What’s keeping cryptocurrencies from mass adoption?

What’s Keeping Cryptocurrencies From Mass Adoption?

Speculators flocked to Bitcoin and many of the alt-coins in hopes of getting in early and making a big exit, but everyday users haven’t warmed to cryptocurrencies.

There are many reasons why, but one of the largest barriers to mainstream adoption is the price volatility of cryptocurrencies. The question is, why do the prices change so much in the first place? It comes down to supply and demand: Most cryptocurrencies have only a fixed total supply, and yet demand for the coins is uncertain and constantly fluctuating thanks to speculation.

Of course, it’s easy enough to talk about the problem — coming up with a solution is quite another matter.

Why is stability so important?

The need for stability is not unique to cryptocurrency. Any currency needs to be stable in order to be used as a trusted medium of exchange. The more that prices rise and fall, the more ordinary people will shy away from using the coins for everyday transactions.

Whether they hoard the coins in the hope that prices will rise sharply soon, or they avoid using them altogether for fear that they will lose all of their value, people are not yet accustomed to seeing cryptocurrency as real money.

Worse, the unpredictability of prices wreaks havoc on regular money services, like remittance, currency conversion, and the use of ATMs. In order to use cryptocurrencies, businesses have to hedge their risks by charging exorbitant fees.

Bitcoin ATMs can charge up to 15 percent just to convert to fiat currency. This totally defeats the original purpose of cryptocurrencies, which was to offer a cheaper and more flexible alternative to other payment methods. With no advantage over government-printed money, why would the average person use them?

Another example: Crypto ‘Civil War’ Sends Virtual Currencies Crashing, July 2017

Chaos is back in cryptocurrencies with both Ethereum and Bitcoin collapsing in the last few hours as it appears concerns over the so-called ‘Bitcoin civil war’ are coming to a head. Will Bitcoin Tear Itself Apart?

The notoriously volatile cryptocurrency, whose 160 percent surge this year has captivated everyone from Wall Street bankers to Chinese grandmothers, could be headed for one of its most turbulent stretches yet.

Blame the bitcoin civil war. After two years of largely behind-the-scenes bickering, rival factions of computer whizzes who play key roles in bitcoin’s upkeep are poised to adopt two competing software updates at the end of the month. That has raised the possibility that bitcoin will split in two, an unprecedented event that would send shockwaves through the $41 billion market.

While both sides have big incentives to reach a consensus, bitcoin’s lack of a central authority has made compromise difficult. Even professional traders who’ve followed the dispute’s twists and turns aren’t sure how it will all pan out. Their advice: brace for volatility and be ready to act fast once a clear outcome emerges.

See video (Bloomberg)

“It’s a high-stakes game of chicken,” said Arthur Hayes, a former market maker at Citigroup Inc. who now runs BitMEX, a bitcoin derivatives venue in Hong Kong. “If you’re a trader, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to what happens. Once there’s a definitive signal about what will be done, the price could move very quickly.”

Crypto Civil Wars

Behind the conflict is an ideological split about bitcoin’s rightful identity. The community has bitterly argued whether the cryptocurrency should evolve to appeal to mainstream corporations and become more attractive to traditional capital, or fortify its position as a libertarian beacon; whether it should act more as an asset like gold, or as a payment system.

The seeds of the debate were planted years ago: To protect from cyber attacks, bitcoin by design caps the amount of information on its network, called the blockchain. That puts a ceiling on how many transactions it can process — the so-called block size limit — just as the currency’s growing popularity is boosting activity. As a result, transaction times and processing fees have soared to record levels this year, curtailing bitcoin’s ability to process payments with the same efficiency as services like Visa Inc.

To address this problem, two main schools of thought emerged. On one side are miners, who deploy costly computers to verify transactions and act as the backbone of the blockchain. They’re proposing a straightforward increase to the block size limit.

On the other is Core, a group of developers instrumental in upholding bitcoin’s bug-proof software. They insist that to ease blockchain’s traffic jam, some of its data must be managed outside the main network. They claim that not only would it reduce congestion, but also allow other projects including smart contracts to be built on top of bitcoin.

But moving data off the blockchain effectively diminishes the influence of miners, the majority of whom are based in China and who have invested millions on giant server farms. Not surprisingly, Core’s proposal, called SegWit, has garnered resistance from miners, the most vocal being Wu Jihan, co-founder of the world’s largest mining organization Antpool.

“SegWit is itself a great technology, but the reason it hasn’t taken off is because its interest doesn’t align with miners,” Wu said.

Community & Bitterness

The community has bitterly argued whether the cryptocurrency should evolve to appeal to mainstream corporations and become more attractive to traditional capital, or fortify its position as a libertarian beacon; whether it should act more as an asset like gold, or as a payment system.

The seeds of the debate were planted years ago: To protect from cyber attacks, bitcoin by design caps the amount of information on its network, called the blockchain. That puts a ceiling on how many transactions it can process — the so-called block size limit — just as the currency’s growing popularity is boosting activity. As a result, transaction times and processing fees have soared to record levels this year, curtailing bitcoin’s ability to process payments with the same efficiency as services like Visa Inc.

<< Back to the main article

CONNECT IT & Website Support Services

Highly recommended SSD hosting plans for Startups, including: Reliability, Stability, Applications, Security. Unmetered disk space, Unmetered bandwidth. WordPress out-of-the-box, 15min installation, Strong SSL protection, Email. What else? See below .. For more information, contact us here >>