How I went from technophobe to crypto crazy and why you should too.
Josh was always coming up with crazy ideas but this time, I genuinely thought he’d gone mad. He’d just told me he was building and selling “money making machines”. I sat, confused, staring blankly at my friend as bubbles splashed my face. Sat in a jacuzzi during our weekly Sunday sauna session, I wiped my face and tried to figure out where to start with my questions. He saved me the trouble and started to explain what he meant.
“So you’ve heard of Bitcoin?” I’d dated guys that were really into tech and I’d worked for a big four accounting firm (plus I hadn’t been living under a rock) so I’d inevitably heard of Blockchain and Bitcoin. But, to be completely honest, I just thought they would either pass me by or I would get into them EVENTUALLY, once they became so common I didn’t really have a choice.
You see, I was the last of all my friends to go contactless, I’ve never had twitter and the last time I played an online game was about 10 years ago (for the sole purpose of keeping the kids I was baby-sitting quiet!). I’m not exactly a ‘digital native’. So when I heard techies talking crypto in terms of BTC, ICOs and GPUs, I never for a million years thought it was something I’d get involved in.
Yet, here I am, sitting at my desk in the office of a crypto consulting and hardware manufacturing company, writing a piece to try to compel you to take an interest in crypto too. Why the hell would you want to do that? Because it’s changed my perspective on nearly everything around me. I love learning, not usually about technology, but about people and systems and communities. Instead of explaining the changes happening in our monetary system in terms of the technology behind it, Josh explained it differently.
As he did for me, I will do this for you now in the hope that it may spark your interest too. As humans we have evolved and we continually find more efficient or effective ways of doing things. Let’s take medicine as an example. I promise this is relevant to crypto, bare with me. At the beginning of time, we would have turned to theism and prayer to cure an illness. As we learned more about the human body, we turned to humans – shamen or doctors to give us an expert opinion. Now, if we go to hospital, doctors carry out tests and collect data about us to base their diagnoses on. You might have blood tests, MRI scans etc. So we’ve moved to a system that relies less heavily on people and more so on transparent, objective data.
How does this explain Bitcoin?! So the current system we have is the ‘fiat’ or cash system. Before this, we used gold. Paper money is simply lighter and easier to use so it was a no brainer. Before gold, we bartered, “Your 400 sheep for my house?”. Cash is clearly fairer and better than this? Yes? So what is the problem with our current system and how will cryptocurrencies change that? Right now, we place our trust in pieces of paper (or plastic) and, by extension, in the big banks and the government who regulate this money. This means that the only people who can view transactions and try to prevent fraud are the banks, governments and third parties. You and I, lowly members of the general public cannot request to see every transaction. That means there are over $200 million of fraudulent cash floating around in the US economy alone. Plus, if a bank is hacked there’s very little they can do. There are plenty of other problems with fiat but I want this article to be as concise as possible. I want you to understand and if I start waffling I think you’ll probably stop reading. I wouldn’t blame you.
So, unlike fiat, cryptocurrency transactions are all recorded on a public ledger, or database, and must be authenticated by several different machines. This means that anyone, including you, can see all transactions and no one, again including you, has control over this system. This is what is referred to as decentralised. Therefore, like the doctor using MRI scans, we can follow a data trail with crypto. It cuts out the need for trust in the bank or the government. It offers transparency and objectivity and this is why it has the ability to completely open up how society runs.
I should note I am paraphrasing an explanation borrowed from James Altucher because it is the best non-technical explanation of crypto I have heard. James is an incredible thinker who has turned his hand to virtually everything which usually means he wouldn’t be particularly good at any of said things but James is an outlier. If you haven’t heard of him, Google him. This is what I have been doing – Googling crypto and listening to people who know more than me. I’m constantly trying to soak up knowledge about the impact this will have on education, on healthcare, on equality, on the environment, on capitalism… No matter what your interests, cryptocurrency will have an impact. I absolutely guarantee that.
You may have thought it is just for people trying to make a quick buck and I absolutely acknowledge that there are plenty of those out there but those are people who do not fundamentally understand how powerful and pervasive this shift is. It has the ability to completely restructure society and if you don’t care about that then I can’t make you. But if you want to know more about the world your children will be growing up in and you want to have a say in how that looks, find out more about crypto today. If you too can do this sat in a sauna, I’d highly recommend it.. Otherwise, get in touch!