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For many of us cryptocurrency enthusiasts, we’ve been waiting for the mainstream population to start learning about the awesome new way to transact and store data online. After all, Bitcoin and other cryptos have arguably been a small niche for many years now, though they’ve been growing over time. But with the massive surge in Bitcoin’s price recently, are we finally going mainstream? Sort of.

Increasing Visibility

When it comes to marketing, it’s often said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity – anything that helps you get out in front of the public is a win. Bitcoin has definitely had its fair share in the past, ranging from things like the Mt Gox hack to things like the Silk Road being shut down and massive auctions of confiscated bitcoins being sold off. There are dozens of events that have happened, and while some have caused a dip here and there, Bitcoin has always bounced back. But Bitcoin has now transcended to a whole new level, with some key changes:

  • Countries are starting to adopt Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies
  • Many major corporations are backing cryptocurrencies (like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance)
  • News has been mostly based on its pricing, rather than bad events (excluding some, such as Jamie Dimon calling it a “fraud”)

The simple fact is that the media light as of late has been brighter than ever. Sure, there’s still some quirks and things going on that are less than savory, but the overall momentum is moving more positive – a huge step for the media.

More Newbies Than Ever are Asking Questions

Let’s exclude the fact that Coinbase has been experiencing monumental growth. Let’s also discount the increasing number of transactions. Instead, listen to the number of people who now at least know the word “Bitcoin.” For those of us who have been trying to share knowledge for some time, it’s been apparent that most really didn’t even want to hear about it. They had zero interest, along the lines of trying to tell a stranger about a date you went on or some game you played. Now, however, you can hear talk about it much more frequently. We’re still in a period where most don’t understand what it is, what it means, or why they should really care, but knowing of it is a huge step. With that said, it does still bring about some negative connotations for some. As a direct example, I had someone try to explain to me that it’s only used for illegal activities on the dark net, and then starts listing things he’s heard are there. Does he have any actual experience with any of this? No. But because he’s heard that it’s a possibility, he automatically discounted it, and nothing I could say was swaying his opinion. This is another hurdle we need to overcome as a community, but it’s a great one to finally be facing.

Do the CME’s Bitcoin Futures Help?

I’m going to bring up something that many are not going to like: we’ve all likely heard of the CME’s upcoming Bitcoin futures by now. But when it comes to BTC adoption, it’s likely to have little effect. Will it help with bringing more cash into the mix? It’s definitely possible. But adoption of a currency and investors are often two separate groups. Take, for example, this survey from Gallup earlier this year. According to that, only about half of Americans own any stocks – and that includes individual stocks, mutual funds, 401(k)s, and IRAs. If we’re only looking at those who are actively in the market, it’s far less than this (most are just in passively, through things like index funds). As a result, the CME’s futures are likely not going to affect much in the way of adoption. After all, most are more interested in safer options, rather than taking risks, and Bitcoin needs adoption for the currency itself to keep concreting it as a competitor to fiat and banks.

Conclusion

We’re definitely heading in the right direction with regards to crypto adoption and going mainstream. There’s still a long path forward, but compared to even a year ago, the landscape has changed dramatically. You can look forward to future updates to the “are we mainstream?” series going forward as big changes occur within the crypto economy that can be compared to the current view.

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