To love Bitcoin, or to hate it — that’s the dilemma Wall Street hotshots have been struggling for years on end. Optimists claim that Wall Streeters are allocating money to the crypto asset class en-masse. Cynics claim that they are foreseeing Bitcoin’s eventual demise. The indecisive say that it’s a mix of both — and they might just be correct.
As Fidelity Investments, the Intercontinental Exchange, Nasdaq, and TD Ameritrade are revving their engines, preparing to launch their forays into the cryptosphere, one Wall Street analyst has claimed that he’s confused about Bitcoin’s premise and raison d’etre.
Wall Street’s Shilling Not Sold On Bitcoin (BTC)
Speaking to Business Insider, Gary Shilling, a preeminent financial analyst, commentator, and researcher, claimed that to him, Bitcoin is like a black box. Shilling added that he isn’t much of a believer in black boxes.
He explained that he tried to learn about Bitcoin from one of his peers, an unnamed West Coast-based venture capitalist, but his friend purportedly failed to explain the concept in-depth. As such, he went on to liken Bitcoin to traditional scams, where someone set up a facade to collect money, before leaving the continent cash-in-hand, never to be heard from again. In closing, he stated:
“I’m just very suspicious of things that are not transparent. If I can’t understand it, I won’t invest in it.”
Barriers To Entry — Bitcoin’s [C]ryptonite
Although hundreds bashed Shilling for his questionable outlook on Bitcoin, the investor’s comments underscore a greater issue in this nascent industry — the high barriers to entry.
Since BTC and its altcoin brethren came into being, many have lauded cryptocurrencies and related technologies as paradigm-shifting innovations. Yet, now, just ten years after the first blockchain transaction was processed by one Satoshi Nakamoto — whose magnum opus was the Bitcoin whitepaper — global adoption still seems like a quixotic dream.
As hinted at earlier, the colossal barriers to entry are still an issue that plagues prospective investors and industry participants. Save for Coinbase Consumer (Coinbase.com), nearly every single cryptocurrency exchange is hard to navigate, even more so for consumers who haven’t used TD Ameritrade’s portal or similar platform. And even if users properly create a secure, KYC-approved exchange account, by jumping through the mundane route of hoops, the pervasive attitude of crypto’s “shillers” may lead to poor investing decisions — made more than apparent by 2017’s ICO boom (and subsequent bust).
The issues don’t end there, as once users sign up for an exchange, on-load fiat, and buy X token, it may be a struggle for naive individuals to actually get their holdings off an exchange, much less use a “utility” token for its stipulated application.
While all the aforementioned issues seem disconnected, or linked by a mere thread at best, there’s an overarching theme here. This, if you haven’t caught on already, is the lack of viable, non-bias, and community-sourced information that exists in this industry. There may be ventures trying to solve this, such as information portal 99Bitcoins, intelligence unit Messari, or Binance Academy/Info, but still, much of this curated information goes ‘in one ear and out the other’ for the technologically inadept.
So I ask — how is crypto supposed to revolutionize the world without users?
Frankly, without users, crypto can’t do much. Yet, as this industry continues to forge forward, which will come alongside an increase in global internet, smartphone, and personal computer penetration, this issue may eventually bite the dust.
That’s the hope anyway.