I had the awesome opportunity in the last 2 weeks to attend EthCC, the Ethereum Community Conference, in Paris. Being a relative “newbie” in the crypto space, I attended the conference to learn more about Ethereum, other crypto currencies, the blockchain and it’s community. Most importantly, I also went to learn what the future of this technology may hold and how SEO and digital marketing will impact them now and in the future.
I had the unique experience to sit in on presentations from some of the blockchain’s current heavy hitters: the companies and people behind the movement with big ideas for the future. I also had the privilege to personally speak to some on the current successes of the community, while also determining what may be lacking from an SEO perspective.
If you don’t know what crypto currency or the blockchain is at all, this article may not be for you. This post is for those with a basic understanding of crypto, but especially if you are already part of the blockchain community and could use insight on how to create services and market for the masses.
My Top 7 Takeaways of EthCC from an SEO & Marketing Perspective
1. Accessibility will be key to continued crypto adoption.
Most of the community seems to agree that the future of crypto’s success will rely on continued adoption. Adoption is needed not only from end-users but from current companies like Airbnb and Uber accepting the currency as a form of payment. Yet trying to get into crypto today requires quite a bit of complicated research and steps involved. Companies are starting to think about how to make crypto more accessible to the masses, yet none seem to be working on creating the functionality needed to make this possible.
Creating a more user-friendly and seamless ‘access layer’ will likely be a huge undertaking. but it needs to be started as soon as possible. This access layer would allow crypto to be more useable, marketable, and ultimately offer a higher chance of adoption by people and businesses all around. It would help make crypto less of a commodity by allowing more people to easily start buying in and actually using it as a legitimate currency.
2. While ICO’s remove the ‘middle-man’ and some of the complicated regulation in investing, they also offer absolutely no guarantee to the investor.
An initial Coin Offering, or ICO, is a way for new projects to fundraise by selling their underlying crypto tokens for bitcoin or ether. It is somewhat similar to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) where investors buy shares of a company.
I heard many complaints being voiced about how many ICO’s promised to develop valuable products and services for the community, took investor money, then simply never delivered. Middle-man crowdfunding tools like Kickstarter and Patreon may take large fees from projects, but they also offer protection to the investor should the project not deliver on their promises.
The blockchain community needs to develop smart contracts – computer code hosted by peer-to-peer networks that can facilitate and verify credible transactions without third parties that are trackable and irreversible – that can make a ‘refund’ of crypto possible to investors should an ICO not deliver. What this may look like or how it may work I do not know, but something needs to be done to prevent further ‘get rich schemes’. This would enable ICO’s to become what was initially intended: a trusted, valuable, and profitable part of being involved with the blockchain community. This would increase interest and value within the space all around.
In the meantime, legitimate companies who formed a successful ICO, or built their products on their own through self-funding, should market themselves as so. This would help build brand awareness, trust, and authority. Companies could also strive to properly educate the public on the risks of investing in ICO’s. This transparency will likely aid in the effort of building trust and convincing people to consider being involved in the blockchain community.
3. There are only a few usable products and services that exist within the blockchain and they are designed solely for the blockchain community.
Services like MyCrypto and Bity are awesome tools if you’re already crypto literate, but any newcomers to the space may find themselves dazed and confused. It takes quite the research effort to determine what ‘gas’ is or how much is needed per transaction. What about how wallets are just an interface and where crypto actually exists? How does one determine what different tokens represent, their value, or really find much transparency on how any of this actually works and why it’s important, in one place? All this information is spread out vastly too far and is hard to find. While services like Coinbase have a slight upper-hand in making it easier for the beginner user to ‘get started’ in crypto – many do not realize how centralized and severely lacking / limiting that service actually is.
From an SEO standpoint, blockchain companies should start thinking about how to design their current websites, apps, and develop a targeted content marketing strategy. Offering clear guidance and education to newcomers will improve awareness, rankings, and adoption rates. They also need to focus on determining their target audience’s pain points and service needs. Meaningful and provable data would shed light on what kind of content and functionality to develop to solve problems but also allow users valuable ways to spend their crypto outside of trading. I imagine that the first company to achieve this successfully will likely become the ‘Tesla’ of the blockchain.
4. The blockchain community is passionate and determined to create a decentralized future – but what does that even mean?
Many people still do not understand the value of a decentralized future in both currency and business – even I’m a little confused about it. In short, a decentralized future means taking away the power from big banking systems and corporations and instead putting the power solely into the hands of the people. This means moving away from arbitrary rules, regulations, and fees that are unfairly pressed upon us and which we are forced then to follow solely because a single entity has a monopoly on a product, service, or resource. It allows users to ‘opt out’ and exist in a free-market system where they can choose how, when, and why to spend their money. It allows people to choose a service to use without limitations, restrictions, or risk.
This is arguably one of the most attractive and valuable aspects of moving from fiat money to a crypto currency. Yet, there are not nearly enough easily accessible clear and laymen marketing materials discussing this in detail for public consumption. After digging around for ages I couldn’t find one comprehensive white paper or blog article where I can learn everything I need to know about decentralization and crypto in one place. This is a marketing and awareness gold mine blockchain companies could benefit from targeting.
5. Sharing in the economy and a universal basic income matters to the community.
One of the most interesting presentations I saw at EthCC was from Circles. Circles is a cryptocurrency aiming to create and distribute a globally accessible universal basic income which, if implemented successfully, would change society for the better. They discussed concepts like moving people away from living in ‘survival mode’ and into ‘human mode’. This has been proven through reputable studies to benefit the economy and improve quality of life all around.
This kind of idealistic thinking about sharing in the economy is strong within the blockchain community, and one of the more attractive aspects that I imagine would get a lot of people on-board with crypto. Yet the community’s reputation on this stance suffers a bit in credibility, which I’ll explain further in my next point.
6. 4% of crypto currency investors own 96% of the wealth.
Sound familiar? Hoarding is a real issue within the space from a community who says the main goal of crypto is to decentralize currency and give power and equality back to everyone. This, along with broken-promises from ICO’s, and current technical issues that need to be made more seamless to end-users, make it a hard sell for the average person to feel comfortable with jumping on the crypto-bandwagon.
Creating valuable products and services within the blockchain, as well as transparency and education for the general public, will help get crypto moving around. This will ultimately increase its marketability and usability to the masses.
7. Virtually all of the blockchain companies are missing the mark on technical and content focused SEO efforts targeting people not already apart of the blockchain community.
As an SEO expert, this was probably the biggest surprise for me initially since the blockchain is a technological innovation. That is, until I really started to think about it. The blockchain community is run by some of the world’s leading developers, engineers, and hackers. While this community leads innovation, it’s a common pitfall that they don’t really focus on things like UX and customer intent. They create this awesome product or service, that functions beautifully on the backend, but have little patience for how to make it more attractive and less complicated on the front-end. That’s perfectly ok! That’s where digital marketing experts come in and could lend a helping hand.
A true SEO expert always has the target audience’s intent and pain points in mind. We connect that knowledge and data with the current goals and capabilities of a company. Working together, the blockchain community and digital marketing experts could very well find an efficient and practical way to bring crypto to the masses.
The BlockChain Needs to Bridge The Gap Between Functionality, UX, and Content – All In One Place.
We need to bring together technical and design best practices, create content and functionality with customer intent in mind, and build brand awareness, trust, education, and authority outside of just marketing to the blockchain community. I believe these are the next big steps blockchain companies must start taking today for crypto’s future success.
It’s deciding to take a page from innovator’s like Steve Wozniak’s book. Make crypto accessible not just to the privileged few, but put this awesome technology into the households and hands of people worldwide. This will solidify its success, stability, and ultimately change the world.