Blockchain Capital‘s “State of Crypto 2019” report devoted an entire chapter to the mass adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
As far as adoption by ordinary (retail) users is concerned, the report reveals that Bitcoin is continuing to propagate among millennials. Full-time crypto developers have also grown in 2019.
As far as large institutional investors and technology companies are concerned, the major focus is on the new large crypto projects that have been unveiled over the past year, with the development of increasingly sophisticated infrastructures within the crypto ecosystem.
Finally, with regard to the relationship with states and institutions, it has “awakened” with the launch of the Facebook Libra project, which has led governments to become increasingly interested in digital currencies, to the extent that the Chinese central bank, PBoC, for example, has revealed its intention to issue its own.
It is clear, therefore, that there is no mass adoption for now, neither for bitcoin nor for other cryptocurrencies, but some progress has been made in this direction over the past year, albeit still relatively small.
A graph showing the status of the cryptocurrency journey from the margins to the mainstream reveals that for ordinary users this path started already in 2011, and is currently more or less one-third of the way, while for institutional investors it started only between the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, and would still be less than 15% from the final goal.
For States, on the other hand, it only started at the end of 2019, and would still be less than 10% of the way.
Achieving full mainstream coverage would only be conceivable after 2030, i.e. more than ten years from now.
At present, for example, Bitcoin is of particular interest especially between millennials and the so-called Generation Z, i.e. young people between 18 and 34 years of age, to the point that about half of them believe that most people will use BTC in the next 10 years.
In particular, according to a survey by The Harris Poll conducted online in the United States on 2,029 adults aged 18 and over, it emerged that 30% of the members of Generation Z would already now prefer to invest in bitcoin rather than government bonds, with more than 25% of millennials doing the same thing.
But as age increases, this percentage drops to 15% for 50-year-olds, just over 10% for 60-year-olds, and 5% for the over-65s.
Hence the path towards mass adoption is not only segmented according to the type of subjects involved, but also very much according to the age group.
However, the fact that people who are currently young will move on to the next age group in about ten years, replaced by new young people presumably even more interested in cryptocurrencies, makes the process seem inevitable in some ways, despite being slow.
With regard to the concrete steps that still need to be taken to encourage mass adoption, it has emerged that the use of the various tools must be simplified, for example new wallets that offer a more intuitive user experience with less complicated or unclear steps, with crypto payment processors that allow the easy use of fiat currencies, and with startups that take care of integrating models already familiar to users such as those used by the most popular e-commerce websites.
However, many steps have already been taken, as shown by the fact that most financial institutions now have a blockchain-oriented strategy, whereas bitcoin is increasingly seen as an asset without reputational risk.
In addition, traditional financial distribution channels have the potential to allow access to the crypto world for tens of millions of new users, with a huge space for growth among both retail and institutional users, although a lot of training and awareness is still needed.
In conclusion, it is possible to state that the process towards mass adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies seems to have already started, albeit still in its infancy, with some categories of users (retail) and some age groups (generation Z and millennial) ahead of others. However, also the other types of users seem to have already embarked on this path, but they are still only at the very beginning.