Bitcoin & Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Crypto Maven
Dec 27, 2017 · 5 min read

Most psychology articles regarding Bitcoin or cryptocurrency focus on the market psychology chart & bubbles such as Tulip Mania & the Dot-Com Crash. How about applying motivational theory? Well, this article is going to do that. We’re going to step aside from the charts & bubbles to assess a triangle known as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

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Secondary Drives: are drives that are attained through learning. For example, no one is born with a drive to gain great wealth, yet many people are motivated by money.

Many early adopters of cryptocurrency exhibit high achievement in their secondary drives. It should be safe to assume early adopters are higher up on the pyramid of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Lower motives on Maslow’s hierarchy are physiological needs (food, water, air), & safety needs. Higher motives such as belongingness & esteem needs ties into our early adopters. These folks have basic motives covered & higher motives are present in their lives. As for most people already in this space, they oscillate between belongingness needs & esteem needs. The most noteworthy being coin communities bonding over unprecedented monetary gains in a financial market.

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It’s not all about the gainz

Jokes aside, cryptocurrency most likely evolved from the highest tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The self-actualization & esteem motives of Satoshi Nakamoto. A man/woman/or group who in all respect should be awarded the noble peace prize for the creation of Bitcoin & Blockchain. Satoshi Nakamoto created a spark that turned into a wildfire; creating a muse for many technologists that share the same psychological motives from the highest tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Esteem needs: the need to make the best possible impression on others & to feel that we are competent.

Self-actualization: the drive to realize one’s full potential.

Extrinsic motivation: a desire to perform a behavior to obtain an external reward or avoid punishment.

Extrinsic motivation to use cryptocurrencies can come from the many effects of legacy banking systems that create punishment for many of its users in the lower socio-economic realms. Damaging the ability of these people to maintain basic physiological & safety needs. Evidenced in many third world countries such as Venezuela, where hyperinflation killed the economy. As citizens use cryptocurrencies they are using a currency that is regulated by math to determine the supply & demand. Which is technical if you get into it, so we’ll leave it at that for now. These mathematical algorithms gave users trust because they do not have to trust a central entity to print more money every time they’re nearing the debt ceiling.

Hyperinflation isn’t a stranger to the U.S either as the national debt surpassed $20 trillion in September. It wouldn’t be a bad for move for U.S citizens to use cryptocurrencies.

Thankfully, it’s not more than 85%, we wouldn’t want these people to live in poverty!

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We’re also living in a time with historically low tax rates !

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If that’s not some extrinsic motivation, not sure what is.

Back to Maslow’s pyramid of hierarchy. Bitcoin & cryptocurrencies fulfill every need that Maslow’s pyramid put forth.

Esteem needs:
Knowing one’s money is regulated by math & maintained with transparency in an encrypted public online ledger. This is similar to paying a bill & receiving a confirmation number. You save that number for later in case of a dispute. Except your personal information is not required & your confirmation number is online, available 24/7 in that ledger with military grade encryption. Also, the math behind every entry has to be verified- came to consensus by multiple computers- otherwise everyone can see there was tampering. It’s as simple as the math doesn’t add up! Transparency the legacy banking system lacks.

Belonging needs:
The community of people who run hardware & software to verify the mathematical equations of the new transactions being proposed to the ledger. Users of cryptocurrencies may have friends, family, or themselves keep the ledger honest, because it’s the balance & integrity of the community at stake. This allows people to feel they have a chance to help keep it honest. Again, unlike the current legacy banking system hierarchy.

Safety & physiological needs:
People who may need to spend their cryptocurrency almost immediately to cover basic needs, benefit from the higher up needs of early adopters being met. When early adopters brag about their massive gains, there is someone benefiting from tiny gains. Cryptocurrency is easily bought in many amounts such as fractions like .1 , .5 , .75 . That whole bitcoin profiting equates to the fractions of bitcoin profiting too. For someone who needs the money to buy food, finding the price of bitcoin went up & corresponds to $30 extra in their wallet from 2 days ago. That’s excellent!

Once cryptocurrencies have the ability to fulfill physiological, safety, belonging & esteem needs in one’s life; the highest tier of motivation can be attained, self-actualization. Money should allow one to become the best version of themselves. Once you have money to buy food, don’t just buy any food. Buy healthier food. Don’t just live in any shelter. Move out if necessary. Now that lower motives are squared up, people can focus on their passions & hobbies. Money upgrades one’s life if utilized wisely. Cryptocurrencies have the potential to lead any one, irrespective of their socio-economic standing to self-actualization.

There is a quote from John Adams (2nd president of U.S) that feels extremely applicable here:

“I must study politics & war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics & philosophy, geography, natural history & naval architecture, navigation, commerce & agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, & porcelain. “

Maslow’s motivational theory works for different groups in different ways. In this article we looked at the early adopters & the lowest socio-economic users of Bitcoin & cryptocurrency. Specifically gauging a few of their motives & how that has translated through in this new economy. There were so many aspects to this article that were left out or this article would have turned into a research paper.

Thanks for reading. If you liked this article- please share & watch out for more.

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