One of the many problems that Bitcoin has the potential of solving is that of how to pay content providers (like me). In this piece, Gene Hoffman of Vidicia lays out the problem of paying for content – most people don’t want to do it, and even if they do, don’t want to go to the trouble to do it.
He goes on to say that Bitcoin could be a solution for this situation, but points out that, so far at least, it has not risen to the occasion. Two years after starting to take Bitcoin, Overstock still registers only .1 percent of sales in Bitcoin.
He is, of course, absolutely right. Bitcoin has not yet gained the traction or the scale it will need to be an automatic payment platform. Where he and I differ is that he ends his piece with the seeming opinion that it never will.
The problem with Bitcoin is that it was never a natural for success. In a perfect world where money and financial institutions were run for the benefit of the people, there would be no need of Bitcoin – or the institutions would altruistically create it and fade from existence.
No, it is the corruption and the rot at the heart of our financial and political world that is required to boost Satoshi’s creation from an odd experiment to a world currency. As long as the majority of people feel that the credit card in the pocket and the bank down the street are playing are trustworthy, they will never take the risk and trouble to begin using Bitcoin.
What this means is, the slow user/merchant adoption road to success some had envisioned for Bitcoin was never really going to happen. Bitcoin’s first killer app was, and is still, speculation and as a store of value.
When the next financial shock comes, and it will, we are going to see a flight of value into Bitcoin and other uncensored, trustless stores of value. When that happens, the market cap will soar and user/merchant adoption will finally begin. When that happens, we will start to see automatic payment channels, like the one being pioneered by the Brave browser really take off. And when that happens governments and banks will suddenly find themselves in a whole new world with a different, more empowered, populace.