Episode 189 of Let’s Talk Bitcoin featured an interview with Ryan X. Charles, who is one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency engineers. He has held senior positions at Bitpay and Reddit as well as being one of the creators of Copay, the first great implementation of crypto muti-sig.
When Ryan was asked what excites him most in crypto I expected to hear some buzzword-filled blockchain 2.0 mumbo-jumbo about decentralized autonomous organizations executing crowdfunded stock exchange smart contracts for driverless cars that change ownership on an Ethereum token via meshnets or something like that.
It was refreshing to hear him say that what excites him most in the crypto ecosystem is crypto payments or as he put it “using bitcoin as internet money”.
The basic value proposition of crypto; nearly free and instant transactions of any amount, any time, between any 2 people with no way for a third party to block it, is still amazing. That (plus store of value and price speculation) is what has brought us to a $215 billion market cap and that is what will bring the next wave of adoption.
Payments are something crypto already does better than the legacy system in a way that is available to everyone now. Payments is an application that the world is ready for! People are ready for a better way to send money overseas. People are ready for a better way to buy things online. People are ready to transact without banks, including transactions that authorities disapprove of.
Society is not yet ready for revolutionary crypto 2.0+ applications. Consider for example the ownership and registration of vehicles. Crypto users know that blockchain provides a better solution than the current government transport department system of papers, stickers, license plates and centralized databases.
Unfortunately, the politicians and bureaucrats who control this system do not yet understand blockchain and therefore could not be convinced to use a crypto 2.0-type solution.
However convincing those same bureaucrats that they could accept crypto through a payment processor for vehicle registration fees or that they could use crypto personally next time they want to shop online is very doable, in fact, it is already happening.
After crypto payment activity is normal and widespread society will be ready for crypto 2.0. At that point, we will be able to convince politicians and bureaucrats that they should be using the blockchain to manage vehicle ownership and registrations.
All those things that get us so excited like decentralized prediction markets and file storage will never get traction until crypto has proven itself to the masses with good online payments.
As such I am glad that talented and hardworking people like Ryan X Charles are concentrating their time and effort on payments and I encourage all of us to do the same. We need to make this popular in its basic form before we can have all the bells and whistles of crypto 2.0+ implemented at scale.
So when n00bs ask you about crypto don’t try to sell them self-owning fridges using a smart contract to order food from drones let in by access control token smart doors and all that big picture stuff. Instead try to find out what pain points they experience in payments like online shopping or currency exchange and remittance, then present the crypto solutions for those real-life pain points.
Happy crypto paying!