Even though the crypto industry doesn’t lack high-profile supporters, entrepreneurs may still be reluctant to enter the space. The central role of technology may be the primary barrier, but it’s not the only one, and the industry is unlikely to see the level of growth its potential justifies unless these barriers are addressed.
It’s essential for current crypto leaders to play a role in breaking down the barriers keeping newcomers at bay. Here, 12 members of Cointelegraph Innovation Circle discuss the obstacles they see keeping new entrepreneurs out and how they can be addressed.
Lack of confidence
Any barriers to crypto entry are completely mental. Some of the best non-crypto entrepreneurs I know are interested in wading into the space in some form, but they don’t think they know enough or understand how it could help with their model. One of the best tips I can give is to talk to someone you trust in the industry. That will help you get more comfortable and feel more confident diving in. – Chris Maurice, Yellow Card
Uncertainty about where to start
Accessing the crypto industry is fairly easy, as all the information is available to consume. However, the ability to target and understand where to start — especially in an industry that is not familiar — is never easy. People often associate others’ success with the fear of missing out, but in reality, it’s a sign that the best is still yet to come and the future is there for the taking. – Eric Benz, MYNT
Need for regulatory compliance
Entrepreneurs need to understand all the applicable local, state and federal laws that may impact their desired business activity. In many innovative crypto business models, this isn’t always straightforward, and it can be difficult to assess which laws apply (or don’t). Crypto entrepreneurs need to budget for adequate legal resources to help them make legal determinations and structure the product and company to comply with all current and future regulations. It’s an ever-changing regulatory environment, and making a strong commitment to compliance and experienced legal counsel can make all the difference. – Neil Bergquist, Coinme
One common barrier of entry to the crypto world is the need to navigate the noise. There is so much information and misinformation out there about how blockchain and crypto work that it’s hard for new people to discern what’s true. The space can be made more accessible by having more reliable sources and credible information out there to help guide people. – Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene, PopCom
Scarcity of talent
True talent in the crypto world can be hard to find and hire because of the high demand for a limited supply. Even with the attention given to such a new space, relatively few people have significant experience in blockchain, and the competition for talent can be extreme. Hiring will become easier as the space matures and dedicated classes and educational programs continue to pop up to educate the next generation of crypto experts. – Jared Christopherson, OneOf
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It is hard to identify a common barrier to entry in the crypto world because so much is dependent on regional issues. For instance, in Asia, a barrier would be financing and marketing, while in North America, a major barrier is regulation. Regulation continues to play a critical role in the initial execution phase of every crypto-related project. Multiple initiatives and working groups in Canada and the United States are working with regulators to create a safe and secure sandbox for innovation without jeopardizing investor protections. – Bilal Hammoud, NDAX
The lack of knowledgeable and skilled coaches and educators
One barrier is the massive confusion around the space. Finding proper explanations is difficult, so we have people confusing blockchain technology with cryptocurrency and considering nonfungible tokens as just cartoon pictures. None of that is technically true at the base layer. I think we need more clear divides on what is a fad and what is a lasting technology, but unfortunately, a lot of people inside of the industry, while great at being in the community, are not as great at coaching and educating. – Charles Adkins, Admix
The outside perception of crypto
It’s not especially hard to get into crypto as an entrepreneur — the opportunities are there — but many entrepreneurs not already familiar with the space do not have a desire to get in. The pace of innovation in crypto, coupled with a lack of knowledge about the space, can make crypto seem unappealing to entrepreneurs. Many see it as a hot mess full of scams and never decide to delve in. The solution is for crypto companies, educators and content creators to stop presenting themselves as “crypto” and instead find parallels with other industries and common ground with non-crypto entrepreneurs. – Simon Cowell, ZEBEDEE
The difficulty of finding information for beginners
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that information needs to be open and accessible. Blockchain was designed to open access to finance and services to everybody — to level the balance of power. However, for entrepreneurs new to the crypto world, information isn’t always easy to find or understand. Without access to information that simplifies and demystifies the space, there will always be significant barriers to entry. We set up Women in Blockchain Talks to share the “what” and the “how” of blockchain in a digestible and diverse manner. We run quarterly meetups and produce podcasts and masterclasses, all so our community can learn to invest and make sense of emergent technologies. – Lavinia Osbourne, Women in Blockchain Talks
The lack of diversity
The crypto world has become somewhat of an “old boys club” and a self-fulfilling echo chamber. It’s not very diverse in its thought processes; it operates with a cultish mentality despite the whole motivation being exactly the opposite. Additionally, it’s very challenging for first-time founders, minority founders and women founders to break in. Focusing on inclusivity and respect for diverging viewpoints and toning down on the speculative rhetoric (e.g., “get rich quick by doing nothing”) is the need of the hour. – Nimit Sawhney, Voatz
Crypto’s radical difference from traditional financial systems
One common barrier is a lack of understanding of the entire ecosystem. Cryptocurrency represents a 180-degree turn away from the traditional financial systems whose processes have been ingrained in all of us. Thus, new entrants into cryptocurrencies often struggle with understanding crypto’s multiple, dynamic applications and layers as well as the ways cryptocurrencies can be used to solve problems. – Justin Podhola, Elite Mining Inc
Difficulty in identifying legitimate coins
Legitimacy is what blockchain is all about. However, when it comes to crypto, it is very difficult to find legitimate coins among the hundreds out there. So perhaps what entrepreneurs are most missing is education. They need tools that can help them identify the good coins that are worth investing in and that support a cause worth investing in. – Vinita Rathi, Systango
This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.
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