In my years living entirely off of cryptocurrency I’ve noticed a certain few trends in how the world tends to react to concept. I’ve paid my ridesharing driver in cryptocurrency many times, and a whole street in ritzy downtown Portsmouth, NH accepts Dash as payment for goods and services. Plenty of businesses still don’t, however, and in a continuing attempt to understand what makes people decide whether or not to use digital currency, I’ve discovered the harder group to reach: the middle class.
The rich are able to take greater investment risks
I’ve noticed a lot of success in convincing the financially well-off to experiment with cryptocurrency. Generally this demographic is educated and is likely aware of digital assets and how well they’ve performed in recent years. Additionally, they have the means to be able to take minor financial risks with a new experimental investment. If crypto goes down, the wealthy are still safe, and able to ride out the bear market without discomfort. More importantly, owners of well-to-do shops can afford to take payments directly in cryptocurrency as a novelty, and because their margins are not as razor-thin as some other businesses, they can afford to have the proceeds from certain sales to remain un-spendable to cover bills and operational expenses.
The poor are in a position to accept alternative payment
On the other end of the spectrum, the poor are prime candidates for cryptocurrency adoption. Many operate mainly in cash and have limited access to financial services, and those that they can use are often expensive and inconvenient. Using most cryptocurrencies, Dash in particular, is an immediate improvement due to low fees and no setup costs or friction. As long as a lower-end business or worker is able to spend or sell their digital cash somewhere, they will be willing to take that risk in order to reap its benefits. Financial disruptions due to the difficulty of using, or losing, crypto are not as scary since many in this demographic are used to the stress associated with living on tight margins to begin with.
The least immediately reachable are the middle class
The toughest nut to crack, in my experience, has been the average middle class worker or business. Like the rich, the middle class is already well-served by current financial systems and has no immediate need for an alternative, but like the poor they tend to live on slim enough margins as to wish to avoid disruptions to their daily financial lives. Digital currency is likely to not offer any immediately obvious benefits, and cost a certain degree of disruption and headache for an already-overworked business owner. While the rich have time and resources to experiment with other options, and the poor have few options to begin with, the middle class are more likely to stick with the safe financial solutions that work for their lives so far.
The middle class is still reachable with special effort
That isn’t to say, however, that it’s not even worth trying to reach the middle class. They simply require some extra steps. On the individual side, more time and effort is required to educate them on the root reasons for using cryptocurrency, including the inefficiencies, risks, and failures of the current financial system, as well as central bank devaluation of state-run currency, concepts that the rich may already be aware of and the poor are more ready to quickly accept (or have experienced the ugly side of banking first-hand). On the merchant side, a digital cash evangelist should be prepared to have a system ready to set up which makes taking digital payments as seamless and “idiot-proof” as possible, and which simplifies the use of those digital funds for payment of expenses. Usually this means a service like BitPay or Coinbase easily connecting the banking and crypto worlds. It still is possible to reach a “regular business” without the aforementioned tools, though it would be an uphill battle in those circumstances.