Too expensive to use. Too complicated to be convenient

Why won’t cryptocurrencies probably be a real alternative to debit/credit cards and other forms of instant payments for a long time (if ever)? What consequences does it entail?

And how it is connected with the operations of crypto exchanges? Let's add this question to the list...

The answer is obvious and has already been given in the title: using cryptocurrencies for everyday payments is high-cost and over-complex for both - the customer and merchant. It is designed so poorly that only big dogs, geeks, passionates, and those who have no choice are using it on a (semi-)regular basis. Although cryptocurrencies are “officially” the mainstream now, in fact, their everyday and mass adoption doesn’t exist. It is just like a rocket engine market: its presence is widely accepted, and it has tons of advantages, but most people don’t use it whatsoever.

Investors could back the abovementioned logic up. Playing on the crypto spot or derivatives market with a small amount of money is nonsense in most cases. The fees imposed by all trade exchanges are relatively large. Sending/withdrawing cash is difficult, unintuitive, and expensive as well (due to banks’ and other financial operators' fees). The solutions that try to overcome these difficulties are entirely inconvenient such as p2p or f2f (personal) transactions. In most cases, the lack of appropriate software and infrastructure is to be blamed. Personally, I recommend retail investors to use crypto spot/derivatives markets for educational purposes only!

How should it work in a perfect world? First of all, the easiness. It doesn’t matter whether it is an app, plastic card, or even a separate handy dedicated device. What really counts is how conveniently it works! In most cases, it would be like: activate - authenticate - put an amount - confirm. Can’t take longer than 15-20 seconds. And when it comes to crypto trade exchanges, the most effortless mechanism for sending/withdrawing fiats is a bank wire transfer or credit/debit card. Exactly the same as transmitting/receiving the money to/from any other merchant or an individual.

By the way, no! It doesn’t work that way in the vast majority of cases right now. It may work vaguely close to that in some limited environments; however, it is neither the standard nor the substantial part of the typical use of cryptocurrencies.

Secondly (although it is as important as the first point), the cheapness. Crypto payment fees should be standard or at least moderate. Now they aren’t and never have been. If crypto enthusiasts want to see cryptocurrencies in everyday use, they have to realize that it won’t happen. It won’t happen until their usage is as inexpensive as this of bank cards and app payments, which are basically free or nearly free of charge. And of course, the same applies to crypto trade exchanges. Once again, their fees deducted from each transaction make them almost unprofitable and thus impractical for small investors and traders.

And thirdly, what is often the consequence of the two previous points, the popularity. No solution will succeed if people don’t use it. But if people are to use it, it has to be easy and relatively costless. So here we go again!

I can’t wait to start using crypto payments in my everyday life, which in my case means at least once a week. I’m looking forward to introducing my parents to crypto trade exchanges without exposing them to unnecessary hassle (financial and organizational). I’m afraid, though, that I have to put my plans on hold for years. On the other hand, knowing somehow this whole crypto scene, I suspect that it will rapidly evolve in such a way that all obstacles mentioned in this text will become obsolete. I’m sure some startups will emerge and solve those problems very soon. So you may now disregard all this piece of writing.