The crypto revolution will only work with the adaption from and consensus of the mainstream. It’s not enough that only the knowledgeable tech, bitcoin and blockchain elite, the 1000 whales that hold 40% of bitcoin and the 22 million other bitcoin wallet holders worldwide believe in this project to upgrade humanity.
Decentralization must be wanted by many, and for this to happen, a new story needs to be told and believed first. This makes education and storytellers as important as blockchain developers.
It will be the unbanked, the poor and the heavily controlled that will make the change because they will need it the most.
The Mainstream likes centralization
The mainstream generally likes centralization because it has shown to work, and it still does. In fact, the power of the people has been given willingly to the organizers of the power for all. That’s called democracy. People are afraid of change, and especially disruptive shifts that come with periods of chaos and loss of identity for groups and even nations. So they rather hold on to the old, safe and trusted. Even when it's falling apart. The question is: what would it take for the mainstream Western consumers to hop over to decentralized systems? My best guess: When it's safe, secure and improves daily life. We don’t need 22 but 220 million users of bitcoin to change its volatile character. With 2,2 billion users it will be considered the new store of value, be stronger than gold and by than it will have completely revolutionized the way we think about money, the way we use money and who has money. The word money probably won’t exist anymore.
Bitcoin needs the mainstream, but at the moment the mainstream doesn't need Bitcoin.
The forefront of tech prophets like Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Anthony Pompliano, Vijay Boyapati, Tuur Demeester, Craig Steven etc. breathe, sleep and eat crypto & blockchain. They are in so so deep that for them the coming revolution is more than obvious. When they are really smart though, like Andreas, they understand they need to step out of the round table of hodlers and coders and the 1000 blockchain developers and hashtaggers. They have to start sharing the holy grail with John Doe, speak on stages, preach their belief to the millions that live in darkness, unaware of the tsunami of change that is awaiting us.
Crypto: A grass root revolution
More attention for Bitcoin and crypto can also occur grassroots or bottom-up in unpredictable ways. The upheaval in France by the Yellow Vest movement is a great example of what I call CCCC: Crisis Crypto Crash Course. The protest by this growing movement for social and financial injustice called for a bank-run on January 12th. They first tried one means of power: voice. When that didn't work because they were not heard by President Macron, the next most powerful thing to do is exiting the system. And to buy bitcoins. For people to do so, they would first need to know what bitcoin is. Voila: crypto education on the go!
My guess is we will see this more in the coming years. And looking back: why did the occupy movement didn’t move into exiting and Bitcoin? Because back than Bitcoin was not more than a niche for cypherpunks and the wet dream for libertarian coders. Bitcoin in the first years needed to be in the dark to silently grow unnoticed. Today we need people to shout out loud about the new coming digital revolution of value and exchange, so that it can be heard in the Kalahari desert, the jungle in Borneo and remote villages in India.
We don’t need to learn only through crisis and despair. The masses are fine with money when it works. Until it stops working. Compare what is happening right now with the birth of the Internet. There was no real need for Email, Skype and later Uber. All seemed to work fine. Real letters in envelopes with stamps on them reached their destinations in days or weeks worldwide, the dial-up phone was doing well and taxi’s where available at your local bus or train station. But still, the change and innovation came. The internet revolution was about the freedom and speed of information. The blockchain revolution is about almost everything where centralization stops the flow. Where people are censored, where people are unbanked for no reason. Mostly by dictators, and other crooks and thieves, including many Western financial institutions. The Internet changed forever the speed, content and open information. Somebody making a social media post in Egypt can engine a revolution, a funny dance can go viral in a weekend and create a completely new dance style.
The blockchain revolution is about the revolution of money.
From single point of failure to the trustles solution
People tend to forget that with blockchain technology, 1984 alike totalitarian world order controlled entities can be built, as well as utopian, borderless, censorship-free, neutral and empowered networks of financially emancipated people. The free information-flow of the internet got eventually corrupted. Despotic leaders can and will and have shut it down or censor it. In the beginning, it had the same promise as the blockchain revolutionary potential has now. But there are still humans involved, bringing forth a single point of failure. But we didn’t give up, we humans seem to value our freedom strongly. So a new, more absolute and radical instrument of 100% decentralization arose out of the open source magic hat: the internet of money, presenting a trustles digital ledger that rules out any middleman, human failure or corruption. The Internet took 20 years to become fully mainstream and merged with our daily lives. Today, people all over the world with a phone and internet can learn about bitcoin within an hour and start banking within 2.
We need the inclusion of the poor and unbanked to make neutral peer to peer financial networks work. Whoever thought of that? They will eventually save the industrialized, commercialized, corrupted and dominating economic powers from possible doom and implosion.
The Unbanked will save the world
First I believed that we are still waiting for the email of the blockchain, the Skype of the decentralization movement. But we are much further, Bitcoin and other super coins are the apps! It is already possible to transfer bitcoins borderless on a neutral blockchain to somebody with a reasonable phone in Africa. He or she will probably still need a middleman that exchanges these BTC for the local currency. But when local startups and clever entrepreneurs start to trade in Bitcoin, so they can pay with BTC, then token economies arise at the African horizon. An example it localbitcoins.com. This platform is growing in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa with such an accelerating speed that it sparks the concern of local Governments, which is obviously a good sign when you are in the business of disrupting control.
It feels we are only a few years away from historical tipping points for the bitcoin and crypto movement, not decades. The unbanked, the poor and the people that need crypto and decentralized networks the most will make the change.
They are the motor towards mass adoption. It is our task to spread the word, to write, speak, Medium, Twitter and Facebook about it. To reach the billions of people out there that have been left out the game for so long now. To use the old revolution of information, to drive the new revolution of money.
Lucien Lecarme, January 2019