Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC) has certainly come a long way in just over a decade in existence, but quite frankly, we’re not even close to achieving mass adoption of digital currencies. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on March 18, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, asks Onramp Invest CEO and cryptocurrency expert Tyrone Ross what it would take for Bitcoin to become a widely used method of payment.
Matt Frankel: When do you think we’re going to see mass adoption of Bitcoin as a payment mechanism? I know just in the past year or so, I know PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) announced that they’re planning to roll out Bitcoin acceptance on all of their merchants. Do you see this as a way in the future thing? Do you see it as a few years? In other words, how long do you see the speculative period of Bitcoin lasting?
Tyrone Ross: When crypto has its iPhone moment and it hasn’t had its iPhone moment and I think that’s going to take a lot more of design folks — UX/UI — that are used to designing this beautiful experience for people, where it’s just operating in the background and you don’t know. When I’m using Bitcoin and blockchain and all these things and I don’t even know, and it’s just this beautiful experience. Then you get the Steve Jobs of crypto who says, “I’m going to make you want something that you didn’t even know you needed,” and you’re like, “Man, I really need an iPhone.” Then we’re going to make sure every time we update it, you’re going to go out and get it. But it’s a beautiful experience. I think once we get beautiful design and experience into crypto, it’s going to cross over because then you get away from public key, private key, losing this. What about this? How do I store it? Where do I put it? Once all that’s gone and it’s just in my phone, my Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) wallet or whatever — you saw the news of Visa (NYSE:V) yesterday again, saying that with a credit card and everything else, making Visa simply to access a Bitcoin, easy-to-use on your phone and be able to convert it to dollars. When we get there, it’s game on, and regulation plays a part in that too, because if you use a Bitcoin to buy things, every one of those transactions are taxable. We have to make sure that we get away from that as well. There’s a long way to go here.
Frankel: One of the things I often say about new technology is if it’s not easy people aren’t going to do it, no matter how good it is.
Ross: One hundred percent.
Frankel: In other words, you’re saying when Bitcoin becomes as easier or easier to use than U.S. dollars, that’s going to be the iPhone moment, I guess you would say.
Ross: One hundred percent, because that’s what it is, it’s cash. The ease of which I could just walk up to you and hand you $20 and walk away. That’s not taxable. I can do the same thing with Bitcoin right now. But when everyone does that and it’s just a matter of fact, “I just sent you Bitcoin.” You get it and there’s nothing to it, then we’ll be there, but we’re not there yet.
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