A Key Issue That Is Preventing Mass Adoption Of Bitcoin? The Crypto User Interface Experience
It has been over a decade since Satoshi Nakamoto published Bitcoin white paper, thus presenting the world with a revolutionizing concept of cryptocurrencies. His invention envisioned a new version of money — electronic cash — which would be free of any third party or centralized authority.
These days, the crypto space is a lot different than it was back when Bitcoin was just launched. However, one thing has barely changed, and BTC has yet to be put to any real use. This is actually true for all cryptocurrencies, as mass adoption eludes the efforts of every single coin out there. This very lack of use and regulation is the reason why digital currencies remain so volatile to this day.
On the other hand, those who could implement them as part of their business, or invest large amounts in it in order to bring stability — won't do it. To them, digital currencies are still too big of a risk. New coins attempting to solve issues like this and make themselves more attractive started emerging as a result. They are now much faster, much cheaper to use, capable of handling hundreds of thousands of transactions per second, and some of them even focused on privacy and stability, thus becoming privacy coins and stablecoins.
Despite all of these efforts, businesses still mostly refuse to start dealing in crypto. It is not difficult to understand why, as cryptos still have a number of issues. Crypto addresses can be incoherent, learning the progress of payments lacks the clear route, transactions cannot be reversed, and even error payments appeared from time to time.
Decentralization means that trying to use any third-party service to improve cryptos is instantly judged and rejected, despite the fact that they can actually help. This is all because Satoshi's vision sees digital currencies as a purely P2P version of electronic cash, and there is no place for centralized authority. However, in order for this vision to actually come to pass, some changes will have to be made, especially when it comes to user experience.
Attempts at improving things such as user experience have had little success, as it is difficult to achieve anything without a third-party intermediary that would help out. Decentralization has also made addressing blockchain usability much more difficult, especially since the focus is always on solving one crucial problem — making wallet names readable for humans. That way, dealing with incoherent public addresses would be solved, which is seen as one of the big steps on improving the experience.
Such attempts, while praiseworthy, still did not change usability in any meaningful way. There are several reasons for this, like the solutions being as complex as the problem, or being blockchain-specific, which would limit users to a single token per wallet. Other solutions revolved around using specific browser plugins or wallets in order to get decent usability, while nothing was really solved. In the end, all efforts either bypassed the problem or came up with equally as troublesome solutions, which only became new problems.
Many believe that it is time for things to change, and for wallets and exchanges to unite around a single protocol, one that would be similar to PayPal, but still decentralized. This would be the best of both worlds, and would also represent a bridge between the new technology and users.
The protocol would, of course, have to be open-source and publicly available. Everyone would be able to participate, including exchanges and wallets. It would have to work with existing blockchain, rather than against them. Also, it would have to function with these blockchains without the need to change them in any way. A protocol such as this requires everyone to come together and forget about the rivalries in order to make cryptocurrency, in general, a mainstream method of payment.
Data can travel from one chain to another, and work identically for every token. That way, the value would remain the same regardless of which token is being used. All of this would be only a start, and numerous other use cases, benefits, and features will likely be discovered along the way.
Since this is still a theoretical issue, it is hard to predict all of the potential consequences. However, some are to be expected, and the first and most obvious one would be much lower volatility. This will not happen, however, for as long as digital currencies and blockchain technology are limited to being only an alternative investment asset class.
In order to achieve Satoshi's true vision, cryptocurrencies need to have a level of comfort and confidence added to them. Making them easier to use will attract more people, and will make them interested in using this new payment method in everyday life. This is something they are hesitating to do simply because they do not understand them because of complexity. This is why improving user experience should be the number one priority right now, and the first step towards mass adoption.