Taking Bitcoin Mainstream in 2016

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At BitX we love using Bitcoin and we can see the clear advantages it has over other forms of money. Given the traction and use cases we are seeing across the markets we operate in, we also believe it’s only a matter of time before Bitcoin becomes more mainstream. That said, we still get tons of people asking us “why would I use Bitcoin?” every day.

Sadly, the Bitcoin industry hasn’t done a great job explaining this to the masses. For example, the value proposition for online merchants is well-documented and clear: accept cheaper payments, with no chargebacks. But for the consumer making the payment, why would they use Bitcoin instead of alternative methods like credit cards?

It turns out there are many good reasons.

These include a much better customer experience (especially on mobile, which is a key driver for e-commerce in emerging markets), better privacy (particularly relevant for cross-border payments), the ability to do smaller transaction sizes, a global and fast-growing merchant acceptance network, and of course, for many people in emerging markets, the ability to transact online whereas otherwise they would not be able to, either because they don’t have a credit card in the first place, or their credit card is rejected because of fraud risk associated with a particular country.

It’s also worth noting that with services like BitX you can do this with Bitcoin directly, or using ‘Bitcoin as a rails’ – in effect using Bitcoin as a background payment mechanism whilst only being exposed to your local currency – this makes a big difference in driving early mainstream adoption.

While these examples might all seem like niche use cases, it turns out they’re pretty big and important niches that solve some real pain points for many people across the world. Online payments is just one example, there are many more, especially in the markets we operate in. Interestingly, as you start combining these niches together you also start generating some very compelling new value propositions (more on that in a future blog post).

At BitX we believe mainstream adoption of Bitcoin will initially start within these types of niches –areas where Bitcoin can solve problems that other payment methods or types of money cannot– and then branch out to broader mainstream adoption. However, it is critical that these value propositions are disaggregated and articulated properly, and importantly, communicated to the right people through the right channels, at the right time.

We’ll be focusing a lot of our energy and resources in proactively driving this in 2016. To kick things off we’ve just released three new BitX videos that we’re very excited to share with the BitX and broader Bitcoin community.

The first, ‘Bitcoin First Date’, specifically explores the user experience in making online payments:

We follow with ‘How Fast is Bitcoin?’ a tongue-in-cheek look at the speed at which money can be transferred around the world using Bitcoin. This is an important illustration of the power of disaggregation, focusing on speed rather than cost. We’ve always been somewhat skeptical of Bitcoin consumer remittances competing with other remittance options on cost alone, certainly in the short run. There are some other interesting advantages including interoperability and pooling of liquidity that we’ll also discuss more in a future blog post, but for now speed is what most interests us and many of our users.

Lastly, for those just starting out and looking for somewhere to easily buy and store their first Bitcoin, we present ‘You know what Bitcoin is, right?’:

If you haven’t been following us, you can also see our other videos on our dedicated BitX YouTube video channel.

Hopefully these videos give everyone a taste of what is to come, and we look forward to sharing a lot more with you over the coming year.

As always, if you have any feedback or ideas, please get in touch with our Customer Engagement team at [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.

Marcus

Marcus Swanepoel
Marcus is the cofounder and CEO of BitX. Previously, he worked for Standard Chartered in Singapore and before that 3i and Morgan Stanley in London. He holds an MBA from INSEAD, is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a CFA charterholder. He is a South African citizen and a Singapore Permanent Resident.