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  • Writer's pictureCassandra smith

Where is the USP?

Any successful product has to capture mind share. I.e. the product must be associated with a particular word or phrase or concept in the consumer's mind. That is usually referred to as the USP (Unique Selling Point) What is cryptocurrency's USP? Cryptocurrencies currently appeals to those who rail against the financial establishment. That's understandable following the 2008 Credit Crunch, but only a relatively small number of people see the wholesale replacement of fiat money, including national currencies and central banking as the solution. If cryptocurrency is to have widespread adoption, it needs a different USP. For some, cryptocurrency is a success if it become a permanent niche player. They see the very presence of cryptocurrency as holding two fingers up to the establishment; ironically many hope to become rich from it or use it for questionable purposes such as buying drugs, bypassing currency controls, and money laundering. But most of us have loftier goals

Digital Cash Digital gold coins such as BTC can thrive without widespread adoption. Many assets such as artwork and classic cars retain their value precisely because they supply is limited.

Digital cash such as BSV only works if it has widespread adoption, however such coins face stiff competition from traditional banking services. Consumers are attracted to convenience - they want at least tap-and-pay cards, fast settlement, financial protection, access to account statements, loans and credit. These are all services that need to be provided around the core infra-structure. In addition, the value of their currency holding needs to be stable, not volatile.

"If I wanted to get to there, I wouldn't start from here..." The development of the type of services described earlier takes years of committed effort and hundreds of millions of dollars. (Don't believe for a moment that cryptocurrencies are the product of unpaid volunteer open source developers). The amount of money involved means services will be developed by a range of small companies (which is what we see), but the fragmented nature of development means that is no consistent overall marketing plan, and no overall USP. It also means that nChain, who develop the BSV node software, are now focusing on data applications as a way of producing a fast return on investment. (i.e provide a return without the need to have sophisticated supporting applications and widespread adoption). The danger with this approach is the the USP associated in people's mind with BSV will be "database" and not "(digital) money". The Contenders So who is the likely winner if cryptocurrency takes off in a big way? The table below shows the top 10 contenders by market capitalisation, along with their USP (as of Feb 2020)

It is extraordinarily difficult to dislodge an established leader in a given market. BTC has a capitalisation almost 10x that of its nearest competitor. Bitcoin is so established that the term is sometimes used as a generic term for all cryptocurrencies, in the way "to google" means to do a web search, and a Coke means any similar cola. BTC will stay the market leader for the foreseeable future. Etherium is popular for IPOs (hopefully a diminishing market) and attracts techies because of its development environment. Neither of these are likely to drive widespread adoption. The interesting battle is between BCH and BSV. Although BSV has an impressive development program, from the marketing perspective there is little to chose between them. At the moment, the main difference in people's minds appears to be CSW and his claim to be Satoshi. CSW is certainly a dodgy and abrasive character who enjoys the limelight. The result is cult status amongst some and loathing by others.

CSW expressing himself at a conference

So is the presence of CSW a good thing for BSV? Ultimately the association of digital cash with a figure like CSW is not a good thing. However, CSW is unlikely to disappear quietly, and financial backers are more interested in the bottom line than the popularity of its senior management (Think Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg) Fortunately for BSV, consumers generally don't care about senior management either. Much of the vemon displayed in venues such as reddit towards CSW is "a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing." How do we sell BSV? The adoption of digital cash is predicated on the need for underlying infra-structure capable of supporting potentially millions of transaction per second. Only BSV shows any sign of realistically of being able to deliver.

Assuming BSV will have that infrastructure, how do we distinguish BSV from its competitors. I.e. What is BSV's USP? At the moment, BSV doesn't have one. The BSV camp does not seem to appreciate that fact, claiming that their USP is "scalability". That may distinguish BSV amongst cryptocurrencies, but not amongst financial service providers, including traditional banks, that it intends to compete against.

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