Onramps into Crypto

Onboarding the average person into crypto is hard. There are a limited number of ways to purchase your first cryptocurrency or interact with a decentralized application. Right now, anyone who owns any kind of cryptocurrency is part of a self-selecting group. To have the intent to download a wallet program and have the technical awareness to not be overwhelmed when buying crypto is a fairly large leap for most people.

Current ways to onboard people into cryptocurrency -

  1. Exchanges (Coinbase, Kraken, etc)

  2. All in one messaging style apps (Token, Status.im)

  3. Ethereum DApp browsers (MetaMask, Parity, etc)

  4. Sending crypto directly to someone (word of mouth)

Coinbase is the gold standard as the onramp for non-technical users and is absolutely needed in the ecosystem. Token and Status are ambitious projects but are single entry points into the Ethereum DApp ecosystem with an uphill battle to gain traction competing against WeChat, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.

MetaMask is one of the projects that I’m most excited about - they are widening the surface area of potential entry points into the ecosystem. The more browsable DApps that get made, the more useful MetaMask becomes; a compounding utility that just needs time to come into it’s own. Regular people are accustomed to downloading a chrome extension, creating a password and you can instantly interact with Ethereum-based DApps. Relatability is important when trying to bring crypto to the masses.

Outside of word of mouth, most people will not be onboarded into the crypto economy unless they are an early adopter and explicitly seek it out themselves. Much hay has been made about the lack of a killer app for crypto. This is untrue. We have two (primitive) killer apps:

  • Holding bitcoin enables self-sovereign control of your money

  • Ethereum has enabled a thriving funding environment for hundreds and soon to be thousands of radical experiments

With all that said, there is one important key missing to unlocking the mainstream crypto puzzle - mobile. Inability to create truly peer to peer applications on our mobile devices using crypto is one of the biggest bottlenecks holding up mainstream adoption. When everyday people can start using cryptocurrency on their mobile devices without necessarily even realizing it, we’ll have broken a major barrier in adoption.