Why the exchange rate and public opinion of Bitcoin doesn’t matter
In the short term future, that is…
I’ve had my fair share of conversations about Bitcoin with people who are both for it and against it. Reasons for an individual’s interest in Bitcoin seem to vary widely from an economics or finance background to a political one to fight against a nationalized currency whose fate lies in the hands of a few unelected individuals. It’s great to see Bitcoin bringing people together from such a variety of backgrounds.
What I find even more surprising is the lack of diversity with the arguments against Bitcoin. From financial journalists to the currency layman, skepticism around Bitcoin generally comes down to two issues: usability and volatility. While the volatility of Bitcoin is definitely a topic worth discussion, I’m simply going to focus on the argument against its usability, or lack thereof, since I believe it’s the most critical issue for Bitcoin today.
Many people are against Bitcoin because they don’t believe it can reach mass adoption. As a consumer, why should they go out of their way to acquire Bitcoin when there’s only a handful of businesses who accept them? As a business, why should they go out of their way to integrate Bitcoin into their POS systems when there’s only a handful of early adopters who use them?
To help give you a point of reference, we’re currently at the beginning of the adoption lifecycle where everyone who is using Bitcoin would be classified as an Innovator. A widespread, stable infrastructure isn’t in place yet so there’s a steep learning curve to use it. Many Bitcoin related services are relatively new and there are still many risks involved with using the currency. It takes valuable time to do the research to learn how to keep your Bitcoin wallet secure and only those innovators are wiling to do so.
As a result, people are scared of Bitcoin because it seems complex and people don’t even think they need Bitcoin. We’ve never lived in a world where the instantaneous transfer of wealth to another individual anywhere in the world has ever been possible. We can’t appreciate it. We can’t envision how it’ll work, the possibilities that lie ahead, or how drastically it’ll change the world.
This is why my attention is directed entirely towards the startup community. This is where all the people with crazy ideas go to work with other people who see the potential of their crazy ideas. VCs have been keeping an eye on Bitcoin and the number of startups in the Bitcoin community is growing larger everyday. They’re going to get things started for the people who matter.
There was a day when computers were complicated. The Internet was even worse. They were only for geeks. If anybody said that one day we’d all have multiple computers at home with some smaller than our pockets, you were crazy because there was no reason for the masses to own one. But those hackers made computers smaller and better and as more hackers got their hands on these computers they began applying the new technology to a variety of problems. Today, we can’t comprehend a world without computers and Internet access. The two affect nearly every aspect of our lives and only the crazy people who were mentally living in the future saw it coming.
I can’t help but feel that we’re in a similar state right now with Bitcoin. It’s new, very few people use it, even fewer truly understand it, and its potential is beyond our imagination. But the Bitcoin visionaries thrive off of this uncertainty. They don’t necessarily know the future applications of Bitcoin in the same way few saw the massive potential of computers and the Internet but they know it’s going to be a game changer and they are going to make it happen.