This quote from a Democratic congressman gives you a sense of what’s in store for these companies.

“We’re told by some that innovation is always good,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said. “The most innovative thing that happened this century is when Osama Bin Laden came up with the innovative idea of flying two airplanes into towers. That’s the most consequential innovation, although this may do more to endanger America than even that.”

Comparing cryptocurrency to 9/11 is wrong and out of line. But it should give all currency platforms a preview of the political battles to come.  Facebook’s Libra is staffing up with high-level political and policy staff and it’s time for all cryptocurrencies to do the same.

Normalizing and building digital currency will be a tough political battle. Here are seven points that cryptocurrency advocates should consider in their campaigns.

  1. Banks are one of the least popular institutions in America. Stop being on the defensive.
  2. In a populist political environment, there are opportunities to offer alternatives to banks. The coalition supporting cryptocurrency is small, but there’s a great opportunity to expand this with a more populist message.  Many libertarians are advocates. But so are consumers who are anti-bank and want an alternative. 
  3. Don’t cede the argument that digital currency is less secure than banks. From security breaches caused by faulty technology to those committed by their own employees, banks have shown that they lack the security. 
  4. Security is a great argument, but Facebook may not be the right messenger. One potential outcome: Facebook may help move the currency debates along, but that may open the market for other vendors.
  5. Find solutions to cryptocurrency INHERITANCE, taxation, and reasonable steps to limit.
  6. Prioritize normalizing cryptocurrency socialization. Take steps to make it easier for large vendors and small ones alike to accept cryptocurrency.  
  7. Connect this currency with platforms that people are comfortable with, and talk about this as a natural progression. 
  8. Immediately stop calling this cryptocurrency. There’s nothing that begins with “crypto” that is ever going to make consumers feel comfortable. Framing is an important part of a political campaign, and nothing about that name inspires trust and confidence. Everything about it recalls the days of digital black markets and dark web — digital banking, digital currency, or “common” currency3 all are better options.

What should banks do?  Their roadmap includes raising the score of unanswered questions and asking cryptocurrencies to follow the same regulations they follow.  Without normalizing cryptocurrency, reframing arguments about security, and going on the offensive, cryptocurrencies may hit a significant roadblock in growing their legitimacy.

 

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