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Tokyo Bitcoin Cash Meetup organizer (http://meetu.ps/c/3DGlg/8CTVb/a) Merchant adoption /...
1 year ago
I am a fan of crypto that functions well as cash and I'd like to see it being used all over the world. Adoption does not happen overnight, though.
Recently I had an opportunity to be on a podcast with a non-specific coin supporter host and he asked me why I am supporting Bitcoin Cash instead of the other coins that are also useful as cash. The reason why I like to support BCH is of course it's functionality with the great development team behind it, but importantly, what I think makes BCH different from some other coins with similar functionality, is its sharp focus on adoption. I think the BCH community has the strongest passion and focus on adoption, and I've always felt that a coin with good functionality does not have much point if nobody uses it.
After the BTC/BCH split, I started helping onboarding some merchants in Tokyo for BCH, and I could really imagine the pain of early adopters onboarding a number of merchants for BTC then loosing the momentum (and merchants stopped accepting BTC) due to the high fees etc, then starting all over again with BCH. We also have to go through an extra step of explaining to merchants when we onboard them why there is BTC and BCH, and why we think BCH is more suitable for daily transactions, while dealing with haters. They say the fork delayed the adoption of Bitcoin by many years and I really believe that.
Then soon after, BCH/BSV fork happened and I unexpectedly got to experience a similar situation myself. Though I am sure it must have been less impactful than the BTC fork, it did affect us.
First, there were things to deal with for our Tokyo BCH Meetup- which coin do we support, and do we welcome the members who support a different coin? Do we keep the same name "BCH Meetup"? We released an announcement stating we welcome both supporters at our meetups. Despite this, one of the co-organizers ended up leaving (we still keep in touch though) and a few members stopped coming to the meetup. We lost one out of 3 meetups in Japan. Many members were left very confused about the split. I am sure other meetups experienced something similar or probably worse.
We hosted a workshop to explain to the meetup members what happened and teach them how to split their coins. Only a fraction of the meetup group was able to attend the workshop so I am sure many were left confused for a long time (we were something like 1300 members then, but our weekly average attendance was about 40-50 people).
Globally speaking, we saw tens of meetups disappear due to this fork. Some meetups changed the name to support the other coin (whether or not the organizers internally agreed), and we had to start the BCH meetups newly in some cities from zero members. I think some of these organizers stopped having meetups because they got confused or lost faith or both. Some enthusiastic BCH supporters who were actively pushing the adoption left for the other coin, or disappeared from the space completely. The only organization that was financially supporting the meetups consistently closed down a few months later, and meetups lost a big chunk of support, though we kept on.
As for merchants, some got confused by people telling them different opinions and they lost interest and stopped accepting BCH. Even though we managed to get most of the merchants in Tokyo to continue accepting BCH, we had some extra things we had to do for them. There was a problem with the mixed coins due to having no replay protection, and once the payments were mixed in the merchant's wallet with the other coins, an extra process was needed to split the coins, and I say the process was not easy. We went around the merchants physically to sort this out for them. We had to explain that the coin had forked and why, and told them they can choose to keep both coins or not etc. We encouraged the merchants to keep accepting BCH despite the severe price crash that followed the fork.
We are still in the early stage and many people are still working on the grassroot merchant adoption all over the world (including Japan), and many merchants are accepting BCH directly from customers using BCH wallet or BCH Register App, which means another fork will likely affect these merchants the same way. Thankfully more and more people are joining this movement, and I hope that these people can keep doing what they do with ease and without confusion and or loosing motivation.