While it has staunch defenders and high-profile enthusiasts, there’s no question the crypto industry has been the subject of intense scrutiny. Many leading voices, from media figures and financial pundits to elected officials, fairly regularly publish opinions on crypto ranging from skeptical to downright hostile. And a recent spate of less-than-positive events in the crypto space isn’t helping to enhance the industry’s broader reputation.

While industry leaders can’t change the past or control the actions of unscrupulous actors, they can do more to strengthen crypto’s foundation and spread the word about the space’s positive potential. Below, 16 members of Cointelegraph Innovation Circle share practical ways industry leaders can help improve crypto’s reputation among the general public.

Leverage expert content creators to make crypto more accessible

We must continue to educate the public on blockchain and crypto in a way that non-users and the unfamiliar can easily understand. This might mean hiring writers and content creators with expertise in demystifying complex topics. People will support, adopt and trust something they don’t fully understand if it is made simple and convenient. It’s our job to make blockchain and crypto accessible. – Zain Jaffer, Zain Ventures

Develop an easier onboarding process into Web3

We need to increase education and compliance. At the same time, we should develop a more straightforward process for onboarding new users into the Web3 space—a way that doesn’t lead to an overwhelming feeling of difference from the current Web2 norm. – Steven Talbot, BHero

Invest more in security upfront 

A major challenge the blockchain industry faces is its reputation for being “fraudulent” or a scam. Leaders of blockchain projects need to invest more upfront in security and select security partners with a good track record. If there are fewer hacks and exploitations in the ecosystem, its reputation will improve in the eyes of crypto-native users and mainstream consumers. – Anthony Georgiades, Pastel Network

Reach out to those who can benefit from the industry’s tech

There is a lot to be said about outreach programs. How are we, as leaders, connecting with those outside the blockchain and crypto industry? If we want to improve the broader reputation of the space, then we need to be an example. Look at ways to collaborate with people this tech is relevant to, in a way that will not overwhelm them or put them off. People only care about something when you care! – Lavinia Osbourne, Women in Blockchain Talks

Lose the jargon

Understand that for the next wave of adoption to happen, the content must be digestible by nontechnical folks. At the end of the day, for blockchain to win, it must become invisible to the end-user. A lot of people generally distrust things they don’t understand, so let’s help them understand the industry better by making a conscious effort to simplify how we explain blockchain. – Mark Soares, Blokhaus Inc.

Focus on real utility for real people

We need to work on fundamentals and real utility for real people. Don’t get seduced by the “number go up” nonsense that has taken such a hold on our industry for so long — that is, mapping “traditional” finance world uses (and fraud) to cryptocurrency tech — which directly results in headlines that may well set the technology back for years in terms of its perception among the general public (for example, LUNA, Celsius, FTX, etc.). – Joe Roets, Dragonchain

Responsibly wield the power of community

We must lead by example. The community uses the content we write and share as a base to further build out the industry. The Web3 space has become what it is today via the power of community. Thus, those able to influence this nascent movement’s direction must wield their power responsibly. – Sheraz Ahmed, STORM Partners

Back up design decisions with research

Just build responsibly. Have academic research to back up design decisions, and think long and hard about the mechanism design before bringing it into production. A proper design geared toward modular blockchain stacks will enable economies of scale for the first time and let us achieve those elusive building blocks so we can depend on solid infrastructure (antifragile, inflation resistant, etc.). – Jagdeep Sidhu, Syscoin Foundation

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Focus on the long-term benefits of the technology

We must focus on the many benefits of cryptographic technology. Many people view crypto as including both blockchain and cryptography, but then discuss it in the primary light of cryptographic currencies. The long-term benefits of blockchain and cryptography will overshadow the value of anonymous and decentralized payments. – Arie Trouw, XYO

Be open to regulation and working with government organizations

Crypto leaders who continuously engage in maximalism are doing themselves and the entire industry a disservice. A new order doesn’t mean a lack of order. Following existing securities, AML and tax regulations is not inconsistent with banking the unbanked and reducing the middleman friction in business models. Thought leadership and close communication with governments, however, will take us far. – Carlos Gomez, Belobaba Crypto Fund

Share accounts of Web3 as an enriching experience

No one likes being left behind in times of innovation and improvement. By sharing authentic accounts of Web3 as an enriching experience, industry leaders can cultivate and drive the paradigm shift from Web2 to Web3 across the globe. If you are involved with Web3, then you probably have some ideas about the future of the internet, decentralization, real estate, finance, art and more. – Tim Haldorsson, Lunar Strategy

Look for ways to develop new business models and value-driven products

Blockchain and crypto have been heavily covered in the news for a few of their revolutionary projects (like nonfungible tokens and Bitcoin). To improve the industry’s reputation, leaders must evaluate the potential of blockchain and its implications and invest in developing technology to give rise to new business models and value-driven products. This might be time-consuming, but it can unlock future growth of the technology in every space. – Vinita Rathi, Systango

Focus on creation, not hype

Leaders in blockchain should focus on tech building instead of hype marketing. Creating products and services that offer real value to the economy or industries is the only thing that is sustainable over the long term. Creating utility and smart solutions that address a gap in society will subsequently enrich the industry’s long-term reputation. – Yaoqi Jia, AltLayer

Pivot the conversation toward project viability

Too much oxygen in the industry is taken up discussing the value potential of new projects. Rather, leaders should pivot the conversation toward the viability of projects and how they’re poised to spur more widespread adoption. If we think in broader terms, we have the chance to challenge the notion that crypto is a solution looking for a problem and invite new users to start their journey. – Oleksandr Lutskevych, CEX.IO

Avoid taking custody of user funds

Beyond being intentional about designing bridge protocols with security in mind, developers in this space should be creating systems that avoid taking custody of user funds. When a centralized entity has control over someone else’s assets, then nothing you do will ever be adequately secure for that level of risk. Remember: Trustless is always better than “trust us.” – Jae Yang, Tacen

Work on solving real-world problems

Leaders need to focus on using blockchain and crypto to build valuable, differentiated solutions that solve real-world problems. Without solving real-world problems, crypto (and by extension, blockchain) will remain a highly speculative, “hope-to-get-rich-quick” asset class. – Xinglu Lin, Fog Works, Inc.

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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