Taking the Blockchain technology from a buzzword to an essential technology should have a singular focus: To make it useful for people’s daily life.
A perennial question surrounding Blockchain technology is: When will it have an impact on the conventional world? Industry enthusiasts are understandably eager to see this technology deliver on its promise to empower consumers, speed up cross-border payments and bridge the gap of financial inclusion for the unbanked.
The reality is that today, its scope is limited. From the limited data we have on the adoption of cryptosystems, we see that the group of active users is relatively small in size and scope, largely millennial and largely male.
Some countries have proven to be pioneers; for example, one survey showed that 32% of respondents in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, said they had used or owned crypto currencies. To put this in perspective, only 7% said the same in the United States and 8% in China.
In part, this limited uptake can be attributed to the fact that current products are designed for users who know what they are doing. It is designed for people who know or are willing to learn the hoops they have to jump through to get their financial assets from fiat money to crypto currencies and vice versa and the benefits of doing so.
The usefulness of cryptomoney, which allows people to use it in their daily routine, will come from putting in the time to develop the right fundamental infrastructure. This infrastructure will allow for some of the most powerful cases of cryptomoney use, such as covering inflation in volatile economies, enabling remittance and cross-border solutions, paying bills, and collecting goods and services as a trader.
Stablecoins – coins backed by fiat currencies – are essential to that infrastructure; they create a bridge between the digital and physical worlds, between virtual and physical value. They make digital currency useful so that it can be traded, exchanged, stored and spent quickly and efficiently – no matter where in the world you are. They represent the promise of Blockchain technology.
But the Bitcoin Trader will not be useful on its own. You need a simple platform that makes it easy for consumers to use their digital assets. Many of today’s platforms are designed for traders, sophisticated investors and experienced crypto users, not the average retail user. To drive greater adoption of Blockchain technology, it will be necessary to create platforms that are accessible and familiar to consumers, so that they can be confident in connecting their digital and physical assets. Considering the consumers of the conventional world, the platforms that obfuscate the back-end of the Blockchain should be designed in an intuitive way and integrate the current digital habits of the clients.
Blockchain for business
This last component is essential to build the appropriate infrastructure for further adoption Blockchain. However, it requires a business-to-customer as well as business-to-business approach. Blockchain infrastructure must be available and easy to integrate for businesses.
In its most recent analysis of the blockchain landscape, auditing firm Deloitte, part of the Big Four of accounting, argues that the attractiveness and sustainability of this technology depends on „its use of digital assets and the functions those assets will perform in the future of commerce“. To achieve this, it is necessary to make crypto and crypto wallets business-friendly.
With the rise of digital payments, both e-commerce and traditional commerce – or, more generally, online and offline payments – companies already have to adapt quickly to new payment methods. To encourage them to see Blockchain technology and innovations such as stablecoins as a compelling addition (or alternative), the right infrastructure needs to be in place, such as one-stop API endpoints, for shops and businesses to offer crypto payment methods without having to bear a significant operational burden.
Building the infrastructure with B2B in mind and creating the ecosystem to support it ultimately drives greater consumer adoption, as it means that Blockchain technology is available where consumers use it, delivering portable, universal money that can be used across all business platforms.
The momentum is here to move the Blockchain technology into the mainstream. In the same Deloitte survey, 89% of respondents said they believe that digital assets will be very or somewhat important to their industries over the next three years. It is now up to us to build this technology to have the right infrastructure and prove that Blockchain technology can deliver on its promise.