There are countless videos, articles, and courses out there focused on explaining what Bitcoin is and how it works. Some do a better job than others; many are so complex even a veteran in the space can be left confused.
A primary problem is they do not focus on why it matters as a whole and why it should matter to people as individuals. The biggest problem is they focus too much on the technology. This unfortunate mix confuses and alienates people and does not make it relatable or inspiring.
So forget about saying the words blockchain, cryptocurrency or any other related term, below is how to begin to answer someone when they ask, “What is this Bitcoin thing I’ve been hearing about?”
- “Bitcoin is nothing new. It is money, which has pretty much always existed, and now it just exists online.”
This is a tried and true method of starting to explain Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency). It is also the way my colleagues and I could best describe social media to people in its early days. We would say, “Social media is nothing new, it always existed, and now it just exists online.” Conversations amongst friends, about products, and so on always happened, now they can also occur online.
How is Bitcoin fundamentally any different? Bitcoin is currency, a value system, and that is nothing new. Money has been around for a very long time. In fact, the first coin and paper money is believed to have started around 5,000 B.C. Writer Mary Bellis explains, “[Metal] objects were introduced as money around 5000 B.C. By 700 BC, the Lydians became the first in the western world to make coins. Countries were soon minting their own series of coins with specific values.” And that is not including everything that happened before, that eventually lead to coin and paper money.
The thing is, people inherently understand social interactions, so explaining social media is easier and more natural. People do not naturally understand how money works, so it makes it a more difficult. So it is best to start explaining the fundamentals of money as well. This approach will make teaching the nuts and bolts of things much easier, more exciting and more memorable. How to best explain the technical side of things is a topic for another time though.
It is our duty as believers, users, and evangelists of Bitcoin (and the related technology/cryptocurrencies) to explain things in the best possible way. If we do not, it will hurt you and the blockchain and cryptocurrency space as a whole.
What have you found works best?