Well, because people have fear… we always fear the unknown, right?. And Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are still too complicated to be understood by the masses. Some time it is difficult to completely understand how they work even for those who already have a technical background.
So, now think about the old lady who doesn’t even trust banks (she is right, though), or the guy that lives in your neighbourhood, who doesn’t know how to use a smartphone and comes to ring at your door every time the printer is not printing (and it is usually because his cat walked over the cable and accidentally disconnected the printer cable from the pc, but still after 1000 times he keeps thinking that you are the only one able to solve the mystery!).
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that the world is full of people like those, people who doesn’t like technology and do not trust anything that they cannot see and touch. Nothing wrong with that, I am just stating it.
Now, how can you make those people to believe in something that is:
- New and unknown.
- Without a big and famous company behind it (I mean yes, some big company is there, but not visibly enough).
- Not visible or tangible (I mean, it is decentralised in the famous internet… For that matter, many people are still trying to figure out what the hell the Cloud is!).
- Legal… or maybe not? Who knows! Governments still haven’t said anything clear, so maybe, you multi bitcoin millionaire, you will wake up tomorrow with just a bunch of bits in your pocket.
- Full of confusing terms. Asymmetric Encryption, SHA 256, Cryptographic Hash, PoW, PoS, zk-SNARKs… AHAHAHA come on guys, are you being serious?! I know all those words make us, geek souls, feel super cool (we are not), but consider again the old lady from before. If you start to talk to her like that, with those cryptic sounding words and numbers, she will probably think you are having a stroke. Seriously, she will most likely call an ambulance! And your neighbour? Well he will stand there, looking at you and listening, even though he is not understanding anything at all that you are saying, but this is the first time you’re talking to him without him coming to ring at your door first because of his printer. So basically, he is just trying to understand what’s happening and if it can be the beginning of a new friendship. (You will discover later on he is in love with you, but that is another story).
People who are not engineers or technically keen, don’t care about all those words. They want you to be able to sell it to them, instead of hearing about Asymmetric Encryption, SHA 256, Cryptographic Hash, zk-SNARKs, etc. They just want you to tell them “Yes, it is safe!”. They don’t care how it really works. They want to know the big picture. They need to know that big companies use it, that they can make a mistake, but you got their back. They want to see advertisements about it. They want to be able to see it and touch it, or at least having that impression.
Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely a believer of blockchains technologies, and I really believe they will change everything. However, if we want that to happen we need to make it easy for everyone.
When we talk about “Immutable Ledger” and we say that “Everything you do is forever, and cannot be reversed”, well this is scary for people. It is scary for everyone, me included, because think about the first time anyone uses a new technology? How many mistakes do you make? Now with cryptocurrencies that means maybe sending money to the wrong person, or sending a greater amount than necessary, or someone stealing our private key which is comparable to our bank account.
Well, in the usual world we have insurances reassuring us that if our bank account gets hacked, they will give us our money back. We have credit card insurance. We know that if we send a wrong payment our bank can delete it, if you notice it in time (well, those are their promises…). With cryptocurrencies it is all the opposite. If you make a mistake, that’s it, no way back. If you send money to the wrong person, or someone manages to get your private key, aka your money, there is absolutely nothing you can do above and beyond praying to have it back.
This is tremendously scary for most people. To be honest, would you put all your money, all that you have, in your crypto asset? Knowing that if you lose your private key you are screwed. Nothing can be done and you just lose all the money you have been setting aside your whole life?
I heard people talking about how blockchain technology will help us when we become a multi-planetary civilisation because it will help us to solve multi-planetary payment and trading of good. Now, it may be true, and I am a dreamer too, but the first thing I thought listening to this guy was “Ok, maybe legalising drugs wasn’t the right move…”.
I think that we should stop one second, find a way to build a solid and trustworthy foundation on which people of every kind can rely, and place their trust. Once we have that we can really start dreaming and thinking about how to make them true.
In the future I would love to order my slice of pizza from Mars and be able to pay the Mars’ Deliveroo with my Bitcoins, while I am super comfy on my couch, on planet Earth, chatting and laughing with the old lady and my neighbour.