As the cryptocurrency market gain traction, they are increasingly adopted by markets anxious to avoid attention. Unlike mainstream markets that do not like glitchy and bug-ridden technologies, “Gray” Markets are willing to endure unreliability and uncertainty in order to avoid attention.
“Shy” Markets Like Cryptocurrency
Everyone knows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been used to make illegal purchases (although many suggest this volume of illegal activity on the cryptocurrency market is lower than you’d think). So-called Gray Markets that are not technically illegal, but prefer to operate with a minimum of visibility, may have found a perfect match in the growing cryptocurrency market. This desire for privacy is often the result of people engaging in activities they consider embarrassing – whether illegal or not.
The Gray Cryptocurrency Market
A Gray Market occupies the space between legitimate businesses and the black market. The items and services listed for sale are not technically against the law – like illegal drugs or prostitution – but they are often used, less reliable, or repurposed without official permission.
Products often found for sale on the Gray Market include:
- Arcade and Computer games
- And more
In other words, gray markets aren’t illegal but sometimes illegal goods and services can be found there.
The ancient consumer warning ‘Caveat Emptor’ or ‘Let the Buyer Beware’ is most often invoked concerning Gray Market goods. As a result, people operating in gray markets are often anxious to avoid attracting unnecessary attention, and adopting a Cryptocurrency is a logical step for many.
Cryptocurrency and Adult Media
Producers of pornographic media have been adopting the Bitcoin cryptocurrency at an exponential rate. While pornography is not illegal in most countries, most consumers are anxious to avoid attracting attention or leaving footprints. As a result, Bitcoin is very attractive and has been enthusiastically adopted by merchants and consumers alike. As a $100 billion industry, large-scale adoption of cryptocurrency in this market is not insignificant.
Gray and Black Cryptocurrency Markets are Early Adopters
The police and other authorities are in a never-ending battle with people in the Black and Gray Markets. As a result, merchants have a strong incentive to adopt new technologies that will help them complete transactions in a faster, more opaque way that leaves a smaller footprint.
The cryptocurrency market is a recent technological investment, but past developments that benefited the Gray Markets include:
- The Gutenberg Printing Press
- Motion Pictures
- Home Video
- The Internet
- Online Payment Technology
- Digital Photography
The adoption of new technologies in the Black Market is a nuisance, but when the Gray Markets get involved, the technologies get a much-needed infusion of cash. Almost as important, the large-scale adoption also results in new innovation as bugs are worked out and new uses are devised. Much of the Internet landscape we take for granted was heavily influenced by people who wanted and needed to protect their privacy.
There are some who say that the Gray Market itself should be banned due to the presence of questionable and illegal products. At first blush, this argument may appear sound, but the vast majority of products and services on the Gray Market are not only innocuous… They are often impossible to regulate.
Lemonade stands, garage sales, used cars, second-hand stores, and private party sales are all part of the gray market. If you have ever bought or sold something from a neighbor or friend or through the classifieds, you are a part of the gray market, too. It is hard to estimate how large the second-hand market is, but the number is in the hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions.
Additionally, over-regulation of the Gray Market would hurt the largest vulnerable population in the world: the working poor. To the savvy consumer, the Gray Market is a source for adequate or even high-quality goods at a less-than-market price.
If you have ever lived on a tight budget, you know how hard it is to get by.
Your clothes come from the thrift store. You live in a less-safe part of town. You usually ride the bus, and if you do own a car, it’s at least ten years old. The Gray Market of secondhand, substandard, or knock-off goods is essential to your survival.
As a result, any attack on this market is a direct threat to your ability to get ahead in the world – and sometimes even to get by.
Cryptocurrency as Convenience
But cryptocurrencies are not just beneficial to the poor. While the poor may heavily patronize Gray Markets, many of the resulting products contribute greatly to the satisfaction, convenience, and well-being of the middle and upper classes.
Everyone old enough to live on their own has seen and held a physical photograph, or used cash to buy food, but this will not always be the case.Digital photos uploaded directly to social media are crowding out physical photography, and many children today are not familiar with physical photographs at all.
Digital photos uploaded directly to social media are crowding out physical photography, and many children today are not familiar with physical photographs at all.
Online grocery and fast food purchases are increasingly becoming the norm, and in the near future, it is not unreasonable to expect people to use their phone to make most of their purchases and transactions.
These conveniences would not be so prevalent if it were not for the accelerating effects of the Gray Market.
As cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or a Bitcoin Alternative are adopted and refined by the Gray and Secondary Markets, it is likely they will insinuate themselves into our lives in the same way as past technologies, improving our lives and streamlining the task of paying and tracking bills.