Debate on Crypto Adoption — McAfee, Wareing, Capo, Neil, Painter Spar
Keith Wareing’s much-anticipated live-streamed debate on crypto adoption featuring John McAfee, Craig Neil, Chris Painter, and Derek Capo didn’t fail to entertain. The five men also raised some contrasting views on how to encourage the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency.
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McAfee’s Contradictory Ideas in the Debate on Crypto Adoption
McAfee, arguably crypto’s loudest and most controversial figure, suggested early on in the discussion that using the coins created by crypto projects only as currency debased blockchain’s potential. “The currency aspect is so trivial,” the maverick explained, before going on to implore developers to stop creating meaningless ERC20 tokens.
In reference to an ICO he had previously supported — which suffered a disastrous security breach that exposed the personal information of its investors openly for 24 hours — the IT security pioneer urged the cryptocurrency community to focus less on the coins, and more on the respective projects’ ability to achieve profound things. The blockchain’s capacity to enhance human life, he argued, was being overlooked for the short-term gains to be made from using tokens to speculate.
He appeared to change tack later on, however, arguing that gimmicks like CryptoKitties were a suitable way to encourage the broader adoption of crypto, because they got people used to using it. Derek Capo of TokenPay disagreed, arguing “CryptoKitties is not going to increase [the] adoption of Ethereum”. Capo conceded things like CryptoKitties were fun, but risked signaling cryptocurrency was little more than a fad. He also raised concerns over the focus on trading and speculation:
“My biggest concern is that if we continue this trading mentality… we will have a permanent crash.”
People Aren’t Used to Being Their Own Bank
Wareing argued that most people are not ready to use crypto as a currency, because “people aren’t ready” to look after their own money, accustomed to relying on banks as safe custodians. McAfee agreed on the adoption challenges crypto faced, describing it as “technologically off-putting”.
The industry appears to be finally arriving at this conclusion. Connie Yang, Design Director at Coinbase, wrote earlier this month about the company’s efforts to frame digital assets in language and design that was more approachable to the technologically less savvy. It appears the debate on crypto adoption came at an appropriate time.
Chris Painter, from Omnitude, decried the narrow use of crypto:
“There’s no everyday use of cryptocurrency apart from trading.”
He didn’t agree, however, with Capo’s assertion that millennials would be the ones pushing crypto’s growth. Per Painter:
“Regardless of age, the benefits need to outweigh the disadvantages of adoption, and that’s by creating good use cases.”
Get Tokens Into People’s Pockets… Even If You Have to Do It for Free
The men had an interesting debate over the benefit of getting crypto into wider use by giving it away for free. McAfee argued “All shopping centers are dying because of the internet… What if you dropped $5,000 USD worth of tokens on every shopping center in America?”
Chris Painter balked at the idea of airdropping tokens to people for free:
“I don’t see how airdrops furthers the technology.”
Wareing pushed back on that point:
“It furthers the adoption.”
Wareing argued that however it gets done, cryptocurrency needs to become “sticky”. Capo added that China’s giant messaging app Wechat gained mass adoption in China through bold advertising that got people to shake their phones for free money. Within a few years, he claimed, Wechat replaced debit cards and cash and was essential for living in China. He argued that a similarly widely used app in the west, such as WhatsApp, could encourage cryptocurrency adoption using similar engagement efforts.
Crypto-to-fiat Conversion Problems
Before descending into farce with McAfee explaining his foolproof way of identifying a ladyboy in Bangkok from a woman, the conversation took an interesting turn around whether fiat was actually getting in the way of crypto adoption. Capo’s TokenPay, having just bought a stake in WEG Bank AG in Germany, would appear to be trying to ease the path of adoption by smoothing the on- and off-ramping from crypto to fiat.
McAfee respectfully disapproved of that approach:
“If in fact the long-term goal is to have fiat be of total insignificance, that is going backwards.”
The panel’s discussion was entertaining and raised some interesting ideas. They didn’t resolve the problem of cryptocurrency’s limited mainstream use, but they did identify a number of different ways it might be expanded.
Have your say. Did you get 58 minutes into the debate on crypto adoption to hear McAfee declare all viewers had long gone? Do you think the panel raised any interesting points?
Images via Pixabay