of day-trading, it is dangerous for the industry too. When you hold onto large quantities of a coin that you genuinely support, you are essentially preventing it from being used in the real world. For instance, you can’t say ‘I genuinely believe that Litecoin is an amazing cryptocurrency’ and at the same time refuse to spend it in the hopes that it will rise in value. You can’t ask for businesses to start accepting your favorite coins if you aren’t willing to use them to purchase goods.
Right now, the act of people viewing their coins as assets is holding back the industry from evolving. Of course, you could argue that not every coin is designed to be an alternative to fiat. For instance, Ethereum can do so much more than the US dollar could ever do. An even better example would be something like Golem, a token that was never designed to be a fiat replacement. However, coins and tokens like this still have a use to them. For instance, ether can be used as a means of powering smart contracts and other tokens, and Golem can be used to share computing and processing power. If somebody owns a currency that serves a specific function, they should be trying to use it in that way.
Of course, this is easier said than done. I have hodled coins merely for a profit, but it does not have to be an ‘all-or-nothing’ situation. A person can hold coins but keep some of it aside to be used in its intended way. It helps that there are projects like Wirex that help people to use their cryptocurrency more efficiently. Wirex is a cryptocurrency payment service which allows you to convert Bitcoin and Litecoin into fiat instantly and use that money to pay for products anywhere. They currently have an electronic virtual card option, which makes it easy to purchase goods online, but their physical VISA debit cards are being shipped, and you’ll be able to use them anywhere VISA is accepted.
Once services like Wirex become more prominent and well-known outside of the cryptocurrency industry, we will start to see real adoption happening. Once people start to use their coins for their intended purpose, we will see organizations going out of their way to support them, and that should be the aim of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole— to integrate crypto into society and make it easier to transact with.
Kai is a cryptocurrency copywriter and professional trader. He can often be found investigating various cryptocurrencies, whitepapers, and blockchain technologies. Kai has been a professional writer for 5+ years, and has invested in 50+ different coins and tokens. He also currently studies Law and Philosophy at university.