A couple weeks ago, I traveled home for the July 4th holiday to catch up with family and friends I hadn’t seen since joining the Casa team and working in crypto full-time. When asked about my new job, I found myself going back to the fundamentals. A lot. Explaining what Bitcoin actually is, why it's not a giant scam, and how it actually accrues value.
When I paused to reflect on the weekend, I realized it was a humbling reminder that the majority of people outside of our crypto bubble don’t understand cryptocurrency, and what's more, don’t have easy access to learn about it. I see many teams in the industry today make the common Field of Dreams mistake: “If you build it and call it decentralized, they will come.” This may be true for specific use cases born out of necessity (like store of value) in countries that are experiencing obvious, nation-wide problems with their national currencies. But in countries with relatively stable fiat, having that expectation, as it relates to the majority of the population right now, is pretty naive.
Adoption - and understanding - of crypto isn’t going to happen by itself. We're still the "early" community; therefore, it falls upon us to help spread the word and educate the curious - or, at least, the family members who think we’re crazy.
Here are several tips on how we can bring about this adoption:
Have a concise, interesting explanation of how Bitcoin works that you can relay to people who have very little knowledge on the topic. I say Bitcoin because there’s a good chance they’ve at least heard the name and have some idea of cryptocurrencies that you can build on. Even if their notion of it is completely incorrect, you have to start somewhere.
Find solid beginner articles/podcasts that you can send to people who want to dig in a bit more. Pick ones that you personally found helpful when you were first learning. Preferably, ones that aren’t too long, because everyone has a scientifically-proven 7-second attention span these days.
- Do your best to fight against scams in the industry. In the US, crypto has the baseline reputation of being fraught with scams and used by criminals. The more we clean things up from the inside, the faster outside perception will start to trend more positive. Start with small steps: don’t invest in or spread false info on scams because you know you’ll make a profit, call out scams in public if you feel comfortable doing so, and share trusted resources like Messari where people can self-serve and learn about different projects.
- Act. Outside of consuming information or speculating on prices, build a product, write an article, start a Meetup, etc. There's this false assumption that if you can't code, you can't improve the crypto/blockchain community. There are plenty of ways for you to use your specific skills to help increase crypto adoption. Even if it’s just being a nice person who has a rock-solid crypto explanation to share, that’s a great place to start.
It’s easy to get caught up in Crypto-Twitter and assume the whole world knows about blockchian and cryptoassets. I’m glad I stepped outside the bubble and had figure out how to explain this stuff to my bewildered parents. It helped me go back to basics of why I love what I do. So, here’s my final piece of advice: keep building and contributing, but every once in a while, take a step back and look at the big picture - we're still in the early days.