June 7th 2020
Blockchain Marketer I International Speaker, Startup Mentor, Bestselling Fiction Author, Podcaster
Back in the good days, when we could still go to different blockchain conferences and meetups, one of the most common topics was “mass adoption”.
That’s what many of us are impatiently waiting for and are excited about. Although it feels like there is a lot of progress made in the sphere, I don’t believe the mass adoption is gonna happen as soon as we’d like it to happen.
That led me to question why that is. What are the main barriers to entry? What are blockchain projects doing wrong, that does not let them gain mass adoption for their products and services?
Below are my personal opinions based on the many conversations I’ve had with different people from across the crypto community, as well as from my personal experiences working in this space for years and seeing many blockchain startups.
To me, although the question is complex and has loads of elements within itself, things come down to several fundamental issues. Please bear in mind that I am representing the human side of this, and am not covering anything related to the technology, because I believe that there are many other people who are way more qualified than me to do that, so, I’ll leave that to them.
To be completely honest, I think that we ourselves are sabotaging our dream. Unfortunately, we need to change the way we approach the goal in order to increase our chances.
And before you start throwing stones at me, please let me explain.
In order to gain MASS adoption you need to solve a problem that MASSES have.
This may sound obvious, but in many cases this seemingly obvious point is missed by projects I encounter. I have seen many teams pushing an idea not because it solves a real problem, but because they simply like it, and later they try to sell the solution for a problem people did not even have in the first place. That’s a tough task.
Staying stuck in the tech
This is the big one. Blockchain projects are often so focused on the technology that they miss out on the human side. They create purely tech teams and concentrate on building their tech solution, and only after it’s ready they start thinking about everything else. They talk to other tech guys, they meet other startups at all those conferences and meetups — but they rarely talk to their non-tech end users. Not until it’s pretty late to do so.
You can’t imagine how many blockchain startups are thinking about their go-to market strategy 30 days before launch.
Speaking different languages
I am Armenian… so if I want to communicate with more people than in my nation I need to use English.
Same here… the masses don’t speak tech language.
They don’t understand crypto and blockchain terminology, and they are not fascinated by the things that tech teams are excited by. So here too, as a blockchain project, you need to translate your message into international human languages that many people will understand.
A simple adjustment is to speak less about the technology and its features, and highlight more the benefits for the end-users.
Changing lifestyle and habits is almost impossible
One of the main reasons my mum or any other non-techy person is not already into crypto is the high barriers to entry. Yes I know that anyone can open a wallet, I don’t mean that. It’s a benefit reward equation. Crypto requires more effort to get into than what a regular person is willing to sacrifice. It simply doesn’t fit into their lifestyle.
We send emails with one click and we don’t care how it works, nor do we need to. We use it because it is convenient, works, and is easy to use. We know banks are evil but people don’t shift to crypto because even using the not so good banking apps is still way easier than dealing with crypto.
What many are trying to do is to make people learn how to get into the crypto space by learning how to use the tools that are available at the moment. Let’s be honest, those tools were created by tech people FOR tech people. Crypto people are not so bothered about UI. UX and design and convenience (just take a look at Bitcointalk!).
I think, if instead of making people learn all that stuff we focused on creating more user-friendly solutions where people could use it just like they use to email our chances of converting them would be way higher.
Wrong perception of community
For blockchain projects back in the ICO days, the community was needed just to sell the token. Later those token buyers were seen by some startups as a burden and an unnecessary hassle.
Now when there are not that many ICOs around, and so following the above logic, many projects think that they don’t need a community.
If you are a B2C project, even if you’re not gonna have a token, you still need a community from day one.
The difference is — you need a community that consists of your future end users.
A strong and healthy community will help you with user acquisition and service adoption…or kill it in a day, just like the Steemit community did after its hostile takeover.
And guess what?
Unlike some of you, they do speak your user’s language, and can be that so much needed bridge between the tech and the masses. This is exactly why I truly believe that the B2C projects that don’t have a community will never have a chance for mass adoption.
There is a lot to take into consideration, and all these pieces will need to work and synch together for better results. I firmly believe that most projects need to change the angle they look at their business if they truly wish to gain new perspectives.
So to them and to you I say, until you put your end-user at the heart of everything you do, mass adoption will be a challenge you will never overcome.