Note: The following article has been hand picked for being one of the standouts in the Ziftr article contest on the topic of what needs to happen for Bitcoin to enter the mainstream. Happy reading.
According to Bitcoinobituries.com, bitcoin has already been declared dead 40 times in its short life. This can't be seen as an impressive track-record for a piece of technology that's also widely regarded as a game-changing financial tool, one capable of altering the way we handle money forever.
This attitude, however, is a good demonstration of the greatest hindrance that digital currencies face today. It also points towards the solution of bitcoin’s problem with gaining mass acceptance. The disbelief shown by most of the traditional media, financial institutions, and governmental bodies, that bitcoin could be a viable force to alter the financial landscape, is for now the biggest hurdle in bitcoin's widespread implementation.
So far, the only time these pundits and social commentators have really come into contact with the nascent digital currency is when they hear about the Silk Road trial, Mt. Gox and the currency's infamous price swings.
What will begin to change in the coming months and years though is the emergence of more and more success stories from the Bitcoin community: people who have started accepting bitcoin payments, using bitcoin payments for good, or driving innovative technologies using the crypto-currency's underlying blockchain system.
It's this “good news” that is often missing from the coverage and opinion on bitcoin’s role in society, and it's also these stories of positivity and possibility that will ultimately convert skeptics. Next, institutions, financial regulators, and investment funds will begin to show greater interest in bitcoin itself. We can already see the early signs of this happening, primarily with the Winklevoss twin's being in the news for their “NASDAQ for Bitcoin”, and ChangeTip spreading virally over social media.
With this, we will see the average Joe get a taste of the good side of cryptocurrency and the new financial possibilities created by sending and receiving bitcoins, especially in developing countries.
However, this increased belief and support for bitcoin will not arrive by itself. Although bitcoin needs the positive press from feel-good success stories in order to gain mass acceptance, what's really needed to create those stories is the continued faith and support from the Bitcoin community.
Without belief in bitcoin, at the government, media, financial, technical, and enthusiast levels, bitcoin will never reach mass-acceptance. Continued support and enthusiasm from the users already involved in bitcoin is the only way the positive aspects of the technology will spread to the rest of the public, eventually leading to mass acceptance.
By Johan Lundqvist
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