Everyone – news outlets, politicians, prominent figures in the financial industry, your grandma – seems to be talking about Bitcoin at the moment.
Maybe your family discussed it over Christmas dinner, or you’ve seen friends chattering about it on Facebook.
Cryptocurrencies are steadily becoming mainstream, as growing numbers of people understand and use them.
Some people predict that in a matter of years, digital money will replace cash, while others forecast that they will at the very least become a big part of our lives.
If everyone around you is talking about Bitcoin, it’s natural to want to join the discussion.
Here’s how to ensure you have something to say:
Get the basics right
The best place to start is by making sure you understand the basics of Bitcoin. You’ll have a hard time discussing higher level ideas and concepts if you haven’t grasped the fundamentals. Start by looking at the answers to common questions about Bitcoin (and some more), correcting some prevailing misconceptions, learning some interesting facts, and researching cryptocurrency vocabulary. Some of the other vital concepts include:
- What exactly Bitcoins are
- How they are mined
- What the Blockchain is and how it works
- How Bitcoins are stored
- How the value of Bitcoin has evolved
- The basics of the original Bitcoin white paper.
Bitcoin is constantly changing
An important point is that Bitcoin is changing every day. Its value keeps breaking records, its user base is growing, new forms of cryptocurrency are popping up, the technology is evolving and legislation is developing. If you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, stay up to date with new advancements.
Money is a social construct
One of the mental blocks many people come up against when discussing Bitcoin is the idea that money is a social construct. Currency is such an integral part of our lives that we rarely question it. It’s incorrect to say Bitcoin isn’t ‘real’ money or that it has no intrinsic value. Money is only ‘real’ if we think it is and only has value is we believe it does.
Maria Bustillos points out:
“U.S. dollars are not backed by anything other than the faith of the fools who accept it as payment and of other fools who agree in turn to accept it as payment from them. The main difference is that, for the moment at least, the illusion, in the case of dollars, is more widely and more fiercely believed.”
Look at the bigger picture
While it’s useful to keep up with changes, it’s also important to look at the bigger picture and not get bogged down by day to day fluctuations. A 20% price drop on a particular doesn’t necessarily signal the impending collapse of cryptocurrencies. While discussions might end up honing in details, don’t forget to bring up the wider view.