Bitcoin has gained a great deal of buzz in recent years. And it has made a few people very rich in the process. Those who were on the right side of the market at the right time, that is.
But it has yet to gain acceptance among the masses and become the true “people’s” currency, and resume its price momentum.
Rather, it remains an exotic currency for technology enthusiasts and early adaptors enchanted by its decentralized nature.
There are three top reasons for Bitcoin’s failure to reach the masses, according to experts and relevant reports. One of them is trust. “The biggest problem, rather ironically is trust,” says Clement Thibault, Senior Analyst at Investing.com. “Most people don’t understand the digital currency and only see Bitcoin’s erratic price movement. A lack of understanding coupled with wild price swings create a negative environment for adoption.”
So are high profile scams in the ICO markets, which incite fears even among Bitcoin enthusiasts. “Bitcoin’s biggest problem at this point is that the general public unfairly associates it with ICO scams,” says Jeff Ramson, Founder & CEO PCG Advisory Group.
Meanwhile, the digital currency cannot escape from hacks, which magnify and multiply those fears. “Bitcoin is not able to escape the hacking and theft that continue to be on the rise, which seem to occur daily,” says Steve Russo, Executive VP Krypti.
“Additionally, holding Bitcoin is much harder and more complicated than holding cash,” adds Thibault. “You’d need to set up a node, hold your private keys and be entirely responsible for anything that goes wrong. Most people just aren’t ready for this kind of commitment and the comfort of fiat money suits them well, as imperfect as it may be.”
Then there’s the difficulty of dealing with Bitcoin exchanges, and switching back and forth between Bitcoin and cash. That’s according to a recent LendEDU report in which we analyzed virtual currency-related complaints in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database from 2016 to 2018. The report finds a 17,000% spike in virtual currency-related complaints for the 2016-18 period, with the most common complain having to do with the timely receiving of money when it was promised (35%).
Jean Amiouny, CEO of Shakepay, sees this problem constraining Bitcoin’s mass adoption, too. That’s why he sees “creating easy on and off ramps with fiat currency” as the most important vehicle in bringing Bitcoin to the masses.
Meanwhile, people should change the way they view the digital currency, according to Amiouny. “People need to understand the value of Bitcoin as a truly permissionless and sound money, more than simply as a speculative asset to ‘get rich quick,” he says. “And people need to learn how to take responsibility for the private keys that control their Bitcoin”
While it’s unclear how long it will take for Bitcoin to overcome these problems and reach the masses, one thing is clear: volatility will continue in the cryptocurrency markets.
Gallery: Around Asia In Forbes: January-February 2018