This is an opinion editorial by Holly Young, Ph.D., a builder active in the Portuguese Bitcoin community.
The number of people buying and using Bitcoin is increasing. Jason Deane calculated that in the first six months of 2021, the number of Bitcoin users grew by around 165 people per minute. Sounds like a lot – right?
But we have to get to a point where bitcoin takes its place in common parlance and we all have a part to play.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve experienced the personal epiphany of “discovering” bitcoin. Most of us can also recognize the stages in others. We tend to move from skepticism to a tentative bitcoin trial and small investment, a (usually brief) phase in which we think this or that altcoin is also a viable investment (be honest, you’ve probably done it too at some point and no, it wasn’t just the state of the market at the time – doing your own research also involves at least looking at the other options before concluding that maximalism is the way to go). And then comes the – for most of us, precipitous and irreversible – fall down the rabbit hole. In this phase, we can’t get enough. We crave real information about money. Most of us have been that person who sits for 30 minutes in a stationary car at our destination to listen to the latest podcast track as the penny drops. Not just a penny, but a brilliant cascade of them. I know I have.
Then comes the time when your life begins to change too. You start to question everything – because if what you knew before about money was wrong, what does that mean for health care? For a diet? As a family or as a couple? Even your relationship with God?
There’s no denying – “finding” Bitcoin is absolutely life changing, and once you’ve seen it, there’s simply no turning back.
For many of us, this can lead to difficult life changes. We may find ourselves alienated from previous social circles, even relationships and family. And then comes the sudden and wonderful realization that the Bitcoin community is already here. For many of us, hanging out with other Bitcoiners represents the first time we haven’t been seen as an outsider.
Then we want to tell everyone we know about it. We’re just desperate to let our friends, family, co-workers know – even that random stranger who was next to us in the supermarket queue. For many of these people, this process of contact and learning will be life changing as it has been for you and me. But it still happens on a regular basis that we fail to deliver the message we intended to deliver and the learning opportunity that this supermarket queue provides is missed. Adoption is, frankly, a far cry from where we expected it to be, given the circumstances. So where are we going wrong?
Bitcoin at the kitchen table
Let’s face it, it’s hard talk about money. According to this article, money is among the three main points of contention for couples, along with sex and children. (Incidentally, the Bitcoin community also clarifies these topics.)
Being able to discuss money within your family is a really crucial skill. We should be able to hold free-flowing, relaxed conversations about money and the basis of those conversations should be about the true nature of money – where it comes from, how it works and what we need it to do. . To get to this point, we need to educate friends and family about algebra (money) and trigonometry (banking and the financial system) before explaining calculus (bitcoin). Speaking in extremely practical terms can be very helpful for this. What problem does bitcoin solve for you? What problem does bitcoin solve for friends and family? What problem does bitcoin solve for those living in southern countries or under repressive regimes?
We also suffer from a shortage of good learning resources available for this purpose. The Bitcoin Standard is a fantastic resource for those who really want to learn more about money, but still requires a significant time investment and may be a bit much to ask of anyone just starting out. We need more resources that people can check out in the first half hour of their interest – resources that will give a succinct overview and pique the interest to learn more. We need good bitcoin books for children — because children are always the future, and our children in particular as those who will have learned bitcoin from an early age — who will never have known people before the Bitcoin, in many cases. Quick thanks to Bitcoin Rabbi Michael Caras for writing an excellent one: “Bitcoin Money: A Tale of Bitville Discovering Good Money.”
Put your Twitter account down and walk away hands up
Guys. We need to talk about Twitter.
Just as we all go through a phase where we think this or that altcoin is the next big investment before we see the meaning and call altcoins out for the scams they are, we all go through a phase of telling ourselves ourselves and others that we are on Twitter “to learn”. As with all the most convincing excuses, there is a grain of truth in this. Negotiating your way through the plethora of Bitcoin content, the good, the bad, and the ugly, can be a tough call. Twitter can help you identify the people – influencers, if you will – who have the hottest word on Bitcoin, who have the sweetest sound bites, who can tell you the most succinctly why they’re a Bitcoin Maximalist this week. .
It’s also about who’s hating who right now, who we’re canceling because maybe they had the audacity to charge for a course, because they dared to suggest that maximalism is getting a little toxic on the edges or who currently has the dubious honor of being the center of negative attention.
While Twitter has undeniably played a vital role in the development of the international Bitcoin community (and may I take a moment to acknowledge that many Bitcoiners rightly love Jack Dorsey), it also plays a destructive role, engulfing our our time and attention and wasting our energy on unnecessary infighting. We will never insult people in financial freedom. Encouraging people to do their own research is undermined by cancel culture.
We need solid, interesting and engaging material for those new to and new to Bitcoin.
Here is a thought. Take a look at the screen time you spend on Twitter each day and make a promise: take half of that time and spend it explaining Bitcoin to someone new or building something online that people can use as a learning resource instead.
If you want to scrape on Twitter, do it privately. Take him outside, to the virtual parking lot of direct messages.
A call to arms
Who did you orange loot this week? We underestimate the power of community – and joining a community as such is not necessarily part of becoming a Bitcoiner – one of the nice things about the freedom it brings is that you can choose how far you want to go into the experience. But once you’ve seen the ugly soul of the fiat system and the immaculate alternative Bitcoin offerings, you can’t look away. One could even argue that there is a moral and ethical duty to help others improve their system as well.
So here is my request. Take some of your time this week to make positive contributions in the form of a pile of oranges. We can’t all be Jack Dorsey, Michael Saylor or Lyn Alden. But we can all make Bitcoin the talking point around the kitchen table. We can all share the knowledge and information we have gleaned for ourselves with our loved ones – yes, even at the supermarket.
Invest some of your time in thinking about the bitcoin message you share with others. Troubleshoot your approach. Are you doing something efficiently? Where are you going wrong? And if you can, share those learning experiences too.
This is a guest post by Holly Young. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.