Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has taken to social media to decry the heavy emphasis placed on cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds in lieu of real-world crypto adoption, stating that while complex crypto financial products are beneficial for short-term gains, the ability to easily and quickly purchase cryptocurrencies is more important.
Buterin, who previously spoke out against speculative crypto market participants, is apparently impervious with the large amount of hype surrounding the impending SEC decision on a series of Bitcoin ETFs.
I think there's too much emphasis on BTC/ETH/whatever ETFs, and not enough emphasis on making it easier for people to buy $5 to $100 in cryptocurrency via cards at corner stores. The former is better for pumping price, but the latter is much better for actual adoption.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) July 29, 2018
Bitcoin ETF Not Important for “Actual Adoption”
The possibility of a Bitcoin ETF currently has the cryptocurrency community eagerly awaiting a decision from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, with analysts predicting a significant price surge up to $50,000 should the regulatory body approve the proposal.
Buterin, however, remains unimpressed:
“… I personally think the current level of adoption is imbalanced, ie. there’s relatively speaking too much investment and not enough usage.”
While Buterin may call for streamlined, easy to access cryptocurrency purchases, there is already a range of platforms that facilitate a near-identical method of cryptocurrency investment outlined by the Ethereum mastermind in his tweet.
It’s already possible to purchase cryptocurrency at thousands of retail locations around Australia via the Blueshyft platform, which also allows consumers to use digital currency to pay for goods and services. Paris-based platform Bitit offers a similar service, making it possible for consumers to buy crypto from retail stores in Europe.
Crypto Cards Make a Comeback
Purchasing cryptocurrency is decidedly simple in the current market ecosystem. Whether online via popular platforms such as Coinbase, via retail stores or peer-to-peer platforms such as LocalBitcoins, it’s never been easier to exchange fiat currency for cryptocurrency.
The crypto to fiat bridge is a major obstacle currently hindering widespread adoption. The resurgence of crypto debit cards, however, could potentially solve this issue. Crypto debit cards allow cryptocurrency exchange their crypto assets for fiat on the fly, but were heavily suppressed during a late 2017 crackdown that saw most major crypto debit card providers shut down.
The future of crypto debit cards does appear promising. Hong Kong-based Monaco, which recently rebranded to Crypto(.com) subsequent to a high-profile domain purchase, demonstrated the usability of a new cryptocurrency debit card at the TechCrunch conference in Zug, Switzerland.
Revealed on June 6, the Crypto(.com) debit card leverages a payment gateway agreement with Visa as outlined by CEO Kris Marszalek in a press release. With Visa CEO Alfred Kelley stating in Q1 2018 that he does not view Bitcoin as a “payment system player” and the payment processor only processes fiat currency-based transactions, it’s evident that crypto to fiat conversion.
Despite misgivings regarding the speculative nature of cryptocurrencies, it’s apparent that Visa has reached an agreement with the crypto debit card platform, further accelerating cryptocurrency adoption.
It may not be possible to purchase Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies at a local store in the same manner as Amazon gift cards, but the availability of crypto debit cards and actual over-the-counter crypto purchase mechanisms are bringing such an eventuality closer than ever before.
Cover Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash