Cryptocurrency currently has a major conundrum. The goal of decentralization and the advent of Bitcoin, was to put the full ownership and responsibilities that come with it, back into the hands of the individual, eliminating the need for a bank to store your funds. However, something unexpected happened along the way: Centralized exchanges (such as Coinbase or Binance) have in ways become the new banks.
Just like traditional banks, you deposit funds into wallets the exchange holds, and just like banks you and your money are now in the hands of somebody else. Also like banks, you are at the mercy of their rules, fees, and even their liabilities and risks.
There is one major way that banks and crypto exchanges differ greatly, and it’s the biggest barrier between where we are now and mainstream adoption of decentralized digital currency: Customer Service.
When you visit a bank, you are greeted by a bank teller, there is a bank manager, even a call center for customers to reach representatives as many as 24 hours a day. Banks charge fees to your accounts, among other things, to generate the revenue to afford to pay for customer service. Exchanges charge ample fees, too, in most cases - so where is the customer service?
Visit any exchange-related sub-Reddit or check on social media and you will find droves of users furious that an exchange has lost their money, did not send or transfer money as expected, and worst of all, that the exchange has not responded to support tickets in days to months.
Typically, most problems are easily solvable and customer concerns can be kept to a minimum, but only if there is a clear customer service presence. Oftentimes, simply knowing a support team is investigating the issue is more than enough to ease a customer’s fears. A follow through from the exchange helping a customer could establish years of loyalty - which is highly profitable for the exchange.
With exchanges and much of the cryptocurrency world clearly lacking any sort of customer service, it is difficult for adopters to feel secure in their investment, furthering fear, uncertainty, and doubt in crypto. And with exchanges having so much of other people’s money in their hands, they need to take that power and be responsible with it.