Everyone who knows about tech understands Bitcoin. I was wondering, do you think there is something missing, that will bridge the gap to mass markets, so that normal people understand? By “normal people” I mean non technologically literate people. Or do you think the ecosystem is just too early, in this kind of, like incremental thing where you can’t push it?
It is both.
We have an enormous gap in understanding this brand-new thing, the fifth major innovation in money, one of the most ancient technologies we have in our civilization.
Do you know how long it took to transition from precious metals to a piece of paper as value? 400 years of people saying: “That is not money. Go away!”
It took another 40 years until they accepted that it is not a paper any more, but a little square piece of plastic with a number on it.
If we can have Bitcoin accepted in 20 years, that will have greatly accelerated the pace. When you change these fundamental technologies, it takes a while for society to change with it.
Now, first of all, we have all these terminology, all these new words. No one who is reading this blog post can even tell me what a blockchain is, because I don’t even know anymore… because there is $100 million of marketing confusing us all about what blockchain means.
It will take a long time for people to understand how this works, why it works, how it is different,
and what benefits it gives. This task won’t just be up to the people in this country, or even the people on this continent.
North America contains the most privileged population in the world in terms of financial inclusion and access to technology. You can swipe a Visa card, pay with your phone etc.
There are four billion people who have nothing! For them, Bitcoin will be a very simple proposition. “I don’t care how it works. I just had some white cracker three continents away to fund my seeds for the next planting seasons.” And that changes the equation completely. Money is an empowering technology.
How do we do this? We bridge the gap. We make it easier to use, easier to secure. We explain what the words mean, even change some of the words, and improve the designs. Gradually, as people need it, they will use it. Not necessarily ‘instead of’ their national currency, not replacing the old systems, but as a choice in parallel that gives them opportunity where they need it.
So a bit of patience and a lot of hard work. Code better user interfaces. Make the language and experience simpler.
I sent my first email in 1989. In order to send that email, I compiled the Unix mail program on the command line. It took me about two hours. When I sent the email, it took three days to cross the internet.
Exactly twenty years later, my mother replicated this experience by swiping her finger across her brand-new iPad. When we get the experience of using Bitcoin there, the mainstream will be ready. That will not happen with the way it is today.