What's the cliche that you hear most about Bitcoin?
“I don’t like Bitcoin, but I like Blockchain.”
Usually when you google a quote like this, it doesn’t exist. Not exactly – typically you’ll have some typo in there. But this one does, because people say it all the time.
From a Director of the Indian Central Bank, to people you meet in the bar, to Twitter:
“We don’t like Bitcoin we love blockchain” is the new “I read Playboy for the articles.”— Downtown Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker) October 13, 2017
Saying "I don't like Bitcoin but i like Blockchain." is like "I don't like electron but i like electricity.".— Decentralized Kebab (@DonerChain) December 18, 2017
People who say this think they mean they don’t like illicit payment mechanisms but that they like decentralization. Personally I suspect it means “I don’t really understand either but I’ve heard somebody say bad things about Bitcoin but the tech is hot right?”
You know when you have the most amazing idea, but then you try to tell your best friend and they look at you blankly? It’s the same as oneitis. When you meet the person you think you are destined to be with but you ruin it because you act like a petulant teenager. The people who both love and understand Bitcoin and blockchain can share a vision, and probably even show you some code, but they can’t explain it in simple terms to the average person down the pub.
This is why they get bogged down in Byzantine Fault Tolerance or even worse “No more banks man!”
We’re different though, we’re not tech guys. So we get to buy into the hype at the same time as oversimplifying.
And what does oversimplification look like? Its unique digital assets.
That’s the explain like I’m five background on blockchain. Bitcoin happens to be the first provably scarce digital asset. Alright, alright, just because you put the latest Adele song on the blockchain, that doesn’t make it unique. But if you put the signature of the owner or creator of that song on the blockchain, in that case you’ve got something hard to corrupt.
Image: Harder to change than the settings on your thermostat. Source Corgi HomePlan, flickr commons
Here at Blocktribe, we like crypto, but we love blockchain. What does that mean? Well first off we own a little Bitcoin, Ethereum et cetera, but small, really small. Small enough that we can still see the wood for the trees.
Secondly, it means we get really excited when somebody starts talking about new digital securities, or a new way of doing something in a completely open way. One of the great things about blockchain is that it makes people think of openness as a default setting, rather than something optional. The sad truth is that the majority of time openness occurs is after somebody gets caught. That’s true with Clinton and Lewinsky, and that’s true with Facebook and their adverts manipulating you exactly as they are designed to do.
Blockchains are open and decentralized in a way that the organisation and processes of society mostly isn’t.
You may be reading along and thinking “what has this got to do with the price of Bitcoin going down?”
And that is our problem with a rising Bitcoin price. It ends conversations because all the other person cares about is the dollar number at the top of their Blockfolio app. The rising price has lots of benefits. It's pulling forward adoption, lots of people can get into crypto to speculate and then stay to spend and develop. It's creating wealth. Bitcoin is not zero sum, if it goes up and someone sells at a profit that is value from nowhere. We at Blocktribe fully support everyone making money :)
The rising price of crypto enabled the funding every half assed blockchain idea going. Which is also good…to an extent. Come on, when Dogecoin hit $2 billion market cap there is something very wrong going on. It gets no github commits and is a meme pretending to be money.
Image: It’s definitely a parody
The benefits of the drop in the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum is that real ideas, the real breakthroughs, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, will capture more share of attention. Developers will become more selective about the best projects. People, including me, will spend less time looking at Blockfolio, and more time being useful.
That can only be good for blockchain.