Bitcoin hasn't taken over the world--yet. It's on its way though and has already become the go-to cryptocurrency. Some thought it was a passing trend or a niche market, but it's proving to be a powerful form of currency that has the makings for more widespread usage. Even right now, hyperinflation in Venezuela has caused thousands of people to use Bitcoin as a way to pay for everyday expenses and even medical treatment. However, like anything new that may have a bright future there are obstacles along the way. Hackings and other forms of instability plague Bitcoin exchanges. Even as it's getting adopted by new users, there are still millions and millions of people who've never heard of it.

It's been eight years since Bitcoin made its debut and while it is widely recognized as the first cryptocurrency used on a more widespread basis, competition is surprisingly fierce. If Bitcoin is to become the first form of digital cash used more commonly around the world, a few obstacles need to be tackled.

1. More users must understand Bitcoin's low cost and ease of use.

Most people use traditional cards (credit/debit) and sometimes cash for daily transactions (although cash is being used less by younger generations). Of course, cash doesn't have any transactions costs, but there are other issues with this form of currency folks are getting tired of (like having to be physically present to use it). Card transactions take place quickly, but confirmations usually don't occur until the next day. Plus, fees can be high for even small transactions.

Right now the typical Bitcoin transaction is usually confirmed in anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple hours. Getting users to see Bitcoin as faster and more inexpensive than cards will be key to its future growth. In order to warrant a complete change of the current go-to payment method (cards), the benefits need to be big. With Bitcoin, they just might be, but the struggle is getting users to see that.

2. Staying better than the competition.

Cryptocurrencies that have any potential to take down Bitcoin as the future leader in digital payments need to offer even more affordable, reliable and faster services than Bitcoin. That's not happening yet, but anything is possible. These advantages would have to be clear and objective. Extra bells and whistles like advanced anonymity or better structure might help sway users. However, basically offering the exact same positive features as Bitcoin isn't going to be enough to make a cryptocurrency more appealing. Bitcoin has a head start. We'll see if it can maintain its advantage.

3. Showcase a streamlined process.

One of the reasons Bitcoin is relatively successful is because of Blockchain technology. It's a front-runner because of its utilitarian approach. Competitors can try to create advantages like an automatic exchange set into a wallet, for example. However, Bitcoin will upgrade its own systems and keep up with technological advancements. It will be hard for any competitor to build any kind of lasting advantage, because Bitcoin has more visibility and can "borrow" any upgrades from potential competitors.

4. Figuring out fiat conversion.

Fiat currency issued by governments is simply how our current currency structure works. If people adopt cryptocurrency without finding a way to convert into fiat, it would be nearly impossible to sustain. Users need a simple way to buy and use cryptocurrency in order for it to become a serious currency contender. Also, Bitcoin currently operates as a "doorway" to other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoins must be purchased in order to buy other cryptocurrencies. This kind of monopolization and reliance may be disastrous not just to the overall world of cryptocurrencies, but to Bitcoin, too. Monopolies tend to have a bad reputation, so finding an avenue for quick and easy fiat conversion is a must for any new cryptocurrency with adherents who want to spread it.

5. Need for a marketing campaign.

There's a reason a lot of people haven't heard of Bitcoin or don't really know what it is: The cryptocurrency doesn't have organized PR and marketing. In today's world, every product needs some kind of marketing, especially in early stages, even if there a millions of folks who already use it. Deemphasis tech jargon for most potential users, and get back to a strategic campaign aimed at the general population. What are the benefits for users? When most people can't name those, that's a red flag for mass adoption.

Bitcoin is the royalty of cryptocurrency for now. However, without addressing lingering concerns, other cryptos might come along and usurp the title. Part of what may stop that is a wider acceptance of Bitcoin in countries around the world. While that acceptance is occurring in countries like Venezuela that are facing massive economic trouble, Bitcoin isn't truly a good fit for people in economically stable countries yet. We need easier conversion, better marketing, more technological advancement and increased consumer understanding in order to get there.

Published on: Dec 23, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.