A promising development

Bitcoin and Ethereum are rallying to historic highs. Cryptocurrencies are hot, despite Chinese efforts to shut them down. A single Bitcoin is now worth $1,415 and Ethereum is trading at a staggering $84.

Despite their appreciation, both currencies face the same fundamental problem. While they’re a well accepted medium of exchange in illicit marketplaces, they’re tough to spend in the real world. Stores in America take USD. Stores in Britain take GBP. They’re far from accepting BTC or ETH.

That’s why I was excited to find Plutus. Plutus promises to allow you to use your Ether and Bitcoin in ordinary transactions through contactless payments. Plutus theoretically allows you to use your phone’s tap & pay capability with Ether in place of American Express.

Unfortunately the implementation is still clunky and likely to scare away all but the geekiest. You load up through Dex:

This address is generated by a smart contract, receives the coins and immediately forwards them to verified traders on the DEX platform.
This smart contract then automatically notifies the DEX database to fund your virtual debit card with the equivalent amount in your local fiat currency.

It would be better if this were abstracted away. You should be able to automatically associate your Coinbase account with your Plutus app and away you go. No need to mention DEX or “your local fiat currency.”

Everyday liquidity is important for cryptocurrency’s growth. Plutus represents a step in the right direction. But the industry needs to get out of its own geeky way before it mainstreams.