“Let’s talk about Bitcoin and Blockchain.”
Silence ensues. Disappointment in their eyes. Everyone looks down. No one has anything to say.
Not everyone understands cryptocurrency. When you bring it up with friends and family, you start to see a faint pattern between each of them.
“Don’t do it, you will lose your money.”
“Isn’t it just a trend?”
“I don’t get it.”
Just like any other technical field, it is daunting to have to read up on the technological aspects of cryptocurrency.
In reality, you only need to have a basic understanding of the tech to see if it is viable and something you are willing to support. Note, that I did not mention anything about ‘investing’: there are other reasons why you can get into cryptocurrencies besides the profits. Not everyone knows that, however.
So we teach them. Yet, it can be difficult to do so. Let’s explore why these views are apparent nowadays:
There is an underlying fear post-GFC.
After all the big players crashed the market, the burden was brought over to the masses. Where can we park our hard-earned money for investments? Who do we trust? When Bitcoin came out as a source of investments, a lot of people jumped ship. The earliest investors started to profit back when the coin was in its single-digit prices. As they preached about its advantages, more and more people opted in. It may not be enough. The average person may need more time to take it all in.
The initial assumptions don’t help.
Ask anyone why they haven’t started diving into this yet, and the answers may surprise you:
“It’s a scam/money-making scheme.”
Not everything is about the money.
Most recent news from various cryptocurrency sources normally focus on the financial side of this technology, however, that is not all. Sadly because this is reality, that focus is deemed as absolute by the public.
Only a small percentage of people who are willing to dive into this topic can see that there are other aspects of blockchain technology that can benefit the public outside of a financial perspective.
Seeing as how we like to capitalize on the fears and negativity around the world, it is easier to talk about something that we fear and then we have a distrust form as a post to a technologies advantages. Hence you have various rumors and scams and people losing their money etc. without verifying the source, but the spread of fear is very strong.
“It’s too hard to understand.”
Not everyone knows about rocket science. Not everybody knows how to invest in stocks, shares and do currency trading.
Similarly, if it is a topic foreign to most people, it is easier for it to be drowned out in conversation. Either people will ignore the topic, or that they would have nothing to say. It may seem too ‘far away’: like the inner workings of a PC, not everyone knows how it works. This tech isn’t taught in mainstream education, and it feels like there are many prerequisites to meet before you can understand it.
Which leads to the next answer:
“There’s no expert around me.”
Since this is an upcoming tech, it is very rare to find different sources of expertise on new technology. This is especially when the concepts are so hard to understand at first glance.
Accessibility wise, for any beginner wanting to learn about cryptocurrency, they would normally start with a Google Search. Something like:
how to trade crypto
what is Bitcoin
This brings up so many sources trying to achieve the same thing which is to teach the user about cryptocurrency. But, this also becomes a funnel to introduce other sources for their own personal motive: whether it be a full-on course with a premium price or a book that they swear by will help them in learning more about Bitcoin. For news sources, these tend to be geared towards those already knowledgeable about Bitcoin, Ethereum, altcoins, etc. which means it may not be friendly for the average person.
They would need teachers to talk about these in simple, relatable terms. Even so, blockchain is not for everyone. Because:
“It’s not part of my life.”
Relevance also plays a factor when a person on the internet learns about new and upcoming technology.
When new machinery is released, such as the latest iPhone/Android, a new laptop or a brand new screen, the function becomes clear. To the prospective customer, these items are clear in what they can do.
Bitcoin and blockchain technology is non-tangible however, and to have a piece of technology that doesn’t exactly fit into your hands (but into your laptops, yes) creates a certain element of irrelevant to one’s day-to-day life.
To most people, blockchain does not feel like it’s part of their lives. It is not as intrusive as social media, as useful as a phone, or as necessary as drinking water. But sooner or later, with the next Industrial Revolution, blockchain technology will slowly pick up in terms of overall necessity and influence on today’s societal systems.
“It’s another trend, it will blow over.”
One of the largest reasons why Bitcoin became a trend or the talk of the day was that it had risen to such an all-time high, at $20,000 per coin.
Seeing such abnormal rises in price would pique anyone’s interest. Now that it had dropped down to approx. ~$9,400 (and rising, I hope), most people look at the drop as a byproduct of a trend.
It could be hype instilled from people trying to invest in these coins. It could also be the movement of whales (aka. those with a large stake in the coin) buying and selling.
But the large rise and drop movements makes the average person think that it’s a trend, and was only short-lived. Why learn about something that may not be talked about anymore in the coming months? It’s just like old memes: something that goes viral quickly drops in popularity just as fast.
Lacking efforts to educate about Blockchain
People know about Bitcoin, but what about Blockchain technology?
Behind the wall of investment opportunities, tokens, and dApps lies the base technology: Blockchain.
Even the word sounds technical. Really, if one were to take the time to understand it step by step, the concept becomes easier to grasp.
The delivery of the above statement, however, is questionable: there haven’t been enough efforts to educate the public on the wonders of the tech.
There are technological advantages to implementing blockchain technology to any endeavors we have an interest in, provided that it makes sense. As mentioned above, it’s not just about money -there could be improvements in current systems to reduce overhead costs and improve speeds.
But, who cares?
The public wants something simple to understand.
What is the current social sentiment of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other blockchain developments?
For the techies, it’s doing fine. For the public, knowing how the tech works is sort of irrelevant. They just want something simple that works.
Invest -> makes money -> receive more money? Simple.
New tech -> trending/hype -> invest -> returns? Easy to understand.
Simplicity is best. But, it’s not like that all the time.
Take the computer: back then, things were working fine with paper and cabinet. Now that databases are stored online and on cloud systems, it resulted in surfacing paper’s disadvantages.
Or the iPhone: a revolutionary device that was more than a phone, it represented a brand. It sent a message that everyone agreed with and followed wholeheartedly. They didn’t need to understand how it works, the components, etc., they just need to know that it does work. The seamless integration happened later on.
This growing technological sentiment can be seen in multiple technology introductions, whenever we start to introduce new things into the world.
For blockchain and cryptocurrencies, it could the same. The more that blockchain technology assimilates into the working world, however, the greater the awareness of its usefulness and applications.
Maybe, the tech may not be as far away as previously perceived.
Accessibility is key to education.
Blockchain and crypto ‘looks’ difficult. There’s money, there’s tech, there’s a chain of blocks and all of a sudden you’re earning $20,000 per coin.
It’s mind-blowing just how much this space had developed in recent times. That mind-blowing aspect, however, is also a double-edged sword: it makes the tech seem harder to understand.
A percentage of the public believes that such a complicated, new tech is very scary to dive into. It became a trend at the time to look at it, yes, but that was out of fear when you have various factors acting in play (eg. FUD, FOMO).
It’s hard to teach people about crypto because the core concept is very hard to relate to. We don’t deal with blockchain systems in our day-to-day routine: there has to be a gradual implementation of current routines with blockchain technology.
Some have decided to do that with creating new coins, while others fund their companies through ICOs. Others add very clear points in their whitepaper to help educate potential investors on what they are doing this for.
In the end, we have to put more effort into teaching people the advantages of the tech itself. It’s like teaching the very basics of investing, the core concepts: we only need a surface-level understanding of it, before we can make informed decisions.
People have a need to be informed. We can help them with that.