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Author Topic: What are the major hurdles you feel BitCoin faces to mainstream acceptance?  (Read 2408 times)
Quanta
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August 28, 2011, 06:31:35 PM
 #21

There is a lot of good discussion back and forth on this thread and some good points too.

To my thinking there is just one main hurdle above all others:

Legal - Bernard von Nothaus was convicted of counterfeiting US money because he issued pure silver dollars that superficially 'looked' like US circulated coins. (How you can counterfeit something that's worth more than the real thing is beyond me.) What it boiled down to was competition from private currencies against the US Dollar from within the US. Once there is a large enough user base OR some random criminal is caught in some Bitcoin sting then you will see the media criticism ramp up and the attacks will begin against Bitcoin.

The current administration in Washington has made repeated statements, quite recently, that the President needs the ability to "shutdown" the internet. The President also has wide emergency powers. A President could be persuaded, perhaps by Treasury or Fed officials, that this Bitcoin is a threat to the economy. The President could declare it illegal and direct ISP's to filter, block and report all Bitcoin traffic.

Granted, this is an extreme scenario -- these are extreme times however. The fact remains: until we have a legal, competitive currency structure any virtual currency will face hurdles to mainstream acceptance.
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August 28, 2011, 11:00:32 PM
 #22

I think it will always be a niece market to some extent. It's never going to become a mainstream payment method for Joe Public.

Why do you think this?


The needs of the masses are already met by existing payment methods (cash, credit/debit cards, Paypal etc). Bitcoin is more complex than these methods which hill hamper adoption and it's only useful in niche circumstances (anonymous transfers, micropayments with little fees).
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August 29, 2011, 05:05:18 AM
 #23

There is a lot of good discussion back and forth on this thread and some good points too.

To my thinking there is just one main hurdle above all others:

Legal - Bernard von Nothaus was convicted of counterfeiting US money because he issued pure silver dollars that superficially 'looked' like US circulated coins. (How you can counterfeit something that's worth more than the real thing is beyond me.) What it boiled down to was competition from private currencies against the US Dollar from within the US. Once there is a large enough user base OR some random criminal is caught in some Bitcoin sting then you will see the media criticism ramp up and the attacks will begin against Bitcoin.

The current administration in Washington has made repeated statements, quite recently, that the President needs the ability to "shutdown" the internet. The President also has wide emergency powers. A President could be persuaded, perhaps by Treasury or Fed officials, that this Bitcoin is a threat to the economy. The President could declare it illegal and direct ISP's to filter, block and report all Bitcoin traffic.

Granted, this is an extreme scenario -- these are extreme times however. The fact remains: until we have a legal, competitive currency structure any virtual currency will face hurdles to mainstream acceptance.

Do you think bitcoin being illegal would destroy it entirely? People do plenty of illegal things and there are plenty of people with the need for bitcoin. I guess it would hinder its acceptance into mass use though...

Do not mourn my death; celebrate my life.
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August 29, 2011, 06:49:22 AM
 #24

I agree with the various problem already debated. I think there are also some other concerns (or rather, some questions), not just for mainstream acceptance but also for "computer people" acceptance. Maybe they are trivial and I shouldn't worry about those, but still I didn't find any crystal-clear answer to those:

1)
Who or what resets the mining difficulty?
Looks like I'm not the only wondering this. As far as I understood the difficulty is adjusted given the hashrate power of the network, so adjusting it needs a measure of blockcount (every client has it, afaik) and time (potentially different from a client to another - needs some kind of a central authority - who is this?)

2) Is there someone or a few people controlling the core of the network? If no, then why does it seem so hard to set up a test network (I think I read about that in some developer/debugging thread)? If yes, who? and how do we know this won't stop running at some point?

NB: I know every Bitcoin ad I see says "no central authority", but they always forget to explain (even briefly) how it is possible to achieve this...

3) As far as I understood: blocks and all transactions are stored in the blockchain, which is duplicated on all clients. What happens when/if there's a mass adoption and, say, 100M transactions a day (yeah, not likely to happen any time soon, but that's what they said about year 2000 when they were happily storing dates in 2 digits in the 1980s). More generally, will that thing scale (very) well?

Sorry again if this looks like newbie questions (but hey that's the newbie section after all Wink), but I really think clear answers to those may help to convince more tech-aware people to try BTC (or not ^^), which is a first step before going for mainstream acceptance.

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August 29, 2011, 11:09:20 AM
 #25

What happens when/if there's a mass adoption and, say, 100M transactions a day

There's no fundamental need for every single node to store the whole blockchain. That's what happens at the moment, however if the blockchain gets so large that this becomes unfeasable, then new clients can be written that allow some nodes to only have a small subset of the blockchain to fulfil their needs, and a smaller number of supernodes can deal with the whole blockchain.
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August 29, 2011, 10:37:56 PM
 #26

Part of the problem with a currency that is suspected to gain value is that people are less willing to spend it.  I think people would be more willing to accept it as a currency if it made some attempt to maintain a constant value instead of an increasing value.

Also, the amount of time it can take for transactions isn't practical.  So, between the awkward waiting persiods and forced scarcity I think people will find it hard to accept as a day to day currency.
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August 29, 2011, 11:27:17 PM
 #27

Major problems include:

- The fact that transactions can be tracked by software
- Anonymity where you don't need it and lack of anonymity where you do
- Inability to instantly verify a transaction
- No strong infrastructure behind it, and when such infrastructure is in place, a lot of the the things which BitCoin is supposed to be that other currencies are not goes away
- BitCoin seems to be popular with the unscrupulous
- BitCoin policy seems to be mostly managed by a fringe political group
- BitCoin suffers from increasing uncertainty of its circulation over time, which results in decreased valuation

With all that said, BitCoin does have some viable opportunities in the third world if instant transactions can be developed for the cell phone market.
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August 30, 2011, 02:40:56 AM
 #28

Need to get Walmart to accept btc and resell the ones they get.  They could accept then online for purchases and giftcards (so you wouldn't have to wait for confirmations for your purchases in store)
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August 30, 2011, 07:46:48 AM
 #29

Part of the problem with a currency that is suspected to gain value is that people are less willing to spend it.  I think people would be more willing to accept it as a currency if it made some attempt to maintain a constant value instead of an increasing value.
Yeah, that's actually a major issue IMO, and the worst part of that problem is: it seems that a lot of people very involved in BTC think that this on the contrary is a strength. This can even be read it the FAQ (not with those words, but that seems to be the idea): "don't worry, there won't be inflation but rather deflation, it's a great thing". No, it's not. If BTCs keep gaining value, clinging to your BTCs instead of spending them is actually a profitable investment. Since I don't think anyone will put all their money or even the majority of their money into BTC, noone will be forced to spend them, ie it's possible that everyone just cling to their BTCs. How useful is a currency if noone is willing to spend it? Real world money keeps losing 1-2% value every year, and when you think about it, that's definitely a strong incentive to either spend it or invest it, and not to keep it dormant in your safe like you'd do with, say... gold? Which leaves to my next question: are you guys willing to create another currency or to create another gold?
If you're willing to create another gold, then there's a problem: real gold actually has an intrinsic value, ie it is required to build some electronics components, and lots of people women Grin want jewelry made of gold. The same is not true of BTCs. BTCs serve no component-building purpose nor decorative purpose. If all the BTCs of the world end up in a forgotten stash on a forgotten hard drive, noone will miss it. At best maybe someone will create another BTC-like e-currency.

I'm actually mining at the moment, but have no plan of selling or spending my BTCs any time soon...

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The Electric Monk
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August 30, 2011, 10:48:55 AM
 #30

Part of the problem with a currency that is suspected to gain value is that people are less willing to spend it.  I think people would be more willing to accept it as a currency if it made some attempt to maintain a constant value instead of an increasing value.
Yeah, that's actually a major issue IMO, and the worst part of that problem is: it seems that a lot of people very involved in BTC think that this on the contrary is a strength. This can even be read it the FAQ (not with those words, but that seems to be the idea): "don't worry, there won't be inflation but rather deflation, it's a great thing". No, it's not. If BTCs keep gaining value, clinging to your BTCs instead of spending them is actually a profitable investment. Since I don't think anyone will put all their money or even the majority of their money into BTC, noone will be forced to spend them, ie it's possible that everyone just cling to their BTCs. How useful is a currency if noone is willing to spend it? Real world money keeps losing 1-2% value every year, and when you think about it, that's definitely a strong incentive to either spend it or invest it, and not to keep it dormant in your safe like you'd do with, say... gold? Which leaves to my next question: are you guys willing to create another currency or to create another gold?
If you're willing to create another gold, then there's a problem: real gold actually has an intrinsic value, ie it is required to build some electronics components, and lots of people women Grin want jewelry made of gold. The same is not true of BTCs. BTCs serve no component-building purpose nor decorative purpose. If all the BTCs of the world end up in a forgotten stash on a forgotten hard drive, noone will miss it. At best maybe someone will create another BTC-like e-currency.

I'm actually mining at the moment, but have no plan of selling or spending my BTCs any time soon...

Increasing value is a problem, but I can't think of any good way to solve it.  They need to be percieved as limited in number because they have no value otherwise.  Miners don't need both an increasing difficulty and decreasing value of thier product over time.  I'm planning on selling games for SC/BTC, but i suspect I'll have to sell them for less than they're worth in those currencies because customers will factor in the currencies potential when deciding to exchange for goods.  Still, I love the idea of cryptocurrency, so I'm going to give it a shot.
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August 30, 2011, 11:13:04 PM
 #31

I think we are still reeling from the silk road stuff and other quasi-illegal/scamming stuff that has hit the presses. 

Unfortunately I dont think we are going to hit mainstream for a very long time, we are just finding out that our main spokesperson very well may be a long time fraudster and bitcoin is his next target!!!
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August 31, 2011, 01:54:42 AM
 #32

Mainstream will accept BTC once it is more stable. Maybe their should be different types of BTC?
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August 31, 2011, 02:56:04 AM
 #33

Need to get Walmart to accept btc and resell the ones they get.  They could accept then online for purchases and giftcards (so you wouldn't have to wait for confirmations for your purchases in store)

So the hurdle to mainstream acceptance...is mainstream (Walmart) acceptance.....

goooooo green
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August 31, 2011, 02:58:09 AM
 #34

Bitcoin© should cooperate with the police in order to capture and punish those who exploit Bitcoin©.
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September 30, 2011, 12:06:03 PM
 #35

lol at the last post, but really. i have bitcoins yet i cant spend them. im unable to contact the person on the forum who i want to send money. should we not have a market place that anyone can use if they have the coin?
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October 01, 2011, 09:34:20 PM
 #36

I will just answer the question "what are the major hurdles for acceptance by me?", because I can not speak for the mainstream.
For each hurdle I will also give my proposals how to overcome the current problems.
I hope that these ideas will lead to better adoption of BTC by the mainstream.


1st hurdle: Security.

Nobody wants to loose his money.

  a) Online wallets and exchanges which store users wallets need to install security measures like currently only banks have, in particular: Strong access protection, redundant data storage, physical protection of servers against all sorts of attacks and other hazards.

  b) Wallet encryption finally has arrived with the new BTC client. However other clients (e.g. multibit) have to follow and also implement wallet encryption.

  c) Still open is the question how to prevent loss of coins and secure storage of the keys in a redundant manner. BTC clients should better support this, see also my proposal e).

  d) Also the problem of providing an untampered, secure system to run the BTC client on should be handled such that it is easier to use. I recommend that together with the BT client one can get a complete live CD distribution of a secure environment like e.g. linuxcoin or ct bankix. However, these distributions should be very easy to install even for non-techies.
Of course the best way would be that the BTC client is programmed so nifty that it can even run in unsecure, hostile environments (keyloggers, trojans etc.) and all attacks are deflected or at least lead to security alerts (think of electronic banking with SMS TAN verification). However it seems that today this is a technology not yet within reach.

 
2nd hurdle: Money should also be __simple__ and low-tech.

Take a look at history. Money has always been something simple, something you could touch (with the exception of today's fiat currencies and electronic bank accounts).

  e) All BTC clients should support importing and exporting of wallet keys and addresses in a __standardized__ way, preferably as paperkeys. This allows users to conveniently store their money without depending on a specific BTC client (version), a specific operating system, a specific wallet encryption / storage method, a specific file system, a specific physical storage device. Also it allows users to exchange bitcoins like normal cash, just exchanging pieces of paper, no need for highly sophisticated electronic devices.
 To me, money also should offer the possibility to be __simple__.

 
3rd hurdle: Ease-of-use of the BTC clients.

Transferring money should have a similar look-and-feel like a standard electronic banking GUI or credit card payment. This includes to optionally get rid of the BTC currency (at least in the GUI) if the user so wishes.
In the end, consumers should be able to look at the BTC client like at the GUI of any other electronic banking. So a consumer finally can choose to use the BTC client because he trusts the service of the "BTC crowd banking" more than the service of the established banks.
Ironically this can lead to a situation where a consumer forgets that he is using BTC as a backbone.

  f) BTC clients should offer the possibility to display the balance in any currency the user likes.

  g) BTC clients should offer the possibility to choose the currency for a money transfer in any currency that the user chooses for the specific transfer.

  h) BTC clients should display the transaction history with the specific currencies that the user selected for the specific money transfer.

  i) BTC clients should have an interface to a crowd-based currency exchange mechanism like e.g. ripple. This way the user is not forced to get into the details of currency exchange. This is like using credit card payments in a foreign country: You do not bother about the details, you should pay in the currency you are requested to and the rest is done by the payment system itself. Of course one can think to incorporate online exchanges etc, but personally I prefer to as much keep the concept of distributed crowd services, because it minimizes possible attack vectors against single weak points (and online exchanges have abundantly prooved to be single weak points, even without mentioning past centralized systems like e-gold which were shut down by the governments)   


4th hurdle: Instantaneous payment when dealing face-to-face.

  j) BTC clients should integrate mechanisms like e.g. vouchersafe or OpenTransactions to make instantaneous payment possible.

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October 01, 2011, 10:13:52 PM
 #37

It's really just a matter of time.  There has been a lot of good publicity around bitcoin, but that was followed with a lot of not so good stuff.  Awareness is the #1 hurdle, now longevity has to be the goal.  The system just makes too much sense not to be adopted sometime, but it has to be battle tested over a longer period of time.

"Money is like manure: Spread around, it helps things grow. Piled up in one place, it just stinks."
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October 02, 2011, 12:17:28 AM
 #38

What are the major hurdles you feel BitCoin faces to mainstream acceptance?

easy: 1/3 who use bitcoins getting ripped off.

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October 02, 2011, 06:35:11 AM
 #39

It's really just a matter of time.
Mainstream acceptance is not "just a matter of time". I think freemoney458 raised lots of valid points, most notably the lack of simplicity. At the moment, I see no reason for the average user to choose BTC over, say PayPal. Getting BTCs is a hassle-full process, where every middleman takes their small percentage. In the end doing a transaction in BTC costs more both in term of money and time. Only miners, gamblers/daytraders and drug dealers can find the system interesting ATM...

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October 02, 2011, 03:12:32 PM
 #40

Once it is integrated into a credit card type form then eveyrone could use it.
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