As the next step in the evolution of money, Bitcoin is superior to traditional currency in many ways: it’s trustless, private, irreversible, efficient, and deflationary. However, even the best technological invention is useless unless it is being used, and at present fiat currency still holds the title of “real money” in the minds of the general public. In order to reverse that, greater adoption is needed on the part of Bitcoin.
To accomplish this goal, though, not any haphazard strategy will do. Simply saying: “Here, Bitcoin is better, start using it instead” will produce limited results. Instead, by establishing the cryptocurrency’s use in the global economy one step at a time, each phase of progress becomes much more manageable and realistic.
Step 1: Bitcoin as useful (currency → Bitcoin → currency → destination)
The first step is to establish Bitcoin as an intermediary device to improve regular financial transactions. This can be buying gift cards through eGifter or Gyft, buying from Amazon through Purse.io, sending a remittance payment to another country, or paying an unbanked contractor.
Neither party to these transactions wants, or has, Bitcoin, but acquires and uses it nonetheless to perform a specific function. A user buys Bitcoin to save money on gift cards or Amazon purchases, cheaply and efficiently send a remittance, or pay an unbanked contractor who otherwise would have limited options for receiving funds.
What this does is show that Bitcoin can be a useful tool in certain circumstances. Someone who does not view Bitcoin as money, or even as something valuable, will nonetheless see its usefulness in achieving certain aims, and, as such, will be willing to buy some for certain select purposes. This plants the idea in the consumer’s head: “Bitcoin can be useful.”
Step 2: Bitcoin as valuable (Bitcoin → currency → destination)
Once the cryptocurrency is in wide use and in ready supply, the next step is to set up transactions which originate as Bitcoin and are later converted to currency. Having already benefited from the first step, Bitcoin is in wide use, though no one touches it directly.
Now we will use Bitcoin directly for financial transactions, with the end party able to easily convert or sell it afterwards. This includes setting merchants up with a processor such as BitPay which can accept, and immediately convert Bitcoin transactions, giving out Bitcoin tips and gifts, and holding on to Bitcoin as a store of value.
By doing this, the idea is established that Bitcoin itself has value. Instead of simply a tool to facilitate niche transactions, now it is seen as something that, once received, can be liquidated. Where once it was desirable only if one had a specific purpose in mind, now Bitcoin is seen as desirable no matter the circumstances. Now the idea becomes: “Bitcoin is worth something.”
Step 3: Bitcoin as money (Bitcoin → destination)
The final step in the adoption path is send Bitcoin in exchange for goods and services, and have it remain as such after reaching its final destination. This would include offering to pay for goods and services directly in Bitcoin, as well as convincing a merchant to keep a portion (to pay an employee, for example) that formerly converted 100% to currency.
Previously, Bitcoin gained usefulness as a tool to facilitate certain transactions, Then, it gained value as something that could be turned into money to pay for goods and services. Finally, it can be used directly for those goods and services, completing the idea: “Bitcoin is money.”