In 1983, the internet was invented. For the first 15 years or so, people discussed its potential without really seeing much in the way of tangible results. Yet within 25 years, it had completely transformed our lives in ways that even 10 years earlier were barely conceivable.
It’s a point that the crypto-skeptics would do well to take on board. Blockchain was invented 15 years ago, and today everyone has at least a rudimentary idea of what it is and how it can be used. Some say it’s going to transform the very nature of transactions, while others see it as a niche for tech nerds that will never have mainstream use. Sound familiar?
We might not be using crypto to fill our cars with gas or buy a coffee in Starbucks. But at the risk of belaboring the point, we were not using the internet to buy the weekly groceries or book a vacation in 1998. In fact, at that point there were about 100 million internet users worldwide. That has increased by a factor of 55 to around 5.5 billion today.
Crypto adoption rate is now about 400 million. Even allowing for the increased population, crypto adoption is happening faster and at a sharper rate than the internet did. Of course, that is as much down to us as humans as it is to the technology. We have become more open to technological change and to embracing new things in the 2020s compared to the 1990s.
Another common factor is that a handful of early adopters have led the way. Bitcoin has already become an instrument of choice in the online poker scene – see https://www.tightpoker.com/bitcoin-poker/ for more information. It’s a similar story in the wider iGaming market. Whether it’s for poker, casino games or sports betting, crypto brings specific benefits in terms of security, convenience, speed, anonymity and regulatory compliance.
While some of these drivers, in particular the latter two, are specific to the iGaming sector, most are equally applicable to other forms of online purchase or wealth transference.
B2C and cross border payments
The internet became a life-changing success because it eased pain points. Grocery shopping online saves the hassle of driving to a supermarket, parking, queueing at checkouts and so on. Online travel agents place all the prices side by side without the need to go from one physical shopfront to another.
Similarly, crypto needs to be more than a “clever alternative” – if it emerges as a real solution to a known problem, adoption will be almost inevitable. Cross border transactions are a good example. Increasingly, the global marketplace is just that. Brand-conscious consumers are liable to buy luxury goods from anywhere in the world, and international payments are a pain point.
Like a duck on a lake, an international payment might look smooth on the surface, but where multiple currencies and jurisdictions are concerned, there’s a lot going on underneath. The result? Every $200 sent or spent incurs an extra cost of $14 on average that gets swallowed by PSPs according to World Bank research. Blockchain could make that evaporate at a stroke.
Cross border B2C transactions are just one example. Crypto is bringing wholesale change to e-commerce and that change is approaching fast.
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