Historically, users have mined Ethereum using GPUs, ASIC mining will actually increase the ease of mining Ethereum, but obviously, this is something that the Ethereum developers do not want. Bitmain announced ASIC miners in the $800 range, and next thing, some Ethereum developers organized an informal poll to gauge the willingness of its community in a hardfork that will make mining on ASICs harder. They wanted to preserve the value of the currency because increased ease of acquisition will undermine value.
So, in essence, it is unlikely that mining Ethereum, just like Bitcoin, will become decentralized in the truest sense of the word; however, it is unlikely that any single mining pool will ever reach more than 51% ownership of total hashpower. A single mining pool holds as much as 13,000 miners.
It is not absolutely necessary to mine cryptocurrency as a prerequisite to owning them. Nobody prints their own cash, few people mine gold for themselves, and only a tiny fraction of cryptocurrency users will be able to successfully mine their own currency.
Circulation of cryptocurrency is a liquid process that begins with mining, and somewhere in the middle, transactions and exchange of value avail the currency to people who didn’t hold any before.
Adoption might not be widespread but there are several companies with products which reduce the amount of time cryptocurrency takes to reach one of the last laps of its journey since being mined: the hand of a user. ATMs, Smart Banknotes, funded USB wallets, and many other financial instruments have demonstrated some initial real-world usability.
Some Mass Adoption Driven Projects
- Cryptocurrency ATMs
- Tangem Smart Banknotes - recently launched in Singapore and South Korea
- Full list of cryptocurrency debit cards
- Liquidium - Crypto to Fiat Point of Sale App - designed for low-cost, high-speed transactions. Currently supporting Liquidium, Stellar Lumens, Ripple and Nano
- EROSCOIN - Payment gateway with its own tokens.
These are some of the promising ones I know but there could well be many others I haven't heard about.