It’s an exciting time for the crypto world as we stand on the cusp of mass adoption. For some time, cryptocurrencies have been the domain of four broad types of bitcoin users: computer programming enthusiasts, speculative investors, libertarians and criminals. The average Joe has been deterred due to a number of factors, including a lack of technological understanding, the daunting prospect of downloading a wallet from GitHhub, widely reported hackings of exchanges and volatility, suggestions of Ponzi schemes, and generalizations that bitcoin is just for money launderers and terrorists. The gap between the crypto-haves and crypto-have-nots is vast. Did you know that less than 1% of the global population actually owns cryptocurrencies—some say as little as 0.2%, and yet there are 3.8 billion people with access to the internet and 5 billion people with bank accounts who could hugely benefit from this technology.
To further improve adoption among the masses, we need to do much more in order to make it consumer friendly, and in turn make access to it more democratic. The good news is that a wave of innovation is now taking place that will start easing the mass market into the crypto world with greater assurance. Solving The Liquidity Issue Before consumers en masse can conduct a significant amount of transactions via cryptocurrency markets, the hurdle of liquidity will have to be overcome. Liquidity is the extent to which a market allows assets to be bought and sold at stable prices—not something cryptocurrencies are renowned for historically. Bitcoin has been known to drop more than 10% in a day, which does not instill confidence in the mass market. However, volatility is actually improving in the main cryptocurrencies as their prices continue to rise and their markets grow. This increase in stability will be further aided by the fact that users will be able to pay for everyday transactions using one of the new crop of cryptocurrency debit cards that is becoming available. A Decentralized Exchange, But With A User-Friendly Interface Until now, the cryptocurrency space has been dominated by centralized exchanges that help facilitate transactions from government currencies to cryptocurrencies. Centralized exchanges, like Coinbase, are easy to access and easy to use. However, many have failed to adequately secure their customers’ funds, and the consequent lack of faith among consumers has helped drive the rise of decentralized exchanges as an alternative. Unfortunately, centralized exchanges have simply been unprepared for the recent influx of users, causing major system failures and attracting the attention of hackers. While some centralized exchanges are more secure than others, there have still been a significant number of security failures, like last year’s Bitfinex hack, which resulted in thousands of users losing their savings (until they were later repaid). Decentralized trading platforms offer greater security and transparency, as they don’t rely on third-party services to hold customer funds. Instead, peer-to-peer transactions are made possible through an automated process, and funds are held by the user in personal wallets. There is no need to place trust in the exchange platform itself. Decentralized exchanges can also provide more privacy, while reducing the risk of server downtime, if only for those who are more tech savvy. Until now, decentralized trading platforms have lacked ease of use, customer support and recognizable interfaces to attract a mainstream user base. So this has likewise kept liquidity and market depth of these exchanges relatively low. Fortunately, this is changing. Bitfinex And Token Trading Eidoo recently launched its EDO token onto the leading crypto exchange platform Bitfinex. For those of you haven’t come across Bitfinex, it’s based out of Hong Kong and is among the most advanced of crypto exchanges. To give you a sense of its volume, Bitfinex has handled $395,249,841 worth of trades in the past 24 hours alone! If you missed out on EDO during the ICO—or any other ICO tokens—you can easily purchase them from Bitfinex (and trade them to make some money and accumulate more if you like.) For more advanced traders, Bitfinex also enables users to trade with up to 3.3x leverage by receiving funding from the peer-to-peer margin-funding platform. Users can enter an order to borrow the desired amount of funding at the rate and duration of their choice, or they can simply open a position and Bitfinex will take out funding for them at the best available rate at that time. Of course, Bifinex is not the only exchange out there for buying and selling tokens. Others include HitBTC, a Europe-based cryptocurrency exchange. (At the time this piece was written, it had handled a sizeable $166,998,519 in the previous 24 hours). For those with no prior experience, the key benefits of HitBTC are that you don’t need to register, you have full access to trading and unlimited balance top-ups. A Utopian Idea—Or The Future Of Commerce? I believe the advent of cryptocurrencies has the power to change the way the world operates. This summer, Gartner clearly laid bare the risks and opportunities of blockchain: Their view is that it is not an option to do nothing. It is not an option to wait and see. As a CIO or CTO, perhaps you were not ready for blockchain; but, more than likely, blockchain was actually not ready for you. However, this is rapidly changing. In order to stay ahead of the curve, you must keep a finger in the cryptocurrency market via an interface that makes the crypto world easier to navigate. Mass adoption is edging closer and closer—you’ll want to be prepared.