While Bitcoin value and use continue to grow year after year, cryptocurrency is still a far cry from total main street adoption.
While some online heavy hitters such as Overstock and Amazon through Purse.io significantly improve the usability of cryptocurrency, the average storefront business anywhere in the world will likely not accept digital currencies. CoinMap lists barely over 8,500 Bitcoin-accepting businesses worldwide. Cryptocurrency evangelists have their work cut out for them.
Cointelegraph spoke to John Bush, owner of Brave New Books and head of the Dash to Adoption project, about the dos and don’ts of the cryptocurrency adoption strategy that he learned during his push to get new businesses to accept Dash.
Cointelegraph: What were your goals coming into the adoption push?
John Bush: My goal was to help 100 businesses get set up to accept Dash within 100 days. I also wanted to study the ecosystem in order to determine best practices for furthering adoption
CT: How were your results?
JB: I ended up falling quite short of my goal. I was able to sign up 24 businesses with several others who committed but haven't finalized the setup. I am still working to complete the 100 businesses but it will take well more than 100 days. I'd be happy to reach 100 in 200 days. As I said before the campaign was approved, whether I make the goal or not, I will continue to work towards the original goal of 100.
CT: What was the main component of the project's success that you underestimated?
JB: Time. I was expecting a better closing rate than what I had. I reached out to thousands of businesses and only a small percentage of them responded and a smaller number responded with interest. More time would mean more potential businesses reached. I honestly thought it would be easier to reach businesses that already accept Bitcoin. Perhaps not having many Bitcoin customers led them to not be so excited about a new cryptocurrency.
CT: Which were the easiest businesses to reach?
JB: Businesses owned by people I know personally!
CT: And the most difficult?
JB: Businesses that did not accept cryptocurrency.
CT: Then is it fair to say that Bitcoin is the "gateway drug" to other coins?
JB: I would like to think so. One of the hangups I had with Dash was the lack of a solid tool for utilizing InstantSend. One of the few ways to make this happen is to use the Core Client, but of course, customers aren't walking around with their laptop so there often wasn't a way for the customer to send using InstantSend.
CT: Have you had any success in taking businesses from zero to Dash, or is Bitcoin-first a must?
JB: I did have some success with crypto noobs.
"Many of my friends who are business owners setup Dash before ever accepting Bitcoin."
CT: So do you think other coins can gain direct public acceptance without having to field the "But what about Bitcoin" question?
JB: I do, once InstantSend is more widely available I think Dash will stand out as a cryptocurrency with great value for businesses.
CT: What proved to be a winning approach to get businesses on board?
JB: Start with people you know and work from there.
CT: How did you approach them? Email, call? What did you say?
JB: For businesses I knew or that were within my sphere of influence I gave a phone call. For businesses I was not familiar with, I sent an email that I would vary slightly depending on the industry.
"I related the benefits of Dash and the exposure the business would get for adding a new currency. I shared a YouTube video I produced to help explain the benefits. Then I followed up and engaged further if they were interested."
The biggest selling point
CT: What was your single biggest selling point? The one reason businesses should adopt cryptocurrency.
JB: The number one selling point for businesses to accept cryptocurrency is to be a pioneer in the space of digital currency and attract new clients to their businesses. A close runner-up is the ability to receive your money almost instantly instead of waiting days for credit card money to deposit.
CT: What was one approach/line that didn't work?
JB: The cold email was less effective than a phone call of course. There is an old adage in organizing and sales that one handshake is worth ten phone calls is worth 100 emails.
CT: How optimistic are you about cryptocurrency adoption among the general economy?
JB: I am optimistic that eventually, in the long run, cryptocurrency will be widely adopted. I think it is inevitable. In the short term, however, with entrepreneurs focused on short term goals and most always overloaded. I don't think the value proposition exists for mass adoption to come soon.