Figuring out how many people use cryptocurrencies in the world is impossible because of the anonymity of blockchains. Several institutions across the globe have done studies and research to try figure this out coming up with different data and criteria for this help reach a conclusion. The latest numbers that have come out for 2019 suggest between 0.2% to 0.4% of the world population use cryptocurrency. Personally, I feel it's a bit more than that but then again I'm not the expert. So for the purpose of this article let's be generous and say 1% of the world population uses cryptocurrencies. That is roughly 75 Million users out of a global population of 7.5 Billion.
Even as only 1% of the world population uses crypto it has managed to capture a market cap of over $260 Billion, only about a third of its all-time high ($810 Billion) a year ago. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) alone has a market cap of $30 Trillion as of Feb 2018. The NYSE trades stocks for a select few companies, roughly 2800 companies. Relatively only a few individuals and companies in the world have access to trading on the NYSE and have to do so through a brokerage company, paying a commission fee each time they buy or sell.
Let's start from the top of the list and make our way down.
- US treasury - controls all the printing and minting of currency in the country. It manages government revenue, collects all federal taxes through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), licenses and watches over banks and advises the government on the collection and spending of the country's economy. (Wikipedia) On the back of the dollar bill, the US treasury would be the all-seeing eye of the economy. It is no coincidence that a pyramid with the eye is pictured, because this economy or financial system is a pyramid scheme.
- Banks - are the connectors of this fiat system. They're an extension of the treasury, governing the economy through various instruments. They bridge the gap between local and global economies, providing a central hub for all markets. Citizens are then encouraged to store their life savings here or on similar regulated institutions, which the US treasury has oversight of. Banks are a far inferior form of storing value as compared to other alternatives that's why the rich rarely save money in banks. Rates in banks are low and in most cases peoples monies end up losing value due to inflation. Banks do however offer more favorable rates to high net-worth individuals as incentives to bank with them.
- Stock/securities exchanges - are a playground for the rich. This is where the rich get richer by buying stocks (shares) of companies to potentially increase their wealth further. Although in general this is a winning proposition long term because this market is ever growing in value. Investing through brokerages has the advantage of presenting high value performing assets even to the amateur investor. The general public doesn't have access to these exchanges as the requirements for entry are expensive for the ordinary folk. Thus the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer because of the difference in opportunities afforded each class.
The US treasury, banks, stock/securities exchanges, brokerages etc. handle enormous amounts of money every single day. The US has a GDP of $20 Trillion, that includes personal consumption, business investments, government spending and exports. All that money is taxed and runs through one of the above mentioned institutions. The average person is extremely lucky even if a single dollar from that 'trickled-down' to them. Rather, a more common occurrence, is their hard-earned money trickling up instead.
Clearly then, cryptocurrencies are the answer to rid tyranny off the global population. Crypto is all-inclusive, doesn't discriminate based on country of residence, income level or political status. Everyone is welcomed. On top of that it doesn't charge you high transaction fees, no middle-men are needed, and gives you complete control over your finances without anyone tracking every dollar you spend and taxing you. Your savings are no longer affected by inflation by centralized authorities such as the US treasury. Why then haven't people transitioned to a clearly better system?
Lack of Knowledge
Truth is, the general public is unaware of the benefits of cryptocurrencies. In fact, many don't even realize that there's a problem with the current system or simply don't care. The masses are always the people who are happy with the status quo and see no reason to change things. They're unaware that most of their problems are caused by this financial system and understandably so. We are not taught economy in schools, how it works and why it is a subject that's almost as important as religion. Money fuels the modern world and he who controls it, controls that world. Famous historical banker, Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1812), once said:
Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!
This German Jewish banker knew it back then that money makes the world go 'round, not the laws. You can issue all the laws you want but most people will choose to follow the money. That fact still remains true today. To make things worse, the people that control the money also control the laws; and everything in-between. Masters at masking the influence they have over the population and the control over its functions. For us, educating the population requires that cryptocurrency, or at least the technology it runs on, to outperform current systems and functions. Blockchain technology must be much more efficient to a point where its applications in the real world cannot be ignored.
So to limit organic growth of these blockchain systems, our rulers have used some of their weapons try and prevent this from happening. One of those is to limit the funding of blockchain businesses and making it difficult for them to operate in the country. There are two other major vehicles used by the rulers to spread their propaganda. Namely, the government and the mainstream media.
The government uses its authority to impose laws upon its citizens. In the case of cryptocurrency, strict laws have been placed on it to discourage people from investing or even using this technology. They associate crypto with criminal behaviors of all sorts and stifle its innovation all in the guise of protecting its citizens.
As you can imagine this makes it tough for blockchain businesses to operate in such an environment, forcing them out. Some of the best tech talent in the world are in countries like the US which builds some of the best tech companies in the world. That talent however is slowly seeping into more crypto friendly nations such as Malta, Singapore, and Japan.
The government's desire to protect themselves from this paradigm shift is only going to make things worse for them in the future. They cannot stop this new decentralized system but can only slow it down. It's either they quickly learn to adapt or they'll fall behind to the countries that are embracing this technology.
Monopolized Mainstream Media
The ruling class uses their domination on media to influence the peoples thoughts and behaviors. Mainstream media is a global propaganda machine and it's even worse in countries like the US and China. Citizens in these countries are bombarded with so much of this programming to a point where they have no references/knowledge outside this medium.
Right now the mass media narrative is that crypto is bad. To spread this narrative, they unfairly expose all the bad things happening with cryptocurrencies but rarely ever show the good and this is all the public sees. The ruling class profits from diverting peoples attention from reality through alternate Hollywood manufactured realities on TV screens.
Dare to ask citizens about realities outside pop culture and you'll be shocked at how ignorant they come across. I too, like these people, was trapped in a system I couldn't see, smell or touch. Fortunately, the rebel in me was always searching for answers different from the ones I was being spoon fed. I became an avid follower of alternative/independent media and from there learned about Bitcoin in 2016. I turned off the TV and never looked back except for when keeping track of what the government or ruling class is up to.
Google, Facebook and Twitter once banned crypto related ads in a move to stop its tracks in gaining popularity. So far they've managed to limit the information received by the general public. If you've never searched for 'crypto' or other related topics, then it's unlikely to show up on your social feeds or Google suggestions. Interestingly enough, most people usually come across Bitcoin when it's being advertised on those internet 'get rich quick scheme' ads. Further affirming the bad things they've been taught about it. Can you blame them?
Alternative media usually steps in to educate the masses about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. To date alternative media accounts had been shadow banned on social medias, had videos/channels terminated on YouTube, and even sued or charged by the SEC for promoting "illegal" activities. They've made it hard for alternative media to thrive, relegating them to depend on community donations to survive. So now its a bit of a slow pace reaching out to new audiences. One person at a time, we'll get there. As we all know once you crypto you can never go back.
Luckily, we have, on our side, something much more efficient in reaching out to new audiences and one we should never forget, not even for a second. That is, the technology itself.
All we need to gain mass adoption is mass applications. We cannot have mass adoption if the infrastructure they'll depend on can't support them. An infrastructure than can handle millions of transactions at single time is our challenge right now. If we can succeed on this front then all the other dominoes will fall as well. We have different blockchains competing to get there first - Bitcoin, Ethereum and EOS, among many others.
Bitcoin failed us in 2017 when there was a huge surge in users that saw the market cap to explode by 15x within a single year and the price more than 20x during the same period. This was followed by a massive pull-back as a result of slow and expensive transactions in a congested network. We're still recovering til this day.
Ethereum also failed us in 2018 when the biggest game on the blockchain was gaining popularity. The surge is users to the game caused the Ethereum blockchain to slow down to a halt and transactions couldn't be confirmed in a reasonable span of time.
EOS is failing at acquiring new users quickly because of the necessity to buy an account. People aren't accustomed to paying to join a platform let alone to a space their not familiar with.
I went into further details about the challenges these blockchains currently have in scaling for mass adoption and past failures to successfully do so. Check out 'The story of why Bitcoin and Ethereum forked; and why EOS can't.'
Therefore it is a first priority that the infrastructure of these blockchains is solid before there can be aggressive marketing to the general population. It is when we have a mass application similar to Facebook, Uber, or Fortnite run on the blockchain that we can expect people to adopt the tech without thinking twice. Not only will these be mass applications but they'll be much better because of blockchain technology integration. Everything is verifiable, impossible to cheat, censorship free, secure etc. At this point we'll blow all competition out the water.
Gaming is will be much much better on a blockchain! Traditional systems for gaming won't be able to keep up with the pace of blockchain technology. Communication is instant and isn't on a central point of operations, making it less susceptible to hacks or DDoS attacks. Online gaming especially can become a real beast on the blockchain.
Virtual Reality is a pain in the ass when run on centralized servers because of the immense resources it consumes but on a decentralized blockchain with hundreds of servers all over the world, VR support becomes a breeze.
Social media will never be the same again. Only on a blockchain can you have users own their data. On top of that they can have an in-app currency worth real value which grows the more the network grows.
Payments are more secure, faster, immutable and private. The blockchain has lower transaction fees and some instances ZERO. Middlemen who charge commission fees are eliminated and no more inflation by the treasury or unfair rates from banks.
It's a no-brainer! This system is all-inclusive, doesn't discriminate and everyone, rich or poor, has equal access to the network. It's only a matter of time before people start rushing through the gates to part of this great innovation and when that happens we will be well prepared this time around. Just remember your assets and accounts aren't yours if you don't control the private keys.
Before we get there though we all have to do our part. Coders are building the infrastructure, developers are building the applications, users are testing these applications out. Only the best of all these survive and those that fail go back to the drawing board having learned from the experience. Competition is tough and the ecosystem can be unforgiving. We're faced with many challenges even outside the blockchain and in the real world. However we can all contribute to our communities in this space by bringing in new people, friends, family and anyone who'll listen. Help them get started, create an account for them and even send them their first tokens, they'll be grateful for it later. Everyone remembers their first.
Writing this article here doesn't have much of an impact unless it is shared with friends and family on social media who aren't as involved as you are in this space. We have to keep growing and moving forward as we all contribute to the success of these applications. I know they're thousands of people who waiting for an opportunity like Publish0x and guess what, this is where they'll learn about crypto even further.
Thank you for reading all the way through. It wasn't my intention to write a long article but once I started the passion took over and I had to write it all down.
I write frequently here about cryptocurrencies and blockchain, so if you're interested subscribe and follow me on social media. I contribute articles for EOSGo which I only share on my Twitter handle. These are EOS articles that go in-depth about its blockchain and the awesome applications that run on it. Everything else I post on here.
Until the next one,