Accessibility is painful for the adoption of a cryptocurrency that has been discussed for years, but it is still relevant as always. This issue was last recognized by the US government as we have seen Finance Minister Janet Yellen discuss in her comments on digital asset policies and regulations. There are barriers to access to cryptocurrencies, such as financial education and technology resources, and it is our duty as designers and leaders in this revolutionary industry to address them.
Studies have shown that only 33% of adults worldwide are financially literate. As many Deficit Finance (DeFi) projects focus on providing individuals without access to traditional financial institutions and tools to earn, save and trade, this is a key issue.
Traditional financial institutions certainly have more barriers that cryptocurrency projects are overcoming, such as demanding documents, high fees and the general lack of local financial institutions in emerging markets. That being said, even DeFi requires knowledge and understanding of money to get comfortably into the space. Comprehensive education on financial building blocks, from savings tips to market fluctuations, is crucial in encouraging those who have found themselves excluded from traditional finance to enter the DeFi world.
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Cryptocurrency education and technostress
Another educational component that is required is cryptocurrency and blockchain education. New technologies of any kind can be overwhelming and confusing for potential new users – it is so common that the term “technostress” was coined to diagnose this problem.
Highly technical language and frequent use of jargon are two things I have witnessed in the space that prevent the crypto-curiosity from diving into the world of DeFi. Providing resources that break down the fundamentals of blockchain technology, whether it’s blog posts or explanatory videos, helps bridge the vast knowledge gap between developers and everyday individuals. While this is an important start, the unfortunate truth is that education also requires one important and very limited resource – time.
The time and energy it takes to learn in and out of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology can be a major obstacle to developing the deep understanding necessary to enter the space. While it is useful to offer easy, simple educational tools, it does serve limited people. As a result, financial literacy and cryptography education are still important, but there are other steps that developers and leaders need to take to enable users to adopt. Project managers should also consider knowledge gaps when designing their platform and building a message. Using a simple, concise language that will resonate with all audiences is the key to welcoming new users.
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How wealth acts as a barrier
As mentioned, the wealth gap creates many challenges for lower-income individuals to enter the space. In addition to the lack of access to and time for education, limited liquidity is another huge barrier to entry.
In order to invest, individuals need to be able to cover the cost of living with increased funds to spend elsewhere. For those who live on a pay-as-you-go basis, or even those who simply do not feel comfortable investing their money in investments, they are much less inclined to put money into investment accounts.
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This is especially true of digital assets as they are newer and less managed than traditional investment options. Low-collateral loans will enable those with less liquidity to invest in the space and serve as the main driver of general cryptocurrency adoption. Projects, such as Teller Finance, which allow individuals to borrow cryptocurrencies without providing collateral, move the space forward. This space will continue to expand and is necessary to increase accessibility.
How leaders and developers can overcome these barriers
As programmers focus on simplicity and ease of use for their users, their platform must reflect these perspectives. Login is the first step for any curious potential new user, so making sure login is leading is your chance to create a lasting first impression. If there are many complicated processes to set up an account, people understandably do not want to proceed. Knowing the customer’s identification, rather than difficult protocols, is one way that projects can enhance their on-board experience.
Another step for a project to take is to build a strong network of partners. Depending on the project, these could be integrated blockchains, integration with distributed applications or merging projects such as Celo’s DeFi for the People aimed at increasing actual usage cases. There are so many tasks in the space, often with limited synergy, which means users have to play with many different accounts and applications. Making your platform as comprehensive and compatible as possible means providing users with countless ways to use your platform with compatible applications, which in turn encourages them to take advantage of your offers.
The continued growth of the blockchain industry requires a constant flow of new users within the space. To do this, we as an industry must develop projects with new users in mind. Providing educational materials is the first step in building a foundation that enables us to revolutionize the economy.
Keeping in mind that this does not serve all users and finding additional ways to encourage new users to enter the space is important. Offering mortgages helps to bridge the gap we have seen through the advancement of cryptocurrency and increased adoption. Keeping the audience in mind every step of the way, from design to message, to the offers you offer, is equally important. The ultimate goal is to incorporate blockchain technology into applications so that users do not even have to know they are in a chain. When our applications are as intuitive and understandable as traditional financial instruments that users have downloaded by the millions, we will see an increase in users like never before.
This article does not include investment advice or advice. Every investment and trading business involves risk and readers should do their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of the Cointelegraph.
Fabrice Cheng is the co – founder, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Quadrata. He was previously head of blockchain technology at Spring Labs. Fabrice is an experienced technologist and has been building in the Ethereum ecosystem since 2016, with a particular interest in how to extract value from mempool, and he is also an Ethereum 2.0 open participant at Prysmatic Labs.
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