Bitcoin and the blockchain technology is incredibly difficult to understand for the average person. Consider all other popular investment classes. If you want to open a 401K account, you simply request it through your company’s HR department. If individual stock picking is your game, simply call up any number of brokerage firms to get you started. But cryptocurrencies? Forget about it!
It’s not that alternative investment vehicles are inherently complex. For years, both Crush The Street and its sister site Future Money Trends have advocated the long-term security of physical precious metals. Buying gold and silver bullion is an inherently simple affair. The only major source of decision-making comes in the form of figuring out which bullion dealer offers the lowest premiums.
But the blockchain infrastructure is a wildly dissimilar species. The traditional investor and the general public have now heard about Bitcoin, but so many do not know what to do with that information. For example, 11% of Americans are convinced that owning Bitcoin is illegal, while nearly 48% thinks ownership could cause legal ramifications.
Those that take the extra step into researching the truth about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will find another challenge: the difficulty in “actualizing” their newfound knowledge.
Coinbase was one of the first digital wallet and exchange services to jump on the opportunity of making cryptocurrencies user friendly. For the most part, they’ve been very successful, which is why Coinbase is considered the premiere Bitcoin exchange. Unfortunately, the company is only utilizing a small portion of the blockchain potential.
Currently supporting three cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin — Coinbase will add Bitcoin Cash to the mix. But with over a thousand digital coins existing today, having exposure to four coins seems rather limited and anachronistic.
And let’s be frank — the blockchain and its derived assets have never really been user friendly. All this talk about hashrates and hardforks is enough for most people’s heads to spin. To have access to other exciting opportunities, such as Ripple, Monero, and Factom, requires opening up less reputable wallets and exchange accounts. From there, new crypto users must learn to convert higher-level coins for speculative coins, and vice-versa.
This is the default nature of decentralization found in the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. But again, it’s an incredibly frustrating experience for the lay person. However, the mass frustration that the public experiences is evidence that the blockchain revolution is still in its infancy.
At some point, perhaps Coinbase or another platform, will open up the door to the broader possibilities of the blockchain. Furthermore, this future entity (or entities) will facilitate easy conversion from fiat-based investment vehicles to virtual-currency based portfolios. Once that transition occurs, Bitcoin and the rest of the digital markets will have hit its stride.
Of course, by then, the markets could also be wildly overvalued relative to where we stand now.