One of the reasons for the success of the World Wide Web was the creation of the Domain Name System, which replaced numerical IP addresses with easy-to-remember names suitable for non-techy folks. Thus apple.com instead of 184.108.40.206. And that’s nothing compared to the complexity of a Bitcoin address that is an alphanumeric string more than three to four times longer. Then factor in that a single incorrect letter or number will send your BTC into the void forever — or possibly to some random stranger — and it’s clear that something must change before the average person will adopt cryptocurrencies on a day-to-day basis.
That’s not the only problem. In May, a study by New York Digital Investment Group found that 75% of the respondents said they would be open to using cryptocurrencies if they understood them better.
Here, Changelly and Changelly PRO exchanges CEO Eric Benz and Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) Protocol Managing Director Luke Stokes explain why an NFT that turns a crypto hash into something that looks like an email address is both doable and necessary.
1. Is crypto ready for mass adoption?
Eric Benz: The crypto market is undoubtedly very volatile — and at the moment, it’s one of the things that attracts people to crypto, the chance to get a quick and easy profit. However, volatility is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it entices people to check out crypto, which leads to many falling in love with it after researching its benefits. On the other hand, it stops crypto from being a reliable alternative to fiat.
Luke Stokes: I think crypto is growing so fast that a lot of exchanges and products are running into these onboarding challenges right now, they're just kind of keeping their head above water. Usability is often this afterthought. But I think it's that much more important that you have a great user experience. We've all heard horror stories of hundreds of thousands of dollars deposited in the wrong place — to the wrong wallet address, Bitcoin sent to a Bitcoin Cash address.
2. What is needed to spur mass adoption of crypto?
Benz: It needs to be demystified. Crypto services need to be easy to use, yes, but they also need to be easy to understand. Users have to know where their money goes — and how it gets there. Everything from how funds are secured to how they are moved around needs to be clear and transparent.
Stokes: I really want to focus on non-crypto people. That is the largest marketplace available. We've got the innovators now and we've got the early adopters coming. So, if you're looking for who's your largest potential market, it's not people in crypto today. It’s the business that has a hundred million customers that is looking for an opportunity to give those customers — who aren't going to be comfortable with these long, crazy hashes — a joyful experience.
Benz: I absolutely agree. For mass adoption to happen, it is very important to make sure that the whole crypto experience, starting from purchasing coins and getting your first wallet to trading, is not only easy, but also fun.
3. What is Changelly doing to spur mass adoption?
Benz: We are very passionate about mass adoption, so many of our decisions are done with it in mind. We aim to make our interface as user friendly as possible, offer 24/7 support, work hard to increase our transaction speeds and decrease fees, publish a lot of educational content, and constantly communicate with our users to make our platform better.
Additionally, we also collaborate with interesting and innovative projects that we think promote crypto and move the industry forward. This is one of the reasons why we were so excited to work with FIO — customization and ease-of-use are some of the key components of getting customers to use your product. After all, the more people actually enjoy using crypto on a day-to-day basis, the more integrated cryptocurrencies will become into their everyday routine.
4. How can FIO help spur mass adoption?
Luke Stokes: The idea of the FIO Protocol is to make cryptocurrency easier for everybody. We do that through three main features. The first is human readable addresses. We also want to handle the routing of value — it’s not just wallet naming, because there are other solution providers doing that.
We want to focus on making the actual experience of sending and receiving crypto easier. We do that through decentralized payment requests — we call them FIO requests — so you can request funds from someone just like you do with PayPal or Venmo. And in that request, you can specify the token chain, the token code, and the amount. You can also include a memo — which is the third main feature of FIO — just like you would see on your bank statement or credit card statement.
5. How do NFTs come into this?
Stokes: My crypto wallet handle is just Luke@Stokes. That’s an NFT. But the domain, Stokes, is also an NFT. So, I can set my kids up with their own addresses at the Stokes domain, but no one else can register at the Stokes domain.
6. How usable is crypto now?
Benz: Integrating projects like FIO into exchanges, marketplaces, and other crypto-related platforms is definitely a massive step towards mass adoption — I doubt anyone enjoys remembering the alphabet soup of traditional crypto addresses. I’m sure we’ve all felt the stress of checking whether the random assortment of letters and digits you’ve entered in the “recipient wallet” field is correct. Compare it to something like “eric@crypto” that is short and easy to remember.
Stokes: I think crypto is growing so fast that a lot of exchanges and products are running into these onboarding challenges right now, they're just kind of keeping their head above water. Usability is often this afterthought: “Okay, now how do we keep the users? How do we make them happy? How do we get more users?” But when it's all about “Everyone's coming to me and they're signing up too quickly,” usability sometimes takes the backseat. But I think it's that much more important that you have a great user experience. We've all heard horror stories of hundreds of thousands of dollars deposited in the wrong place — to the wrong wallet address, Bitcoin sent to a Bitcoin cash address.
7. Do people trust crypto?
Benz: I feel like there’s no definitive answer to this question. People who have only heard the word “cryptocurrency” on the news or seen it on their feed tend to have little trust in it. It’s human nature, after all — we fear the unknown. This is why we always say that mass adoption isn’t something that will happen in a day. The public needs to be slowly but steadily introduced to crypto.
8. What will happen if crypto can’t convince users it’s ready for mass adoption?
Benz: A solution to the volatility issue could be the stablecoins, which possess the same benefits as other cryptocurrencies but aren’t as volatile due to being pegged to, in most cases, relatively stable assets.
Stokes: I think that with the rise of central bank digital currencies and these other kinds of centralized solutions, if the industry itself doesn't recognize what's coming and get out in front of it — say “We have to make cryptocurrency easier to use or people are going to not care about decentralization” — they're not going to care about self-sovereign control of their wealth. They're going to be like, “Hey, that's hard and it's confusing. And I might lose my funds. because I don't really know that I'm sending them to the right person. I'll just go ahead and use the centralized solution.
I'm trying to educate the industry that this really matters. These are our blockchain rights, basically. We don't want to give up those rights.
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