The four pillars of Bitcoin adoption

I spent three days at the “Tomorrow Conference” in Belgrade in May, and Roger Ver had a lecture on Bitcoin adoption in which he shared that only 3% of the world population ever used Bitcoin, and just a tiny 0.0005% ever owned at least one NFT.

The NFT industry is yet to show its strength and gain traction, but this data on Bitcoin adoption really struck my attention.

I simply couldn’t believe it, yet it turns out true.

And while this makes me happy since it means that with further adoption we will probably see a price increase and many more innovative products, it also means there’s a lot of work to be done, and after more than 12 years, it feels like we’re just getting started!

Bitcoin ATMs

I love Bitcoin ATMs.

For me personally, they are a convenient way of exchanging some crypto for FIAT when needed, without having to connect or involve your bank account.

And I had a nice experience in Greece last summer.

There are modern Bitcoin ATMs in Patras, Athens, and Thessaloniki(among others I didn’t visit), very easy to use and with friendly support available over chat or call.

This year I’m in Montenegro for a month of vacation.

If you’ve never been here, you should definitely visit.

Great people, great food, and a beautiful sea.

Maybe Vitalik Buterin felt the same while receiving a passport and citizenship of Montenegro.

He was greeted by the government and agreed to help them modernize and improve their systems by using blockchain.

However, if you search for the closest ATM from Montenegro, you get a deleted Reddit thread for one ATM in Tivat, and the other closest Bitcoin ATMs in Albania and Italia.

So it begs the question- if a country in which Vitalik Buterin has citizenship has zero Bitcoin ATMs, could it be that many of those 3% percent in the world gave up because crypto and Bitcoin transactions aren’t friendly enough for 2022?

Or as Roger Ver would put it, to make adoption faster, we must make Bitcoin-related transactions easy to use for everyone, including our grandparents.

In fact, while youngsters can easily cope with any technical innovations, including Bitcoin wallets and mining, in reality, they have much less to spend than the older range of our population.

Mining isn’t as easy as it should be

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to write a piece for BM, in which I wrote easy-to-use tutorials for Bitcoin mining on Windows, Linux, and Mac, which I’m also doing from my own website.

It passed the initial review but was later stopped by BM editor(s).

The reason was that the software I endorsed isn’t directly connected to Bitcoin mining, since the times of mining Bitcoin with GPU are long gone.

So if you want to mine Bitcoin with your PC, you must use software that mines the most profitable cryptocurrency that can be mined with GPUs, and that software then converts those earnings into Bitcoin for you.

Fair enough, those tutorials aren’t directly connected to Bitcoin mining, so maybe they really don’t deserve to be featured on BM.

But I think that editor(s) in this case failed to recognize a more important fact- Bitcoin mining is hard for most of the population.

You need to buy an ASIC machine, which presents a solid investment itself, and you need technical knowledge to set up the ASIC machine and maintain it.

My point of view is that for adoption to increase we have to make Bitcoin mining much easier than it is at the moment.

After all, Bitcoin mining exists for more than 10 years now, and it’s a shame that Tesla is making cars that can drive themselves, while we still don’t have pure plug-and-play Bitcoin mining machines.

Another fact strongly tied to Bitcoin adoption is that easy-to-use mining software can help a great deal with Bitcoin adoption, as long as payouts are carried in Bitcoin.

For every fresh miner that installs such software on his or her PC, we have a new Bitcoin wallet and a new Bitcoin user.

They may give up or find mining unprofitable, but they might also fall in love and start learning more about the topic.

Either way, GUI mining apps for a PC provide a much lower entry barrier into mining than ASICs, and lower or no entry barriers are something that we all should strive for in the crypto and mining industries.

The curse of pseudo-anonymity

I love it.

You get a random 32 characters string as your wallet address, and you can send and receive Bitcoin as much as you want without anyone knowing who you are, as long as you don’t publicly tie your wallet address with your real identity.

But here’s another fact- most people don’t care about anonymity in Bitcoin.

And why would they unless they’re doing something illegal, or really care about their financial privacy(which is way better than using traditional systems anyway)?

The privacy of your private Bitcoin key is something else.

Similar to your PayPal account password, you must keep it private in order to be the sole independent owner of your Bitcoin funds.

But most people don’t care about the privacy of their public wallet addresses.

In fact, they are jumping on exchanges and doing KYCs like candies and sharing their wallet addresses with anyone willing to drop a few satoshis in their direction.

The identity behind a Bitcoin wallet is probably the most overestimated feature, both in theory and in practice.

And there are much better solutions if you want to remain an enigma, like Monero and ZCash.

People use Bitcoin because it’s fast, convenient, works 24/7, and has tremendously lower fees than traditional banking systems.

Bitcoin also proved itself as a great investment asset, and most importantly an asset that no one can take from you.

In order to make it easier to use and adopt faster, I believe we need an optional feature that allows user-friendly wallet addresses.

Wallet-side implementation is perfectly fine, but it needs to be easy to use and to work flawlessly.

So tomorrow, when you’re explaining to your grandpa how easy Bitcoin is to make and receive payments, you can tell them that they can use their email addresses, similar to how they use Paypal.

Businesses that accept Bitcoin for payments can help a great deal

There are hardly any ways to popularize Bitcoin that can compete with world-recognized businesses that already have millions in their established customer bases.

The volatility of Bitcoin poses certain trouble to them, but some have already entered, mostly by using services that instantly convert such purchases to FIAT.

But instead of using such services that usually come with a hefty fee to one or both parties in a transaction, those businesses could make a system of their own.

An example would be putting those funds in a futures contract, ensuring they will get the correct payment once the futures are settled.

The list is slowly growing, but we are yet to see many more joining the movement.

Imagine being able to pay for fuel, simple products that every household needs, or anything else that you may imagine.

This is something all we that swear into Bitcoin are tending to, but it’s the businesses that must make this call.

Long way ahead

According to the lecture I mentioned at the beginning of this article, with this tempo it will take until 2050-2060 before we reach mass adoption of 20%.

To me, this sounds almost scary, and I genuinely hope we can encourage people of all ages by making things easier for them.

The responsibility is on all of us who want to push Bitcoin into the mainstream, but developers of secondary products are on the first line of the battle.

Modern apps with beautiful graphical user interfaces, plug-and-play devices, and wallets that even the least technically savvy can understand and use are a way to go forward.

And by the time we make Bitcoin easier to use than ride a bicycle, it might as well become possible to buy a bicycle with Bitcoin, anywhere you may go.