How do we grow adoption so that Bitcoin Cash becomes peer-to-peer electronic cash for the world?
Returning recently from the BitcoinCashCity conference, I am inspired. Retail adoption of crypto payments actually manifesting in real life is quite something to behold. A dream come true for any true Bitcoiner. But the potential isn’t exclusive to Townsville. There’s similar progress being made in Tokyo, Slovenia, and other areas.
What are the commonalities here and what we can learn from this? More importantly, how can we replicate this kind of success in every city in the world?
As someone who’s mostly been working mostly on technical projects rather than adoption, this article is admittedly a bit of armchair quarterbacking, but I’d like to share the observations I’ve made after talking to many people that are directly involved in ongoing adoption efforts.
Grow Local Hotspots
The first observation is the (perhaps obvious) fact that we have to conquer a city before we can conquer the world.
An opposite approach might be something like bchpizza.org (a website I helped to start), which is attempting to onboard businesses in every corner of the globe. While all adoption efforts help, this idea scatters the onboarding raindrops into a thousand different buckets. It may not make a substantial difference in any one place.
However, I believe that more progress can be made by gaining traction in a specific geographic area. When you achieve local adoption in a place like Townsville, it becomes “real”. It can be experienced. There’s a network effect happening. It can even begin to grow on its own. And it’s also visible to the world as proof, and thus it is marketing as well.
Chicken and Egg
Like any market with buyers and sellers, creating a new network effect is hard. With no buyers, sellers find other markets and vice-versa. How do you bootstrap the network?
With real world adoption, there’s local businesses and retail consumers. I like to think of these as just “businesses” and “users”. It’s hard to get the businesses to accept (and keep accepting) Bitcoin Cash if there’s no one using it. And it’s hard to get people to use it if there’s nowhere to spend it.
Meetup Groups are Key
The way to solve the chicken and egg problem is with meetup groups. Meetup groups are made up of users, and do not require BCH-accepting businesses to function. The attendees are driven by the ideology and are passionate, even before the real world usage is there. They are the spark that starts the fire.
Meetup groups can then solicit the local businesses around them. For example, 10 people in a meetup group can go to a local restaurant and attempt to onboard them, and pay in Bitcoin Cash. This is immediate positive feedback for the establishment.
Even if the restaurant owner isn’t there to make a decision, servers can be tipped and onboarded easily by downloading a mobile wallet. The staff can often become advocates to their employers.
When meetup groups become large, they are a force to be reckoned with. The way to grow them large is to meet regularly, and often. Twice a month is better than once a month, and every week is better still.
The Power of the Individual
Just as a small group of people can change an entire city, often it is only one or a few key people that are responsible for creating a strong meetup group. Some software developers have said that in Bitcoin Cash, you can contribute and have an “oversized impact”. I think this is even more true with adoption efforts.
If you ever thought “I’m just one person, what can I do?”…the answer is that you can do a lot. You can start a meetup group from nothing, grow it to a huge size, and eventually onboard your entire city.
The best way to predict the future is to create it. Whether you’re motivated by making the world a better place, or by increasing the value of Bitcoin Cash, or both, you now have the information you need to make this happen with your own efforts.
Not everyone has the personality or the time to be an adoption leader, so the next best thing is to directly support the efforts of those who are. But don’t wait for others to make things happen. There’s always a million great ideas, but not enough people actually doing things.