Digital currencies and blockchain technology have entered their eleventh year, while still remaining far from adopted by the masses. Clearly, if this is to change the world, we need to take this beyond the current pool of crypto fans. However, a myopic focus on the mythical “average user” has been the death of many a crypto project which failed to reach and activate non-technical, non-ideological users with any rate of success. I think we can learn something from the success of the silver to Bitcoin’s gold: Litecoin.
Don’t underestimate just how big the crypto fanbase has become
As it turns out, the space is growing just fine on its own. According to a study by Crypto Radar, 6.2% of Americans have bought cryptocurrency before, with a further 7.3% looking to buy in the near future. That’s over 44 million people in the US alone, or equivalent to the entire population of Argentina.
Now, right now cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin largely serve as speculative assets or other investments, however there always will be a need to efficiently move and/or spend them at some point in order to realize gains. This is where a project like Dash can come in, as a perfect tool for Bitcoiners seeking to actually use their coins. Or, at the very least, this is a group of people fundamentally familiar with the technology who won’t be intimidated by the different user experience.
What Litecoin did
Those who know me are already aware that I’m no strong fan of Litecoin. However, you can’t deny the genius of its core marketing strategy: silver to Bitcoin’s gold. First, this explanation requires almost no extra educational effort: everyone knows silver and gold, and everyone knows at least (and usually at most) what Bitcoin is. Even something relatively easy to conceptualize like Dash, which is digital cash, still requires an answer to the follow-up questions “Wait isn’t that what Bitcoin does?” and “So I have Bitcoin, now what do I need Dash for?” Dash’s branding is great for an independent ecosystem, to a world that doesn’t know or care about Bitcoin, but for the current world where cryptocurrency is complicated and Bitcoin already has a great brand advantage, Litecoin is right on the money.
Most importantly, Litecoin is solidified in the present cryptocurrency space as one of the bigger name brands, precisely because of this semi-parasitic relationship to Bitcoin. As this space and the technology behind it inevitably grows, Litecoin gets to ride this success through no achievement of its own. That is except, of course, for its investment in marketing that put it in this place to begin with.
Chasing “normies” and mass adoption is a tough, long road
Ultimately, someone is going to have to bring crypto to the masses. There exist many use cases not yet fully realized, from remittances to high-chargeback industries to even just buying a cup of coffee without incurring quite so much in fees. However, these applications are not there for the taking. We’re not fully ready yet. Systems need to be built, people need to be educated, and ultimately it’s a long and hard road ahead, with lots of effort and investment before any semblance of returns appear. In order to make it that far, in order to have a viable product and an active community, you have to engage the current cryptoverse today.
Sure, focus on bringing world-changing tech to the non-technical masses. But don’t forget to pull a Litecoin and target your biggest captive market: crypto fans.