Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

I Want To Buy My Groceries With Crypto — So What's Stopping Me? There are several ways to make crypto's future less daunting to reach.

By Ariel Shapira Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Now that the metaverse has mostly come and gone, it looks like the key pillars of Web3 are recalibrating back to reality. Even Vision Pro, Apple's virtual reality proposition, is a lot more about answering emails or watching films than living full-time in a neon cyberpunk wonderland.

Crypto, Web3's most important tenet, is also seeing some use cases come back down to Earth. And while this course correction to nearly mundane functionality is overdue, we've seen few tangible ways to make that happen. Many crypto projects set lofty and unattainable goals to transform the financial industry completely. But harsh regulatory conditions, shaky market climates and no shortage of scandals illustrate why that probably isn't going to happen.

That being said, if crypto can't be a worthy adversary to the world of traditional finance (TradFi), it certainly could be complementary. What's preventing that from happening?

If you ask this question to most crypto enthusiasts, you're likely to hear a tirade about regulatory persecution, the evils of the SEC, and a million other external factors preventing crypto from reaching its full potential. In some cases, they're right. But it's easy to thrust the blame onto regulators or "bad actors" in the industry for putting crypto into an unsavory position — and it's not entirely accurate.

Related: Bitcoin as Currency Triggers Our Fear of Missing Out. Can It Be Fixed?

Of course, regulation and legislative misunderstandings are major obstacles that are slow to overcome due to the red tape involved with setting fair and comprehensive rules in crypto. And if crypto is to exist as a functional tool and currency in the real world, as significant industry outsiders say it will, you can't really get around regulation to prevent exploitation and full-fledged industry meltdowns.

If regulators do have a general distaste toward crypto, they can't entirely be blamed for it based on the number of scandals the industry has faced in this past year alone. If anything, it's more about companies not being able to get their act together rather than governments completely writing off crypto as a concept. But that's still not the only factor.

Across the crypto and blockchain sectors, projects tend to latch onto one specific application, trend, or use case and never ease their grip on it until it's too late. Even if it might not be the best thing for the project or the industry, it's difficult to deviate from the rest of the crowd in a sector where everyone is still trying to figure out what clicks.

This isn't an anomaly either — we've seen it happen with centralized exchanges, NFTs and depending on who you ask, smart contracts.

As much as crypto companies now preach against the doctrine of FOMO (fear of missing out), there is an unmistakable undercurrent of it throughout new industry developments. When a new technology, especially one with a financial aspect inherently attached, does have so much potential, no one wants to get left behind. That's partly why we notice so much theorizing and abstract blockchain-AI integrations, despite most of them not making much practical sense.

There are, of course, many practical applications of AI in the blockchain and crypto. But when projects, or an entire industry, get attached to one thing, it's hard to put down the blinders and shift focus to other options. Instead of exploring concrete ways to boost functionality for the average person, projects shoot for the moon instead. And ultimately, when each company is trying to one-up the other in scope and adoption, you're bound to have function fall by the wayside.

A big roadblock towards crypto ubiquity and functionality stems from communication. Since many major crypto advancements develop in parallel, getting networks and currencies to communicate requires much more effort. Transferring cryptocurrencies often becomes more troublesome than needed and typically requires using relatively unsafe methods.

Smart contracts are a godsend for certain crypto functions. But they've proven time and again to be insecure and unreliable as they keep getting plagued by hacks. For someone looking to transact using crypto regularly, that creates a real risk to their security. Some projects have deviated from smart contracts too. Companies such as Kima, for instance, are developing protocols and settlement layers to facilitate crypto and fiat transfers without relying on them.

Kima's also eschewing smart contracts to help solve the convoluted mess of international crypto transfers, a facet that crypto should inherently be able to do to function as currency. Not that international transfers are so simple using fiat currency or TradFi methods, but I don't have to worry about committing international securities fraud for using PayPal.

Crypto's philosophy from the beginning was to remove intermediaries and bureaucratic stopgaps that prevent unrestricted financial activity. While certain factors are beyond the control of industry builders, there could certainly be a lot more effort put into finding creative solutions to the sector's inherent problems.

So what is stopping me from using crypto to buy groceries? Quite a few things at this point, and they're mainly interwoven. But reinforcing steady and tangible development into interoperability and streamlined everyday use can make crypto's future less daunting to reach.

Ariel Shapira

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor


Ariel Shapira is a father, entrepreneur, writer and speaker.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

Now that OpenAI's Superalignment Team Has Been Disbanded, Who's Preventing AI from Going Rogue?

We spoke to an AI expert who says safety and innovation are not separate things that must be balanced; they go hand in hand.


What Franchising Can Teach The NFL About The Impact of Private Equity

The NFL is smart to take a thoughtful approach before approving institutional capital's investment in teams.

Employee Experience & Recruiting

Beyond the Great Resignation — How to Attract Freelancers and Independent Talent Back to Traditional Work

Discussing the recent workplace exit of employees in search of more meaningful work and ways companies can attract that talent back.

Business News

Scarlett Johansson 'Shocked' That OpenAI Used a Voice 'So Eerily Similar' to Hers After Already Telling the Company 'No'

Johansson asked OpenAI how they created the AI voice that her "closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference."

Business Ideas

Struggling to Balance Your Business and Your Relationship? This Company Says It Has a Solution.

Jessica Holton, co-founder and CEO of Ours, says her company is on a mission to destigmatize couples therapy so that people can be proactive about relationship health.


Marketing Campaigns Must Do More than Drive Clicks — Here's How to Craft Landing Pages That Convert Clicks into Customers

Following fundamental design principles will ensure that your landing pages lead potential customers from clicking on an ad to completing a purchase.