Are We on the Verge of Mass Bitcoin Adoption?
From the early days gambling has been at the forefront of crypto adoption. Now, after the recent halving, it is a good time to see where we stand in terms of Bitcoin adoption and what can we learn in terms of wider crypto adoption.
The debate whether Bitcoin is actually money or currency or store of value is another matter and unlikely to end soon, but here we will leave it aside for a moment and focus on the first part. Is bitcoin, or any of the alt coins, on the way to become widely adopted as a payment method, based on what we can see in the gambling world.
Bitcoin Casino Adoption Trends
The first aspect to check is how many players actually use bitcoin for their casino deposits. As 99% of bitcoin casinos are private offshore companies, none of them shares any public info. However search trends can give us a relatively accurate picture.
Here is how it looks in the past 10 years.
As you can see, we are on the verge of breaking All Times High for Bitcoin casino searches, but in reality it’s much more.
The reason for the spike in 2017 is the insane bitcoin rally followed by mass FOMO effect. As you can see below, during that time bitcoin related searches went through the roof, but it wasn’t due to real interest in using bitcoin as a payment method, but due to the general hype, which naturally settled after the rally ended.
Now the situation is different. Despite the recent halving, the public interest in BTC is stable (unlike the storm of 2017) and therefore Bitcoin casino search numbers stand by themselves.
So are we on the way to public adoption?
Well, here the answer is more complicated. There are definitely more people using BTC as a money transfer method when it comes to gambling industry, 400% more than in 2016. But if we dig deeper into the stats and split the interest per country, the picture is not that clear.
The main geos where we see increase in Bitcoin gambling are USA, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada.
What four of them have in common? Highly problematic legal situation grounding online gambling.
In USA we have few states which legalized online gambling while in all the rest there are no state licensed casinos. In their fight with grey gambling market US government specifically targets the payment processors. US casino players outside of NJ, Delaware and Pennsylvania have almost no choice but to use cryptos if they wish to gamble online.
Sweden is on the other side of the scale – they have legalized online gambling but imposed endless number of restrictions such as betting limits, game play time and more. Therefore many players avoid the licensed casinos and in search for alternatives land in similar offshore gambling sites.
So as we can see, in these countries, the market restrictions brought, sometimes even forced, players into using bitcoin. Is that enough to initiate mass adoption of Bitcoin. The answer is very unlikely.
In most cases, public adoption happens when we like certain product or service. When it makes our life better or easier: wheel, car, mobile phone. It rarely happens due to forceful circumstances.
Not to mention that the variety of banking methods is just increasing, therefore the number of people that will be “forced” into using crypto won’t be high.
Bottom line is that there are definitely much more people using bitcoin as money exchange method than 3-4 years ago, but usually that is due to luck of alternatives and not “by choice”.
It seems that in order to break through, something new needs to come into existence that will bridge the use of cryptocoins to an average person, so the use of crypto based payment method will be a natural choice and not something that he has been forced to.
What about the Altcoins?
Another interesting aspect to check is were the Altcoins stand in all this. Does the use of alt coins increased as well or is Bitcoin first mover advantage is just too big?
Here the picture is clear.
As we can see, while the adoption of Bitcoin casinos is on the rise, altcoin casinos are stagnated on the same values as 2 – 3 years ago and remained on the level of an anecdote.
It’s interesting to compare it with Bitcoin dominance chart which many use to predict the Alt seasons.
Bitcoin dominance stood on 90% up until 2017 and then dropped below 40% in the end of the rally and since then climbed to current figures. However it clearly shows that bitcoin – altcoin ratio holds no connection with their actual use.
In any case, the bottom line is clear: when it comes to use as money exchange method, the first mover advantage of Bitcoin is just too deep. In 99.9% of the cases, when someone is forced to use an alternative banking method, Bitcoin is the choice.
So is it a dead end for altcoins? Take a look at the image below before we answer that question.
This is the browser usage by year. As you can see, Internet Explorer had over 60% market share when Chrome came to life. They would love to have half of that now.
Does any of us use Webcrawler or Alta Vista? Probably not although those were the first popular search engines before Google came and ate them all. I assume you know were we are going with that.
There are plenty examples of that sort in history, the question is will the history repeat itself when it comes to the crypto world.
The Bottom Line
So to answer the main questions first.
Is Bitcoin on the verge of mass adoption?
No it’s not. More and more people are being forced to use Bitcoin due to various restriction, but it still remains too far and too complicated to be adopted by the general public. (Unless something changes)
Is Bitcoin moat is too wide for altcoins to cross?
Yes, it is. (Unless something changes)
So what is it this “Unless something changes” part I am referring to?
Do you remember the first personal computers? You might have seen the image of this one on the left and I assume you can imagine people using it. But can you imagine someone, and I don’t mean someone who is stuck in the lab and didn’t eat for a week, using that thing on the right?
That’s Altair 8800, one of the first personal computer. There were quite many of those, but until Steve Job and Steve Wozniak introduced Apple 2 which came as one kit, personal computer were used mainly by companies and electronic geeks. Apple 2 changed all that and became the first mass production computers which appealed to the general public.
And it seems that we are in the same point in time when it comes to cryptos. Something new needs to come into existence to generate that change. It might be crypto credit cards or any other solution which will turn the use of cryptocurrency into something that is easily accessible and improves our lives vs something that we are forced to due to luck of other options.
Whether it will happen with Bitcoin, Facebook’s Libra or another coin that doesn’t exist yet, that’s something for us to discover.