Qwick Takes: Have cryptocurrencies become mainstream?

Erica Thompson August 26, 2021

Graphic of three reporters holding up quills standing on a newspaper.

This week, Talking Biz News Deputy Editor Erica Thompson reached out to Qwoted’s community of experts to inquire about how digital currencies are becoming mainstream.

Check out some of the top commentary:

Victor Zhang, Founder of AlchemyNFT:

Judging by the intensity of demand and interest among investors and everyday collectors for NFTs. Or at least in that sense that many people are being introduced to cryptocurrencies for the first time, thanks to NFTs. As more people learn how to purchase crypto, set up a wallet, connect to an NFT marketplace, and transact, that builds a virtuous cycle. We’re at the mainstream’s front door, where awareness turns into actual usage. Crypto is still a bit complex to use and not the most beginner-friendly. But it’s vastly more accessible than it was even last year – and that’s going to drive the next wave of users in the coming year.”

Larry Pang, Head of Business Development at IoTeX:

In the lifecycle of technology adoption, the blockchain and cryptocurrency space has passed the “innovators” phase and is currently in the “early adopters” phase. This year we have seen household names like Visa, Facebook, and SoftBank all building, adopting, and investing in the cryptocurrency space in various ways, which legitimizes the technology and, more importantly, gives consumers the confidence to explore this budding industry. Although we are not fully mainstream yet, crypto is making massive strides in adoption, as evidenced by Coinbase’s 68 million users and the crypto industry’s $2 trillion market cap. As everyday people get comfortable buying and storing crypto for the first time, the next natural evolution is to see people use cryptocurrencies as utility tokens in peer-to-peer networks rather than speculative investment vehicles.”

Diane Dai, Co-founder of DODO:

I’m biased, but cryptocurrencies have been mainstream for quite some time now. We may not quite be at the moment where everyone uses them every day, like with fiat currencies. But we’re at a time in which people everywhere, across nearly every country, are aware and engaged with the concept of cryptocurrencies. And, in some countries, usage of cryptocurrencies is far further advanced than in North America and other Western economies. We may be in the early days of crypto – but it’s certainly a mainstream concept that’s encouraging an entire generation to build apps and services for our inevitable decentralized future.”

Doug Petkanics, CEO of Livepeer:

Awareness of cryptocurrencies, and its applications across NFTs, Defi, and Web3, has risen rapidly over the past year. There’s a merging of the existing economy and new decentralized alternatives, the outcome of this pivotal convergence is still unknown. And naturally, adoption lags awareness. For every person who has heard of Bitcoin, less have purchased a cryptocurrency, staked tokens, or bought an NFT. It’s still early days, but judging by the continued interest and growing momentum, we’re nearing the momentum where crypto – and its decentralized Web3 alternatives – will be very much mainstream.”

Kay Khemani, Managing Director of Spectre.ai:

[Interest in cryptocurrencies among institutional investors is growing and] it is positively correlated with regulatory clarity. As the latter has increased somewhat, major companies have already started to add Bitcoin to their balance sheets. Institutions are regulated entities and audited by regulated auditing firms. Therefore, it is not possible for them to add unregulated or unclassified assets on their balance sheets, without risking their own reputations and breaching their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. Once a proper, globally coordinated framework for Bitcoin and serious digital assets is put into place, a wall of institutional money is likely to find a home there.”

Stephen Tse, Founder and CEO of Harmony:

Cryptocurrencies are part of today’s economy. DeFi solutions are becoming a regular way to keep, save and grow money.

Not only as an asset class or investment, but also as a way to educate themselves in finance. Our platform is also a wallet that lets our users start paying, saving, and building credit based on their behaviour and tokens.”

Jacob Hoffman, Consultant at Pelicoin:

We’re definitely witnessing the more established and large-scale financial institutions warming to cryptocurrencies, and shedding their usual skepticism. Earlier this month PayPal relaxed its rules on crypto and will allow its UK customers to trade and hold Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other main cryptocurrencies in their accounts. PayPal’s decision to embrace crypto as a mainstream payment option suggests that cryptocurrencies, historically the preserve of fringe groups, have now been endorsed by the mainstream.”

Ian Balina, Founder and CEO of TokenMetrics:

Crypto has officially become mainstream, primarily driven by a mainstream interest in crypto memes like Dogecoin and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Robinhood recently reported that 50% of its transaction-based revenue in the second quarter was crypto, 62% of that being Dogecoin. According to Google Trends, NFTs have become more popular than DeFi, showing mainstream interest in digitally scarce collectibles.

Adding on mainstream banks and financial services companies like PayPal, Venmo, Visa, and Goldman Sachs launching crypto products, it is safe to say crypto has broken into the zeitgeist. The only thing remaining to take crypto even further is regulatory clarity from the SEC and CFTC.”

Don Basile, CEO of Roman DBDR:

We have corporate organizations that are putting cryptocurrencies on their balance sheet. Tesla, MicroStrategy, Square… These are very large companies that have decided to hold cryptocurrencies on their balance sheets. That right there is proof that crypto is mainstream.

These updates are all backward looking – PayPal launching crypto trade options is a backward looking validation that crypto is mainstream. PayPal is providing crypto accessibility because it is in high demand and a validated growth opportunity for revenue and profits.”

Jon Wilk, CEO of CompoSecure:

The lines between traditional banking/payments and cryptocurrency are blurring with today’s announcement of Gemini, one of the largest crypto exchanges, launching a crypto rewards credit card with CompoSecure. Cardholders can get 3% back in crypto on all purchases. This news builds on last month’s Crypto.com announcement that allowed payments to be made from crypto for purchases. A recent Bank of America report showed it is also a trend with traditional financial institutions – It stated that 21% of today’s leading banks are incorporating blockchain into their services, such as JP Morgan, Citibank and Wells Fargo.

This blurring of lines between payments and crypto was further proven through a recent PYMNTS.com survey that showed that two-thirds of users who have held cryptocurrencies purchased them to make transactions. And nearly all (93 percent) of cryptocurrency users “would consider making purchases with it in the future”, and six in ten (59 percent) of consumers who have never held cryptocurrency are “interested in using it to make purchases in the future.”

Marie Tatibouet, CMO of Gate.io:

Actually, I would argue that cryptocurrencies have been mainstream for a while now. Let’s look at all the things that have happened since the beginning of 2020:

– MicroStrategy and Tesla – among others – have assigned a significant portion of their balance sheets to crypto.

– Visa has purchased a CryptoPunk NFT as a store-of-value and work of art.

– An NFT art was sold for $69M in Christie’s.

– Dogecoin has dominated Twitter and the mainstream market. It even made an appearance on SNL.

– Celebs such as Snoop Dogg, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, etc., have embraced NFTs and promoted them.

– Sports icons like Lionel Messi and Tom Brady are actively involved with crypto or getting paid in crypto.

– PayPal offering crypto services, and UWM accepting crypto (like you have already pointed out).

And we are just talking about crypto adoption here. What about mainstream businesses integrating blockchain technology to improve their offerings? From Walmart and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company boosting their supply chain with blockchain to banks experimenting with blockchain to improve international payments, it seems like we are standing at the precipice of some genuinely great innovations via Satoshi Nakamoto’s brainchild.

So, I don’t think cryptos are “about” to be mainstream. I believe that cryptos ARE mainstream.”

 

Check out the original blog on TalkingBizNews.

 

Ready to pitch?