A Decentralized Vision

by Rob Gray

According to a recent survey, around 5% of Americans now hold or use Bitcoin. While this doesn’t exactly sound impressive, America isn’t the place that needs a decentralized currency the most.

Countries in South America and Africa, mainly with unstable economies and heavily inflated currencies, are seeing a rapidly growing user base. Interestingly, Africans are using cryptocurrency in a much different way. Only about 20% of Africans have access to an internet connection, so many are relying on phone wallets and SMS messaging to send and receive Bitcoin.

In developed nations, we tend to see Bitcoin more as a speculative investment rather than a currency that we use to pay for food, water, and housing. People living in emerging economies choose to store their wealth in Bitcoin because it is a more stable or cost-effective option than the local banks.

Blockchain technology is undoubtedly showing a noticeable amount of implementation in economies around the world. But what will the world look like when crypto is no longer a sidekick to the U.S Dollar or the Euro, and how do Cold Storage Coins and other hardware wallets fit into that vision?

First, we have to assume that when the world adopts the “Bitcoin Standard”, people will abandon centralized exchanges as a medium to exchange and store their crypto. I cannot predict the future, but it seems that if people are not ready to embrace decentralized ownership of money, they are not ready to embrace Bitcoin.

The way we think about money fundamentally will change, but the way we use cryptocurrencies will be very similar to the way we use fiat today. Instead of cash, savings accounts, 401ks, and IRAs, we will most likely use a variety of wallets and accounts to store our wealth. Much like cash, you will use a smartphone wallet to make daily purchases, and entrust your life savings to more secure wallets.

A Cold Storage Coin will behave like your savings account, in our futuristic scenario. You would be a fool to walk around with our entire life’s savings in your pocket, so you would keep them at home, impervious to flooding, fires, or natural disaster. As far as investment and retirement savings, it’s not too hard to imagine today’s stock markets and lending institutions operating on blockchain technology, albeit probably not with one universal cryptocurrency.

Ironically, if cryptocurrency is adopted as the standard medium of exchange in global markets, tomorrow's average user will conceptualize Bitcoin in a similar manner to people living in Africa and South America today.