Dear Crypto Community and Crypto Reporters,
Put your social media clicking and scrolling to one side for just a few minutes… we really need to talk.
This past week or so, FCF Pay has been both blessed and cursed to be the focus of an enormous amount of attention on social media, largely revolving around our Crypto Bill Payments service. We have also been the subject of dozens, if not hundreds, of articles in what are often laughingly described as “news” outlets (there are some that actually deserve the title, as discussed below).
I have decided to split this article into the following sections:
- The Good
- The Bad
- The Ugly
- The Light at the End of the Tunnel
The Good: People are REALLY excited about crypto payments
We believe very strongly that the evolution of cryptoCURRENCIES will be away from pure speculation and towards mainstream adoption as actual currency used for payments – back to their originally intended function. We also believe this will lead to the biggest economic boom of the last century, at least, thanks to the gains in efficiency and the inclusion of the billions of people that are unbanked or underbanked into the global digital economy.
However, if I’m honest, we sometimes get disheartened by the emphasis that exists on speculation; quick “gainz”. This is so much the case that even several multinational corporations with whom we were in high-level discussions regarding integrating crypto payments into their own payment options got cold feet along with the cooling of the speculative crypto market as the bears took hold. Essentially, they were put off by the exchange rate because some of them are still unable to view crypto as anything other than a way to earn more fiat.
But did the expansion of crypto adoption actually slow down during this bear market? No, it did not! Today there are more people holding and using crypto than ever before. Tomorrow, there will be even more. This trend is outstripping the pace at which internet adoption has taken place.
The biggest good news takeaway for me from the media frenzy we have recently experienced is that crypto payments grab the general public’s attention and millions of people get genuinely excited about it.
The reasons why we should all be behind this shift towards crypto payments are extensively covered in other articles on this blog, but this is the first time since I’ve begun posting here that I can point at a particular event as proof of how crypto payments get juices flowing.
Don’t believe me? Google “FCF Pay”, “Honda crypto payments”, “Chase crypto payments”, “HSBC crypto payments” and so on. BUT… Don’t take everything you read as gospel.
This leads me on to:
The Bad: Crypto social media shouting and lack of reporting standards
I’ve been saying for a long time that too much of the crypto space on social media is people screaming into the void in the hope that somebody, anybody, will invest in the screamers’ favourite token and make it “pump” (go up a lot in $ value). There is a LOT of white noise to filter out if you want to find something that’s useful for this reason. Unfortunately, though, most people will only ever see this hype-focused side of crypto on their feeds and this is frankly off-putting for the moderate majority.
I use the word “screaming” because I really do get a sense of desperation from a lot of the people there. This noise is generated by people around the world who are looking for a way to break out of the cycle their place of birth and/or socioeconomic situation has placed them. You really can’t blame them for it. The noise is ultimately caused by them feeling trapped in the system they live in and a desire for something better.
I call it “the Void” because almost nobody is actually listening to anyone! Memecoin marketing consists largely in getting the logo in front of as many eyes as possible, but beyond repeating the mantra “TO THE MOON” or “SOMETHING BIG IS COMING”, there is very little actual discussion going on.
The more “serious” projects (Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and so on) love to point the finger at memecoins for this behaviour, but this finger-pointing and taunting exposes the fact that all too many people in these communities are essentially doing the same thing. They taunt and insult each other, and automatically refer to anything new they see as “probably a scam”.
This inevitably leads to a VERY sensationalist spin on just about every bit of gossip, rumour, or even actual newsworthy information. The crypto news industry is battling for attention too amongst all this commotion and a simple description of a useful service such as our Crypto Bill Payments system just won’t bring as many eyeballs as a more exaggerated claim such as those that we’ve seen popping up about FCF Pay having partnerships with some of the biggest corporations in the USA. We’ve actually seen a whole host of articles and social media posts that don’t even mention FCF Pay, preferring to simply state that Shiba Inu, XRP or Bitcoin (or whichever coin/token) is now accepted by these companies. There are even headlines that say “X company announces they now accept…”. No such statements exist!
We have done our best to continuously combat misinformation, but the gears of the hype machine ground up the truth and spat out 1000 variants designed to push particular agendas and pump particular charts.
The Ugly: Tribal warfare and gang-style bullying
As I touched upon above, the level of fragmentation amongst the crypto community is extreme. Whereas here at FCF Pay we believe that most “crypto people” have more in common than not, it is currently practically impossible to work in this space without getting caught in the crossfire, or periodically becoming a target. If you look at almost any post about any kind of crypto-related service or product, one of the first things you’ll see is someone calling it a scam and pointing readers towards their own preferred project, coin or token.
It’s not “I personally believe that there is a better option, called X. My reasons are Y and Z”. It’s “this is not X, therefore it’s a scam”.
Since I have worked in this space, I have known people to be bullied, stalked or even physically attacked. The motives vary from being seen as competition for another project, theft or political ideals (if you’re seen to be collaborating with banks and governments too much, for example). It is a tiny minority of people that behave this way, but the sooner we stamp out this toxicity the better.
In fact, just yesterday our account x.com/fcfpay was suspended out of the blue. This followed an “outbreak” of what looked like bots engaging with the account and a fair amount of unfounded chatter amongst a small group of a particular crypto project’s “maxis” (super fans) about “taking us down”. Said project happens to have aspirations in the payments space. It is highly probable they mass reported our account for whatever made up reasons came to their minds. Coincidentally, we do not offer said project’s token as a payment option. I wonder how they would have reacted to the news if we did!
The light at the end of the tunnel: good apples and collaboration
In amongst all of this, I still feel overwhelmingly positive about the future of blockchain-based payments.
First of all, not all crypto communities on social media are just about shouting the loudest and badmouthing other projects instead of being productive. Others do a great job of encouraging inter-project collaboration, holding long constructive discussions about what they can contribute to the broader tapestry of decentralised solutions… In short, as with most of society, most people are pretty decent, but the bad apples make a disproportionate amount of noise.
I can also say the same about companies in the blockchain payments space. We are proud that some companies that we originally would have considered competition have actually become partners. Some of them use our white label products, while with others we connect to their systems for on and off-ramping and similar. This actually seems to be a growing trend, and one that we welcome with open arms.
The same goes for crypto news outlets. If you look at the post I published regarding the misinformation that has been spread, you’ll see a good number of pingbacks from blogs quoting it as a source. Only 2 new outlets actually contacted us directly for information directly from the source. These two outlets are Coindesk and Cointelegraph… I would like to publicly commend them for doing so, even before their articles have been published. Whatever it is they write, at least they bothered to do some research! We also saw that at least one news source reached out to one of the companies supported by out system; Chase Bank, and received the following response, which is completely in line with everything we have published:
“Chase does not accept payments for mortgages, loans and credit cards in cryptocurrencies. As the FCF tweet noted, the company claims that they settle payments in fiat rather than in crypto. We have no affiliation with this company”, – explained Justin K. Page, Communications VP for Chase Bank.
Finally, the media attention has actually led to some mainstream payment service providers to reach out to ask about how we can help them start offering crypto payment processing to their clients.
We firmly believe that mainstream crypto payments adoption is just around the corner and after this week, we’re more excited than ever!