Real World Adoption and the Fear of Volatility
Last week, we posted a link on Twitter to our article about Starbucks planning to accept Bitcoin payment through Bakkt. It spawned a small discussion, where some folks said they would never buy anything with their Bitcoin. So we posted a poll.
I can hear you already, face pressed into your keyboard, shouting: “small sample size!” And you’re right! If you want to fix that, you should go right now, follow us on Twitter, and answer our next poll. But in the meantime, I have an article to write. If you want to discuss and disagree, there’s a comment section down below. I’ll meet you there.
Now! This response led to a couple lines of thinking. If ~60% of people would never spend their Bitcoin, and another ~20% would use it on “Important Purchases Only” (note here that I’m assuming buying a coffee from Starbucks doesn’t qualify as important) then where does the benefit of real-world adoption come from?
We hear that phrase tossed around all the time— real-world adoption. It’s a major hump that cryptocurrency needs to overcome. But are people excited by the prospect to buy their groceries or bus tickets with Bitcoin? In the small poll we ran, and what we’ve seen in general online, it would appear that many aren’t. And that’s fair! Nobody wants to be the next $82 million dollar pizza guy.
On the surface, these partnerships sound great. Big companies are certainly taking notice of cryptocurrency and it benefits as more and more of these news stories pop up. But when it comes down to it, are you OK with the idea that you might end up spending $50 on a coffee when the Bitcoin price takes a big leap? On the flip side, are businesses comfortable with the idea that they might sell their goods at a 50% discount if the price dips? It’s a challenging dilemma.
Do you think Bitcoin will eventually find an equilibrium where people are comfortable using it for day-to-day purchases? Is that equilibrium now, or will we hit it in 5+ years? Will crypto users need to adopt multiple currencies for different needs? Perhaps Bitcoin becomes the equivalent of a savings or investment account, and a stablecoin of serves your daily purchases?
These questions are ultimately speculative and fun, but I think it raises an important question for the community: is it too soon for real-world adoption? Many businesses and users alike have yet to find a comfort zone where they’re happy to transact in cryptocurrencies without fear of volatility.
At the end of the day, maybe these growing pains are a natural part of any ecosystem. There may never be a perfect time to flip the switch and start buying cups of crypto coffee. Maybe today is as good as any other day.