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Will Bitcoin Ever Become Truly Mainstream?

By Motley Fool Staff - Updated Mar 31, 2021 at 11:25AM

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Is Bitcoin on its way to being a true payment currency? Here's what one expert has to say.

Bitcoin (BTC 1.61%) has risen more than tenfold in the past year and has been around for more than a decade, but it still has a long way to go before it gains mainstream acceptance. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on March 18, The Motley Fool's chief growth officer, Anand Chokkavelu, asks Gemini cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss about the obstacles standing in the way of Bitcoin becoming a truly mainstream currency. 

Anand Chokkavelu: What does Bitcoin have to do to be truly mainstream? We've seen it take such strides, we're just a dozen years in or so and obviously there were a lot of things. I remember, you got the Mt. Gox situation. I remember reading about just how, early on, when you all were setting up your keys, you were going to different banks around the U.S. and almost a covert operation thing. You've got the cold storage and things like that. But now there are lots of options. I think maybe in the last year, Bitcoin has really come into the public conversation more. What does it have to do or achieve to become truly mainstream, and how close are we?

Cameron Winklevoss: Yeah, so I think part of it is education. When we first got into Bitcoin, the common prevailing view was that it was only used for drug dealers and illicit activity and terrorist financing, all of which has been proven to be effectively false, and whatever kind of dark market activity that happens on Bitcoin, pales in comparison to other major currencies, right. We obviously monitor for that. We take it very seriously, we have obligations and we don't want bad actors in the system, but it is not a system of bad actors. But that was the narrative. So education is important. There's also this concept that Bitcoin was totally anonymous in this Wild West, and it's actually not totally anonymous. We work a lot on education, whether it's engaging with regulators to help them think through the problems, or just talking on Twitter. We're very vocal and active there and trying to get to demystify a lot of these concepts. Then COVID-19 has actually accelerated, I think the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Bitcoin, in a big way, because of all the money printing and people are looking at what's going on and like, "Wait a second, where are these trillions of dollars coming from, they're actually just being printed." What does that mean to the other dollars that I'm holding? Like COVID has accelerated the decline of a lot of brick-and-mortar. The uptake of big tech in many ways, I think it also has brought Bitcoin to the forefront faster, so there's always going to be these catalysts. In 2013, the Cyprus bail-in really brought a spotlight to Bitcoin and people said, "Wait a second. Okay. If you could have deposits in a bank account in Cyprus and the government can one day just come in and hair cut everything above a 100 thousand euros and it's just gone." It was called the bail-in, as opposed to bail out, in 2013, in that sense, the Bitcoin price. That was one of the big catalyst moments. It wasn't driven by people in Cyprus saying, "Let's now go into Bitcoin." It was really everybody around the world seeing what was happening in Cyprus and saying, "Wait, maybe I should just get some disaster insurance over here and check out Bitcoin." I think a lot of people view it as a break glass, a way to future-proof against inflation or fiat regimes just acting poorly. We've seen a lot of mismanagement over the past couple of decades. I think it's frightening and I think it's a good way to protect yourself.

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