In my estimation, there are three clear problems standing in the way of cryptocurrency receiving a broader range of supporters – complexity, lack of use and lack of trust.
Though incredible strides have been made and the industry has been very accommodating to less ‘tech-savvy’ users, Crypto is still seen as an incredibly complex thing to get involved in for those over 50.
Only 8% of people over 50 use or understand cryptocurrency, with the rate dropping to less than 3% of people when looking at those over 65. That may not seem like an incredibly surprising figure, older generations have been struggling with modern technologies for millennia – it is a fact of life.
But, when we factor in just how much of the overall wealth of the world is controlled by people over 60, it becomes vitally important that they are involved in this new technology, if it is to ever get its feet off the ground.
Many young people have forgotten a life before amazon, when shopping was done in person and money was a tangible thing you could hold in your hand. It is important to imagine just how bewildering it is for less tech-savvy folks to go on a site like Coinbase and invest in bitcoin or set up your own wallet to pay for items online.
A way that could be changed is through easing the casual user into the crypto ecosystem. Make wallets more accessible and easier to set up, and without the need for incredibly long passwords that are impossible to memorize while still maintaining security (face ID could be very useful here).
A starter pack could be a great way of simplifying the process. A pre-packaged box of all the essentials needed – from a ‘cold wallet’ to a few useful books on the subject.
When looking to attract the older demographic into cryptocurrency it is important to emphasize physical pieces of technology to help put people’s minds at ease.
The ‘Cold Wallet’ is a fitting example of that. A physical tangible way of storing a bitcoin or other cryptocurrency off-line, which looks just like a USB stick. Sure, it is a bit more complicated than that, but by starting off with physical media, it helps contextualize the value of this technology.
Another great physical media that can help ease people into using Cryptocurrency, is a ‘crypto-card’, which is essentially a debit card that can be loaded with bitcoin to make purchases online or in-store. These cards even work with retailers who do not accept cryptocurrencies, making it a very simple way to get started.
Another problem facing cryptocurrency is just how tied its image is to financial investing. Not everyone wants to be looking at spreadsheets and graphs and be gambling on every minor change in the value of a coin. A lot of people just want to make purchases and be involved in this new technology. The problem then becomes – what can a retired 65-year-old use Bitcoin for? Not much.
To be fair, there has been a rise in possible uses for Cryptocurrency. One in particular is online sports betting. The betting industry has been extremely open to the rise of cryptocurrency with it being incredibly simple to bet on sports with bitcoin – why can’t other industries do that?
Until an old lady can buy a packet of sweets with a bitcoin debit card, crypto will never catch on.
In fairness, older people are quicker to adapt to modern technology when they know it is not going to involve losing all their money. The media has done a great job of stoking up fear around cryptocurrency by highlighting the few instances where people have lost their money due to hacking. This is incredibly rare, and people are at a higher risk of having their physical money taken out of their pocket than losing it in a crypto-safe.
Still, fear is fair enough. If people are going to be convinced to part with their money and invest in this technology, they need to be certain it is secure. And how do you do that? With familiarity.
A recognizable and trusted Hollywood face could go far to give crypto that much needed push – Its decentralized image is doing it no favors in trust building. By having someone like George Clooney advocating for the industry takes away a lot of the mystique and could be a great way of attracting new investors and thus new use-cases.
It is going to take a long time until Cryptocurrency is a widely accepted and trusted thing. As with all new technologies, time and a constant showing off its benefits are all it can do, and only time will tell.