by Mátyás Záborszky, marketing expert in tokenized sales, and all things crypto and blockchain
Here’s a big number: Over half. But over half of what? Well if I tell you that over half equals 3.9 billion and rising, would you guess that I’m referring to the percentage of the world’s population which?—?according to recent figures from the United Nations?—?is now using the internet? Over half of all people living right now,-around 4 billion people, are internet users, and when you consider that the very young and the very old are probably not connected, this means that of the nearly 8 billion people alive, a large proportion of adults are able to get online. In 28 years, the internet has gone from a barely functional tool for a handful of scientists, to a dominant technology in many parts of the world.
While about 2 billion people in Asia may seem a lot, in terms of penetration, only half of the population is connected there. Compare this to penetration of 95% in the USA, and around 85% in Europe, and you can see where the growth areas are. While Europe and America are virtually saturated, and mature, the rest of the world has enormous potential for growth, nowhere more so than throughout Africa, where internet users currently account for about 24% of the population, with the growth rate over the last 13 years having risen from an initial 2%.
Across the developing world, back in 2005, only about 7.5% of people had internet access, compared to 45% now. What’s more, the saturated ‘developed’ world users tend to be tied to their laptops as a primary source of connection, whereas in the developing world the mobile telephone is the preferred medium.
So what does this mean for the future of blockchain, crypto, and ICOs? Well, as I see it, this means that there is huge opportunity out there, but those of us who are in the business of promoting enterprises really have to wake up to the mobile nature of communications (and the fact that in many areas of the world the communication networks can be unreliable). To reach our target audiences we therefore need to design more ‘punchy’ and appropriate messaging which cuts through the ‘smog’ of mobile telephony, and delivers the most focused and mobile-friendly offerings. This means, at the very least, ICO sites which are optimized for mobile viewing. That may seem obvious, but believe me, there are very many sites which presume that the audience will be sitting in a nice comfortable office, sipping a cappuccino, slowly browsing through a whitepaper on their fiber-fed state of the art laptop. That could be a very different experience to a commuter in a capital city in Africa.
And then there’s the language and cultural references. The cryptosphere is massively tipped towards English, and the cultural references are almost always American, or European. Isn’t it time that enterprises turned their attention to all these rapidly expanding and vigorous markets, and started addressing the needs of the audience there? I’m not suggesting that we have to turn our backs on Europe and America, but that the potential for growth and uptake is promising in other parts of the world.
The other factor that’s needed is finding appropriate offerings. It’s probable that there is less of a market in Africa for ‘Rolls Royce’ solutions, and what I recently termed ‘Atom bomb’ offerings are too big and too highly capitalized for some markets. As I have also reported, the UN is looking at blockchain and crypto for small-scale answers to help ‘unbanked’ people earn their wages. When this starts happening at a significant level, there will be millions of new crypto users who are interested in the everyday transactions which can be achieved through the blockchain. As large proportions of populations become more crypto-savvy, then the way will be open for smaller, and more tailored offerings which better match the profile of the local market. And yes, I know that the cryptoverse is?—?in theory?—?global, but of course regulatory issues, language and culture all play their part in limiting or promoting uptake of enterprises.
My feeling is that perhaps for too long we have stayed in our comfortable Anglo-centric American/European silos. Yes of course we’re happy if an audience from the developing world finds a path to our door, but we certainly don’t make it easy for them, and we expect them to find us, rather than the other way around. That’s not a great marketing strategy.
Meanwhile, someone is going to find the key to open the door to the massive potential of the growing internet use of Asia, South America, and Africa, and when they do the benefits will be clear. And the numbers will be big. Very big.