As we enter into 2017, the question of where the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency community should be focusing their attention is paramount.
The year 2016 can be said to be the year of the Blockchain. Several innovations and creations around the Blockchain were unveiled, strengths and weaknesses of a number of systems became exposed as well.
Economics or legislation?
The year 2016 also recorded significant participation of government in the Blockchain industry.
These developments seem to set up a perfect storm for the adoption of the Blockchain and its associated entities. However, the ultimate question remains the primary direction of focus for the community in order to achieve adoption. Should the focus remain on consumers, to create an irresistible level of demand for Bitcoin and Blockchain, or should evangelists and enthusiasts of the system pursue a legislative agenda towards adoption?
Jason Cassidy, president at Crypto Consultant, says:
“Both the government and the citizens should be focused at this stage of the game. Several countries have currency experiments happening right now through governments on private Blockchains, attempting to replicate Bitcoin's success on a national level. Legislature for the digital currency is also becoming a conversation piece across the globe.”
According to Cassidy, government awareness of Blockchain technology has grown faster than Bitcoin. This is due to the many areas of their control that are in the process of being disrupted - health, voting, identity and much more. There is also the potential for governments to utilize their own Blockchain. This offers them a level of sovereignty which cannot be achieved by building upon the Bitcoin Blockchain.
However, Cassidy observes a different trend in other regions.
“Venezuela is a good case study of how poor economic policy is pushing the awareness and utility of Bitcoin.”
He continues by postulating that such a phenomenon will be repeated over the coming years as more countries go through economic strife with Bitcoin standing and offering the same value proposition to the people that it does today.
Every player is important
Cassidy notes that this is the period where the industry needs to put an equal measure of focus on both groups, saying that to achieve the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin, government awareness must continue to grow.
Many people are looking to these groups to provide a legal framework for investment, education, taxation and many other areas. So while we may not see full adoption of Bitcoin by the government, engaging them to help build a path to future mainstream adoption is key.
He concludes by noting that Bitcoin is yet to see its 'Killer App,' which by his prediction will be coming in the next few years and will have a large role in tipping the scales for mainstream adoption.
“We are still in the early 1990's Internet era of Bitcoin and Blockchain innovation. I liken the browser wars of that era to the coming wallet wars of the digital age. Wait until you see what we have in 2020, when the use of a digital wallet entails a trivial learning curve relative to today. The entire user experience is going to be transformed.”