Bitcoin will never tip into mass adoption unless it’s at least as simple as spending dollars with debit and it certainly needs to be simpler and easier and safer than Paypal, Venmo, or Dwolla.
TCP/IP was invented 35-years ago. It was a Bitcoin moment in history. Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn are the Satoshi Nakamotos of their day. It was another twenty years before the Internet became ubiquitous and theinternet of things (IOT) became a thing.
You’ve Got Mass Adoption
Bitcoin is only a decade old this year. Mass adoption doesn’t happen overnight. Not even AOL was the panacea required to make everything and everyone Internet-enabled—but it sure as hell helped.
What Bitcoin needs is an AOL. The cryptocurrency industry demands a software platform that reduces the complexity and expense of getting First Coin at least as simple as getting online was with the help of an AOL mailed directly to your home and preinstalled directly onto your computer well before it came home with you, along with a modem and a thousand free hours.
How much do you need to know about Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) any more? The only time anyone needs to deal with IPv4 or IPv6 or anything like an International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is maybe when you’re calling tech support; otherwise, these things are pretty much black boxed. Likewise, unless you’re expressly using blockchain as part of a business strategy or you’re deep into the industry professional versions of cryptocurrency exchanges, you really should be protected from the inner working on what makes cryptocurrency tick—if cryptocurrency buying and spending ever want to become mass-adopted, that is.
Dollar Dollar Bills Y’all
The US Dollar is easy to get and easy to spend. You don’t need to become a fiat currency geek and know about the Fed or the history of the gold-backed dollar and the 1971 abandonment of the gold standard by President Nixon. Just get ‘em and spend ‘em.
While Coinbase and Binance are easy for us early-adopters to figure out for ourselves, the learning curve is a little steep. If you don’t have an interest in stock, bond, commodity, and currency trading at the very least—or have the tinkerer or tech chops to be an autodidact self-learner get you through the rough patches of knowing when to hodl them and when to foldl them (and when to run!).
The Race to First Coin
Instachange feels like the easiest, simplest, and cheapest path to First Coin. While it’s a platform that’s not made for me, an American. Instachange feels very Eurocentric at the moment. While Europeans have adopted chip and pin much more readily than Americans have. We expect our banks to cover the fraud so we’d rather not be inconvenienced. So, any time 3D-secure has been tried via programs like Verified by Visa and Mastercard Secure, there’s always been enough pushback that the banks have said uncle.
However, since Instachange is part of the Crypterium family of projects, apps, banks, and products, and has recently both opened offices in Silicon Valley as well as hiring a guy from Visa, it’s just a matter of time before either Instachange becomes Americanized or banking becomes more secure and Europeanized.
Crypto is the New Internet
When I first got onto the Internet in 1993, I needed to learn Unix commands, all about TCP/IP, what telnet was, and how to make my PowerBook 180 communicate with dial-up scripts, and Internet tools like talk, Usenet, FTP, pico, pine, vi, emacs, gopher, and even lynx—until the Internet became visual, browser-based, and accessible by apps and downloadable programs like Eudora for email.
That said, I took the tinkerer’s route. I was an early enough adopter that I got online for the first time onto a couple dial-up local bulletin boards (BBS) in Honolulu by first sorting out how to use a Hayes SmartModem at 1200 baud (though it might have been slower). There were much easier ways: via online services like America Online (AOL).
Six things transitioned the Internet from the highly-technologically-advanced sandbox of geeks, nerds, dweebs, and dorks: AOL, the Web Browser, always-on broadband, wi-fi, apps, and smartphones. Yes, American Online. Until Steve Case started sending out floppies and CDs to every single person in America with lots of free stuff, an adorable UI with the You’ve Got Mail alert ringing through your basement.
Who Can Even Remember the 80s and 90s?
Some of us can actually think back to the 80s and early-90s when the Internet wasn’t only a safe space for scientists and academics to trade notes, messages, and data. If you were at a university, it might have been via terminal access via FTP, pine, and gopher; if you were a civilian, it might have been via a private or commercial bulletin board system (BBS), America Online (AOL), BIX, CompuServe, GEnie, or Prodigy—though these usually didn’t offer raw access to the Internet but offered their own online applications, memberships, clubs, groups, and chats, and really only offered Internet gateways to email.
And all of this was accomplished using a Hayes 300 baud Smartmodem—then 1200, 2400, 14.4, 28.8, and then ultimately 56k baud modems before the advent of to-the-home, always-on, broadband. Raw access to the internet took another couple years and was just the playground of students, scientists, engineers, and tinkerers. For them, it was mostly command line and terminal until the invention of the web browser.
2004 Mass Adoption
While some reckon that the Internet went mainstream in 1993, it surely wasn’t mass-adopted that early. I reckon that mass adoption didn’t happen until ten years later, 2004. As far as stats, according to neeli_447, 1998, 2.2 million (9%) of households could access the Internet. In 2004, this number grew to 12.8 million (52%). So, it seems pretty obvious to me that the Internet dot-com boom and the mass adoption of the Internet were hand-in-glove.
Bitcoin Mass Adoption
Maybe this is the AOL year for Bitcoin. Whenever the BTC succeeds, altcoins and shitcoins always benefit. While mass adoption might not be in the sights for cryptocurrency this year, services like Instachange and Crypterium could very well tip Bitcoin from being the playground of only the innovators and early adopters to where the early majority play. 2019 is surely going to be very exciting times.